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Vol. 12, No. 2: AprilJune 1980
E. Patricia Tsurumi - Mental Captivity and Resistance: Lessons
from Taiwanese Anti-Colonialism
Yang Kwui - A Rose / Short Story
Sun Lung-kee and Randy Stross - Intellectual Ferment for Political
Reform in Taiwan, 1971-73, by Mab Huang / Review
D. W. S. Davidson - Politics of the Left in Taiwan / Interview
Linda Gail Arrigo - The Industrial Work Force of Young Women in
James E. Nickum - Surplus Transfer and Economic Development in
Taiwan and Shanghai
Stephen Andors - The Political and Organizational Implications of
Chinas New Economic Policies, 1976-79
Paul S. Ropp - The May Fourth Movement / A Review Essay
Fang Pao - Prison Notes / Translation by Moss Roberts
Lim Mah Hui and P. Ramasamy - Three Books on Malaysia / A
Review Essay
BCAS/Critical AsianStudies
CCAS Statement of Purpose
Critical Asian Studies continues to be inspired by the statement of purpose
formulated in 1969 by its parent organization, the Committee of Concerned
Asian Scholars (CCAS). CCAS ceased to exist as an organization in 1979,
but the BCAS board decided in 1993 that the CCAS Statement of Purpose
should be published in our journal at least once a year.
We first came together in opposition to the brutal aggression of
the United States in Vietnam and to the complicity or silence of
our profession with regard to that policy. Those in the field of
Asian studies bear responsibility for the consequences of their
research and the political posture of their profession. We are
concerned about the present unwillingness of specialists to speak
out against the implications of an Asian policy committed to en-
suring American domination of much of Asia. We reject the le-
gitimacy of this aim, and attempt to change this policy. We
recognize that the present structure of the profession has often
perverted scholarship and alienated many people in the field.
The Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars seeks to develop a
humane and knowledgeable understanding of Asian societies
and their efforts to maintain cultural integrity and to confront
such problems as poverty, oppression, and imperialism. We real-
ize that to be students of other peoples, we must first understand
our relations to them.
CCAS wishes to create alternatives to the prevailing trends in
scholarship on Asia, which too often spring from a parochial
cultural perspective and serve selfish interests and expansion-
ism. Our organization is designed to function as a catalyst, a
communications network for both Asian and Western scholars, a
provider of central resources for local chapters, and a commu-
nity for the development of anti-imperialist research.
Passed, 2830 March 1969
Boston, Massachusetts
Vol. 12, No. 2/ April-June, 1980
E. Patricia Tsurumi
Yang Kwui
Sun Lung-kee and Randy Stross
D.W.S. Davison
Linda Gail Arrigo
James E. Nickum
Stephen Andors
PaulS. Ropp
Lim Mah Hui and P. Ramasamy
Address all correspondence to:
BCAS, P.O. Box W
Charlemont, MA 01339
2 Mental Captivity and Resistance;
Lessons from Taiwanese Anti-Colonialism
14 .. A Rose" /short story
16 Review of Intellectual Fermentfor Political
Reform in Taiwan, 1971-1973 by Mab Huang I
18 Politics of the Left in Taiwan/an interview
25 The Industrial Work Force of I
Young Women in Taiwan I
30 A Case Study: A Woman Worker
35 Lim Li-suat
38 Books to Review and a Change-of-Address Form
39 Surplus Transfer and Economic t'
Development in Taiwan and Shanghai
44 The Political and Organizational Implications
of China's New Economic Policies, 1976-1979
58 The May Fourth Movement/review essay

65 Prison Notes/translation by Moss Roberts
66 Reviews of Islam and Politics in a Malay State:
Kelantan, 1838-1969 by Clive Kessler
69 Review of Politics and Government in Malaysia
by Milne and Mauzy and Malaysia and Singapore
by S.S. Bedlington
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Mental Captivity and Resistan.ce
Lessons from Taiwanese Anti-Colonialism
by E. Patricia Tsununi
From the sixteenth century to the present, imperialist dom
ination has taken many forms-plunder, trade, annexation,
spheres of influence, corporate investment, international aid
all serving the same end. Z What Peter Worsley wrote about
formal colonies also applies to earlier and later manifestations of
imperialism in the Third World: "It is no ideological assertion,
but a simple generalization rooted in empirical observation, that
the prime content of colonial rule was economic exploitation."3
Yet despite the common goal of all phases of imperialism, the
experience of peoples under colonial rule from the 1880s through
World War II had a unique qUality. Devastation wrought by
plunder or unequal trade may be as great or greater than the kind
of damage done to a people by colonial government. But subju
gation of a people to direct alien rule-the direct regulation of
the lives of the colonized by the colonizer-brings with it
special dimensions of exploitation.
Imperialist exploitation is not just a matter of mines and
plantations. As Syed Hussein Alatas reminds us, "Colonialism
was not only the imposition of foreign rule for the purpose of
extracting economic benefits. It was also an imposition of
culture, values, ethics, attitudes and modes of reasoning.' '4 The
damage colonialism has done to minds is at least as serious as
the harm it has done to bodies. The fundamental basis of such
mental damage is, of course, economic but what Albert Memmi
calls "colonial privilege" has given the economic exploitation
that is colonialism a destruction peculiarly its own. 5
From their own experiences Syed Hussein Alatas, Aime
Cesaire, Frantz Fanon, and Albert Memmi have written of this
dimension of colonialism. Retorts Cesaire to those who would
forget that colonialism is a thief of inheritances:
They talk to me about progress, about "achievements,"
diseases cured, improved standards ofliving.
I am talking about societies drained of their essence,
cultures trampled underfoot, institutions undermined, lands
confiscated, religions smashed, magnificent artistic crea
tions destroyed, extraordinary possibilities wiped out.
Not only are the colonized deprived of their past, their language,
and possibilities of self-expression. In addition they themselves
may internalize their rulers' sterevtypes of them.
The col
onized respond to racial stereotypes thrust upon them with
, 'mechanisms ofcompensation, overadaptation and finally self
hatred.',g The colonizers' stereotypes are invented as part of a
process of dehumanization, as rulers tum "the indigenous man
into an instrument of production.' '9 The "native" is considered
lazy whenever he or she is reluctant to be worked to death in
European-owned mines and plantations, preferring to fish and
toil in his or her own rice fields.
It is clear from the study of the philosophy of colonial
capitalism, that for a labourer to qualify as industrious, he
has to be "the mule among the nations-capable of the
hardest task under the most trying conditions; tolerant of
every kind ofweather and ill usage; eating little and drinking
less; stubborn and callous; unlovable and useful in the high
est degree." ... To be a chattel ofcolonial agrarian capital
ism is a requirement to be considered as industrious. 10
Ridiculous as it was, the "myth of the lazy native," as
Alatas demonstrates, was internalized by native bourgeoisie. II
Memmi speaks of . assimilated natives," colonized lackies strad
dling two worlds but belonging to neither, shunning their own
past and, despite successful imitation, never quite gaining ac
ceptance from the colonizers. 12
Although Ce saire , Fannon, Memmi and Alatas rightly
emphasize that psychological damage to the colonized is severe,
the wide chasm between the ruled and the rulers may be used to
advantage in the anti-colonial struggles of the ruled.13 When
rejection encourages alienation, the colonized are less likely to
falsely identify themselves with their colonizers. 14
Ultimately the damage is greater when the rift appears less
formidable; acceptance of the values of the colonizer is far more
dangerous than exclusion from them. In short, as Alatas has
said, colonialism's most deadly gift may be the "captive
mind." I 5 During the heyday of formal colonialism this mental
ity both weakened the will to resist foreign rule and shaped the
anti-colonial struggles. 16 Cultural imperialism became exceed
ingly powerful when those who fought against colonialism not
only negotiated and collaborated with the enemy but, uncon
sciously or otherwise, actually emulated the enemy.
Such false consciousness is part of the story of anti-coloni
alism in Taiwan during the fifty years of Japanese rule from
1895 to 1945. Because of peculiar circumstances- including
the fact that the end of Japanese control of the island came in
1945 with Japan's defeat in the Pacific War and was not a direct
result of indigenous anti-Japanese agitation-Taiwan has re
mained a colony. Yet Taiwanese anti-colonial movements also
continue, directed against the successors of the Japanese, the
Guomindang. I have not witnessed personally the present anti
colonial struggle within Taiwan, but opponents to Guomindang
rule outside ofTaiwan often see themselves as heirs of pre-1945
resistance to the Japanese. 17 Like so much of the Third World's
colonial legacy, Japanese rule in Taiwan has yet to be com
pletely conquered.
The Mainstream of the
Taiwanese anti-Japanese Movement
During the first decade of colonial rule, the Japanese ad
ministration in Taiwan met with both passive resistance and
active support for pockets of guerrilla resisters. Sullen non
cooperation and sporadic, spontaneous armed struggle were
practised by elements among both Taiwanese and aborigine
populations of the island. IS Japanese troops dealt-fiercely with
this opposition, ruthlessly bringing the entire island under con
trol after the tum of the century.
By 1906, military occupation had been replaced by a
civilian government-general, tile core of which was a colonial
police force well equipped to perform all of the army's strong
arm tasks and to take on numerous other functions as well.
Japanese police officers collected the endless taxes imposed on
the subject population, enforced sanitation measures, conduct
ed land surveys and population censuses, enforced agricultural
"reforms," conscripted labor for roads, harbors and other pub
lic works, ran the colony'S salt, camphor, and opium mono
polies and "persuaded" local notables to send their children to
Japanese schools. While in these and other ways they played a
central role in construction of the infra-structure that would pave
the way for Japanese exploitation of the island's resources, they
also remained ever watchful for signs of opposition to the
island's new rulers. They manipulated indigenous collective
security institutions and employed Taiwanese auxiliaries so
effectively that guerrilla defiance quickly faded and all public
dissent became impossible. 19
Then suddenly in 1914, the colony's carefully enforced
peace was disturbed. By associating themselves with a Japanese
politician of some distinction, the aging ltagaki Taisuke, a
number of prominent Taiwanese managed to create a brief
anti-J apanese furor on the island before the government-general
swiftly crushed it. By the second decade of the century the
anti-colonial potential had divided into two distinct but overlap
ping channels. Its mainstream, however, would always run true
to the source from which it sprang, ltagaki's Taiwan Assimila
tion Society (Taiwan dOlwkai).
Although headed by a venerable "liberal" from the ruling
country, the Assimilation Society was at least partially the
brainchild of a handful of would-be Taiwanese reformers like
the Taizhong businessman and landlord, Lin Xiantang, who for
some years had been seeking to resolve the difficulties he felt
Taiwanese suffered at the hands of their Japanese rulers. 20
Itagaki Taisuke had contended that the Japanese emperor's
Taiwanese subjects could forge a bridge between Japan and the
people of China and advocated that the Taiwanese be totally
inte grated within Japanese institutions. Itagaki' s major goal was
to strengthen Japanese expansion in China, but the Taiwanese
-businessmen, landlords, physicians, school
teachers, salaried functionaries and the like-who flocked to
join the society in early December, 1914, were drawn by Itaga
ki's spirited insistence that Taiwanese be assimilated on a basis
of equality with Japanese. Most of all they were attracted by his
denunciation of Japanese discrimination against Taiwanese in
the colony. 22 It had been Taiwanese like Lin Xiantang and his
cousins, Gan Dezhong and Lin Lietang, who had brought the
grievances of their fellow islanders to Itagaki' s attention and
who had urged him to visit Taiwan. 23 It was Itagaki's stature in
the ruling country that made it possible to get permission to
found the society. Predictably, a month after Itagaki left the
island on December 26, 1914, Governor-General Sakuma
Samata ordered the Taiwan Assimilation Society dissolved.
Mainstream anti-colonialism constantly denounced
the barrien faced by competiton for shares of the
wealth which Japanese capitalism was reaping in Tai
wan but rarely attacked Japanese capitalism itself.
When the mainstream of Taiwanese anti-colonialism sur
faced again five years later it chose a more congenial environ
ment: the. metropolitan capital itself. In January 1920, Lin
Xiantang and his protege, Cai Peihuo, who had also been active
in the 1914 organized Taiwanese students studying
in Tokyo into The New People's Society (Shinminkai) which, as
its name implied, aimed to forge the Taiwanese subjects of the
Japanese empire into a new people.
Like the Assimilation
Society, the New People's Society began with a demand that
Taiwanese receive equal treatment with Japanese within the
Japanese empire. Its first campaign was an attempt to block
renewal of Law No. 63 which gave the Governor-General of
Taiwan extraordinary discretionary power over Taiwan's in
habitants. The entire thrust of the campaign was against the
broad powers of the colonial administration used to deny Tai
wanese equal treatment with Japanese. Only after this campaign
failed to halt the Imperial Diet's extension of Law No. 63 in
November 1920 did a majority of the society's approximately
one hundred members vote to abandon affirmation of equal
treatment and integration in favor of a position one step closer to
self-determination and independence. 25 3
This new position, home rule, was only a mildly rebellious
one. For the next decade and a half the mainstream of the
Taiwanese anti-colonial movement was to be a movement for
home rule. From 1921 to 1934 the Imperial Diet of Japan
recei ved a total of fifteen petitions requesting that' 'a parliament
of Taiwan made up of members publicly elected by the residents
of Taiwan be established, and that a law be enacted to give this
parliament powers to participate in the enactment of special
laws and a budget for Taiwan." 26 In 1922 the Tokyo authorities
gave permission to found a separate League for the Establish
ment of a Taiwanese Parliament (Taiwan gikai kisei domeikai)
which concentrated upon circulating the petitions, persuading
Taiwanese in Japan to sign them, and winning support from
Japanese Diet Members, intellectuals, journalists, and other
"public opinion makers" in Japan.
While the task of winning over Japanese public opinion
was formidable enough, agitating for home rule within the
colony was vastly more difficult. The colonial government was
totally opposed to any kind of home rule and Japanese residents
in Taiwan, like colonials the world over, were much more
directly threatened by the possibility of improved status for the
colonized than were their fellow citizens in the home islands.
The Taiwan Government-General banned all organizations pub
licly committed to institution of a local parliament, thereby
ensuring that inside the colony the cause of home rule would be
pursued covertly through "nonpartisan" channels.
Such channels were provided by the Taiwan Cultural As
sociation (Taiwan bunka kyOkai), founded in 1921 ostensibly to
work for Taiwan's "cultural advancement." Until 1927 the
Cultural Association concentrated upon amassing Taiwanese
support for a local legislature. All over the island public lectures
sponsored by the association drew overflow audiences. Thous
ands of Taiwanese in all walks of life came to hear speaker after
speaker mock the Japanese and denounce their treatment of
native islanders. Home rule petitions were distributed among
the audiences and listeners urged to sign them. Although those
who did so often faced instant retaliation from the colonial
government and Japanese settlers, hundreds and eventually
thousands managed to find the courage to sign the petitions. 27
The petitions neither ruled out nor advocated limitations upon
the franchise of those "residents of Taiwan" who would elect
representatives to sit in a Taiwanese parliament. 28 They argued
that Taiwan's "unique," non-Japanese background necessitat
ed a certain amount of separate development including a separ
ate legislative body, but equally they insisted that Taiwanese
were loyal subjects of the Japanese emperor. Petitions claimed
that through a local parliament
the people of Taiwan would be permitted to enjoy the Em
peror's sacred pronouncement regarding equal treatment
and to benefit from the blessings of constitutional govern
ment. It is most urgent that, through the measure described
above, the Taiwanese be allowed to perform their special
geographical and historical mission as loyal subjects. 29
Heavy emphasis was always placed upon "loyal subjects."
In speeches, briefs to the government-general, articles and
books, home rulers stoutly maintained that they were com
pletely loyal to Japan. In a spirited polemic published in 1928
Cai Peihuo demolished the colonialist argument that the Tai
wanese had not been a part ofJapan long enough to be as loyal as
the Japanese were to their nation. Puncturing the official myth
that Japan's "3,000 years of steadfast allegiance to an unbroken
line of emperors" was a unique historical experience, Cai
pointed out that the much flaunted "ancient" loyalty of the
Japanese to their emperor was in reality a phenomenon created
only after the opening of Japan to foreign intercourse in mid
nineteenth century. Bluntly he advanced the Taiwanese claim:
"We have shown every bit as much loyalty as Japanese have.
Every year we contribute more than 1,000,000 yen to the central
government treasury. "30
Surviving veterans of the home rule movement and young
er Taiwanese researchers who have documented the course of
the mainstream of the anti-colonial movement in Taiwan main
tain that "loyalty to Japan" was a tactic against the regime's
suppression of all anti-Japanese action. They have identified the
real goal of the home rulers as Taiwan's independence from
JapanY Police repression was certainly as efficient as it was
ruthless; public statements omitting oaths of loyalty to Japan
were impractical if not illegal. At the same time, examination of
the methods and demands of the home rule movement may also
shed light upon the "real goals" of the movement's leaders.
First and last these leaders were law-abiding subjects.
Repeatedly attempting to persuade the Imperial Diet to pass
laws changing Taiwan's status within the Japanese empire, they
never questioned the Diet's right in such matters. Tirelessly they
publicized their cause through Japanese media. In a totally
Japanese fashion they cemented personal relationships with
politicians, legal experts, professors, journalists, and other
opinion-makers in the ruling country. 32 Year after year as the
Diet failed to take their petitions seriously, they appeared aston
ishingly willing to wait until Japanese institutions and actors
implemented the changes they were demanding. When Gover
nor-General Uchida Kakichi replaced more subtle tactics with
arrests and police searches at the end of 1922, the home rule
leaders met him on his own ground. Throughout a well-publi
cized trial in Taibei [Trupei] the eighteen accused persons
from among forty who were arrested-showed themselves
masters of Japanese court procedures, legal rights, and constitu
On August 18, 1924, all eighteen were acquitted.
An embarrassed government-general hurriedly appealed the
verdict with some minor success, but the sentences which thir
teen persons eventually received-fines of one hundred yen or
three or four months imprisonment-were not heavy enough to
dim the triumph.
The specific reforms that these campaigners demanded
were changes which would not have upset the political, eco
nomic, and social status quo. When the home rulers were forced
to share leadership of the Taiwan Cultural Association with
successful leftist challengers in 1927 ,the former withdrew to set
up their own Taiwan Popular Party (Taiwan minshiito).35
Like the demands of the pre-1927 Cultural Association and the
Japan-based League for Establishment of a Taiwanese Parlia
ment, the thrust of the Popular Party, at least until its radicaliza
tion in 1928 and 1929 caused its most conservative members to
quit it, was towards the encouragement of indigenous culture
and access to power and privilege monopolized by Japanese.
The party's platform summarizes characteristic demands of the
"mainstream" course of anti-colonialism. It called for:
- Taiwanese participation in popular elections at all govern
ment levels;
-pennission for Taiwanese to publish newspapers and jour
nals and to hold meetings freely;
-compulsory elementary education for all island children;
- use of Taiwanese dialect along with Japanese as languages of
instruction in elementary schools;
- teaching of written Chinese in elementary schools;
- equal educational opportunities for Taiwanese and Japanese;
-abolition of the repressive hoko (baojia) mutual collective
security system;
-abolition of the forced labor system which required Taiwan
ese but not Japanese families to take responsibility for their own
and their neighbors' legal infractions and to provide corvee
labor for public works, public health, and other administrative
- an overhaul of the police system which invaded almost every
sphere of Taiwanese life;
- judicial refonns;
-an end to discriminatory procedures which required Taiwan
ese but not Japanese to obtain passports for travel to China.
The party's economic demands were piecemeal and vague but
did include a creation of financial agencies to aid fanners and
laborers and legislation to protect tenants. Most amorphous of
all, the social policy platfonn consisted of two planks: "(1)
Support for fann and labor movements and for citizens' groups;
(2) confinnation of the principle of equality between the sexes,
support for the women's rights movement, and opposition to
selling persons. "36
These demands (also advanced by the pre-1927 Cultural
Association) cannot be dismissed as completely tactical. They
concentrated upon bigger slices ofthe pie for the colony's native
elite of Japanese-educated professionals and business people
(leavened bY'a sprinkling of old-style landlords whose wealth
was derived from pre-Japanese days). From this native bour
geoisie came not only "mainstream" anti-colonial leaders but
also most of their rank-and-file followers in the Cultural Associ
ation before 1927, who after 1927 made up the memberships of
the League for Establishment of a Taiwan Parliament, Popular
Party, and the very conservative League for Attainment of Local
Autonomy founded in 1930 by Popular Party dissidents. 3 7 Thus
not surprisingly, mainstream anti-colonialism constantly de
nounced the barriers faced by competitors for shares of the
wealth which Japanese capitalism was reaping in Taiwan but
rarely attacked Japanese capitalism itself. As businessmen,
Taiwanese supporters of home rule and piecemeal refonn were
deeply involved in financial and commercial institutions of
Japanese capitalism.38 As landlords their unearned wealth de
pended upon a land tenancy system that their colonial rulers had
streamlined in order to increase government revenues. As phy
sicians, school teachers, lawyers, petty clerks, and technicians
they had gained their relatively privileged social positions and
relatively lucrative or pleasant livelihoods through close associ
ation with the Japanese they emulated perhaps even more
closely than they realized. 39 Even a maverick like Lin Chenglu,
who, at the time the New People's Society was fonned, had
stoutly maintained- before almost anyone else-that abolition
of Law No. 63 was unsatisfactory because Taiwan needed
independent cultural development, sent his youngest children to
the elite schools and universities of Japan.
At their most
militant the leaders of "mainstream" anti-colonialism wanted
to strike the word "Japanese" from the phrase "Japanese capi-
talism in Taiwan"; with "capitalism in Taiwan" they had no
serious quarrel.
Frantz Fanon' s portrait of native anti-colonial "intellectual
or commercial elites" is an almost perfect description of the
Taiwanese mainstream movement.
The national political parties never lay stress upon the neces
sity ofa trial ofarmed strength. for the good reason that their
objective is not the radical overthrowing of the system.
Pacifists and legalists, they are infact partisans oforder, the
new order-but to the colonialist bourgeoisie they put
bluntly enough the demand which to them is the main one:
"Give us more power" ... They are violent in their words
and reformist in their attitudes. 41
The description is only almost perfect because the conservative
Taiwanese activists were rarely "violent in their words." Cer
tainly the efficiency of the government-general police was one
of the reasons for their fondness for refonnism in word and
Yet anti-colonialists elsewhere, faced with equally ruth
less police and repressive power structures, refused to take
legalistic, pacifistic stances. The contrast with Korean activists
who also fought Japanese colonialism is a sober one. Colonial
To the leftists the annual petition campaigns which
engrossed most ofthe association's funds and energy,
appeared increasingly a waste of time. They began to
demand not only serious support for the peasant
movement but also a response to the problems of fac
tory workers in the colony's industrial sector.
governing structures in the two colonies were similar but not
identical. The police of the Korean government-general was if
anything more notorious than its counterpart in Taiwan. Yet few
Korean anti-colonialists found issues like home rule and local
governmental autonomy worth fighting for.43 In colonial Viet
nam, the French Surete pursued anti-French "subversives" as
thoroughly as did the police in Taiwan. In the face of the
Surete's ubiquitous network, anti-colonial Vietnamese of the
conservative scholar-gentry class attempted to train themselves
and their followers for anned upheaval and to gain promises of
military aid from other Asians.
"Give us more power," said
these leaders of Taiwanese mainstream anti-colonialism, taking
great care that the way they phrased the demand would not
weaken the configuration that that power was embedded in.
The most damaging accusation the colonial government
felt it could make against the advocates of home rule suggests
the mildness of their "most extreme intentions." Denouncing
the home rule petitioners before a committee of the House of
Peers on February 28, 1921, Den Kenjiro, then governor
general of Taiwan, announced that under the ruse of "home
rule" the petitioners really aimed at Taiwan's independence
from Japan. And what shape would this independence take? Self
government, Den emphatically declared, equivalent to the inde
pendence that the British dominions of Canada and Australia
An independence comparable of that of contempo
rary Canadians or Australians (who saw themselves as com
pletely British) would have been a very pale independence
Taiwan's mainstream anti-colonialists, then, appear to
have been total victims of the captive mind. A few of them
leaned towards union with China-Jiang Weishui being the
most famous among these. In addition, the Popular Party under
Jiang's influence briefly displayed some solidarity with the
Guomindang, the party of the nationai bourgeoisie in China.
Most of the mainstream leaders, however, accepted not only the
economic and political structures that the Japanese had estab
lished in Taiwan but their rulers' social and cultural importa
tions too. When more radical, often younger and less wealthy or
well-educated critics of Japanese rule began to question the
captivity of the mainstreamers' minds and their economic in
terests, the home rule veterans did not rise to the challenge.
Instead they drew ever closer to their rulers.
The Challenge from the Left:
Radical Activism
Where did these challengers to the home rule movement
spring from? The radical stream of Taiwanese anti-colonialism
has left less prominent traces than has the mainstream. Some of
the radicals' work was clandestine, underground activity. At
least up until 1927 they often labored anonymously within
organizations directed by conservatives, publishing in the lat
ter's organs without an established periodical of their own.
After 1927 they were suppressed much more stringently than
were the mainstreamers, and as yet no famous veterans of their
struggles have published memoirs of the 1920s or 1930s.
Maddeningly incomplete as the records may be, at least the
outlines of Taiwanese raaical anti-colonialism can be sketched.
Along with the dominant wing of the anti-colonial move
ment, radical activism appeared in the Taiwanese student com
munity in Tokyo around 1920. A stimulating atmosphere for
young Taiwanese in the late 1910s and early 1920s, Tokyo
offered opportunities to meet Japanese socialists and anarchists
as well as liberals, and to mix with Japanese student radicals,
revolutionary Chinese studying in Japan, and dissidents from
Korea. In 1920 some leftist-leaning students could be found
among the charter members of the New People's Society and in
the Taiwan Youth Association (Taiwan seinen kai) which be
fore 1920 had functioned strictly as a student social club. In
1921 Peng Huaying, a Taiwanese in his mid-twenties who had
become active in the Japanese student-worker movement, pub
lished in the organ of the New People's Society, Taiwan seinen
(Taiwan youth) "An Introduction to Socialism," the earliest
work on socialism written by a Taiwanese. Young Taiwanese
joined militant Korean students in public denunciations of
Japanese colonial rule even when the police halted such speech
making and arrested the speakers. By 1927 a majority of the
members of the Taiwan Youth Association was ready to endorse
a political direction for their association beyond the collection of
signatures in favor of home rule. In October of that year a
politicized membership ousted incumbent executive officers
and elected socialists in their places. Neither the colonial police
nor their Tokyo counterparts looked kindly upon such develop
ments among the previously "peaceful," "apolitical" Taiwan
ese students in Japan.
When police harassment became un
bearable for Taiwanese leftists singled out as "trouble mak
ers," they fled to China where, in the wake of the May Fourth
Movement of 1919, Chinese students had become an important
force in their country's national life. 48
Meanwhile at home in the colony, China was becoming
more and more attractive to Taiwanese who hoped to study
abroad. Those who were not drawn by the post -1919 political
atmosphere were impressed by the low fees and easy entrance
procedures of new schools and universities springing up in cities
and towns throughout continental China.
Many of those ini
tially interested only in academics broadened their horizons
once they stepped into a dizzying world populated by Chinese
nationalists, communists, socialists, anarchists, and Soviet
agents. Taiwanese students not only participated in Chinese
revolutionary and reformist organizations and study groups;
they also formed circles of their own and allied themselves with
Koreans dedicated to the overthrow of Japanese imperialism.
Like their counterparts in Tokyo- and radicals travelled back
and forth between China and Japan - they too became critical of
the petition movement. Petitioning the Japanese authorities was
hopeless, typically argued a league of Taiwanese, Korean, and
Chinese leftists in Shanghai: "No matter how many hundreds of
heads bow low the result is the same. . . It is just like trying to
scoop up [the reflection of] the moon from the water. "50
China ceased to be fertile ground for radical politics in
1927 when Jiang Jieshi's murderous attack on the Chinese
Communists put an end to Guomindang-Communist coopera
tion and inaugurated a reign of all-out terror against the Chinese
left and much of the non-leftist intellectual community. With
few incentives to linger on after their studies were finished,
Taiwanese students in China returned to Taiwan. Like those
coming back from Japan, they brought discontent with the
petition movement with them. All returning students were of
enormous interest to the colonial authorities who had been
discovering that, despite their painstaking precautions to ex
clude all seeds ofchange, radical ideas were actually growing in
Taiwanese soil. With the help of Taiwan-born Japanese young
people, native islanders who had never left the colony or had
only been abroad for very short periods were beginning to join
and even to organize left-wing study groups.
Young Japanese colonials like Ozawa Hajime, the son of a
Japanese patrolman in Taizhong province, provided a link be
tween anarchists and other left-wing groups in Japan and Tai
wanese within the colony. During the mid-1920s Ozawa trav
elled back and forth between Tokyo where he went to art school,
was employed as a lithographic worker, and became seriously
involved in labor activities and the colony where he organized
young Taiwanese into anarchist groupS.51 While Ozawa was
helping to introduce anarchist ideas into the colony, Yamaguchi
Koshizu, another politically conscious young settler, helped
Taiwanese become socialists. The daughter of a Japanese Shin
to priest in the colony, Yamaguchi Koshizu, after a brilliant
record at Taibei's First Higher Girls' School, went to Tokyo to
study in Japan's leading normal school for women. In 1921 she
left this institution without finishing its course and, possibly due
to illness-she died two years later of tuberculosis-she re
turned to Taiwan. She had been in Tokyo long enough, how
~ ~ " w . 4 . ' . ~ ~ . . ~ ~ ~
ever. to work her way through liberal democratic, social re
formist, and Marxist groups until, as an enthusiastic socialist,
she established close relationships with Yamakawa Kikue and
Chinese Fairy Tales
and Fantasies
Translated and edited by MOSS ROBERTS
Illustrated with black-and-white woodcuts
201 East 50 Street. New York. New York. 10022
her husband Yamakawa Hitoshi, both influential figures in
Japanese socialism. Back in Taiwan during the remaining two
years of her life she moved in company engrossed in socialist
studies and labor problems, keeping in touch with her comrades
in Japan. 52 She was instrumental in introducing young Taiwan
ese, including a man who would soon emerge as a leading
radical anti-colonialist, to Japanese socialism and Japanese
This man, Lian Wenqing, was about twenty-six when as a
petty clerk in a Taibei office with an elementary school educa
tion, he became friends with Yamaguchi. With her help he
managed to go to Japan for an Esperanto conference held in
1924. There he met the Yamakawas and like Yamaguchi be
came ideologically close to them. For Yamakawa Hitoshi he
gathered data on Taiwan's economy, society and politics which
enabled Yamakawa Hitoshi (perhaps with Lian's additional
assistance) to begin work the following year on a penetrating
critique of Japan's first colony entitled Taiwan under Colonial
Policy (Chokumin sakuka no Taiwan). When Lian became an
important figure in left-wing anti-colonialism, the ideas of
Yamakawa entered the heart of Taiwan's anti-colonial
Other young Taiwanese of humble origin, of whom Xie
Xuehong, "the parent of the Taiwan Communist Party," is an
outstanding exemple, had no Japanese friends or mentors to
help navigate a leftward passage. Lian Wenqing had only fin
ished elementary school, but Xie was even farther removed
from the ranks of the colony's highly educated native elite. Born
to a poor family in eastern Taizhong in 1900, she lost both her
parents when she was thirteen and was sold as a concubine two
years later. Afterwards she worked as a laborer for a sugar
company before managing to get to Kobe (Japan) in 1917.
There, seventeen-year-old Xie opened a hat shop and studied
Japanese and Mandarin Chinese. Three years later she returned
to Taiwan to join other restless young rebels. 53
The students returning from China and Japan discovered
what the stay-at-home anarchists and socialists already knew
too well. Whenever young leftists tried to organize openly the
police stifled every action before it got out of the planning stage.
Lian Wenqing and four comrades-including mainstreamer
Jiang Weishui for whom Guomindang-Communist Party coop
eration had stimulated an interest in socialism-tried to or
ganize a socialist study group in Taibei in 1923 but police halted
them before they held their first meeting. In 1925 a group called
the Lenin Memorial Society (Renin tsuito kai) planned a May
Day celebration but were thwarted by the police. The following
year young anarchists tried to hold a political lecture on the
anniversary of the founding of the Japanese state and were
arrested for their pains. Even when young leftists tried to meet in
secret, well-informed police officers usually arrived to close
down their meetings. 54 Thus, although all such radicals were
highly critical of the Taiwan Cultural Association leadership's
preoccupation with home rule and petitions, they had no place to
put their energy but into the Cultural Association, tolerated as it
was by the ubiquitous police.
As a result, from the Cultural Association's beginnings in
..,. .. ,. "', "
1921 its active membership included an energetic left-wing
::: .
component. Lian Wenqing was a member of the association
when he first became friendly with Yamaguchi Koshizu; Xie
Xuehong joined the association as soon as it was organized and
became prominent in its women's movement activities. Anar
chists and socialists-budding young Taiwanese leftists did not
differentiate sharply between anarchism and socialism in the
early 1920s but welcomed all kinds of leftist influences-be
came involved in the association's organizational work and
lecture circuits. At first they boldly attempted to set up sports
clubs and reading clubs under Association sponsorship, but the
police, sourly noting that club members were more interested in
anarchism and communism than in athletics or nonpolitical
reading, immediately closed these down. ss Thus, in growing
numbers as their ranks swelled with returnees from China and
Japan, they threw themselves into Association activities. Some
of them became the most daring of the Association's lecturers,
others taught night-school courses, still others formed travelling
theatre groups and toured the island under Cultural Association
auspices. More than anything, however, they supported Associ
ation encouragement to peasant farmers who, from about 1923
onward, were fighting threats to their livelihoods from large
Japanese-owned or managed agricultural corporations and the
colonial govemment. 56
The atmosphere created by Cultural Association meetings
held in rural districts encouraged farmers to get together and
defend their economic rights. Conservative leaders of the as
sociation approved of peasant battles because they enhanced 'the
farmers' sense of Taiwanese identity while teaching them the
value of" solidarity against Japanese rule and its most visible
collaborators. Urban-oriented as they were, they were at least
dimly aware that the majority of their fellow islanders were rural
agricultural workers, many of whom were quite poor. Leftists
among the rank-and-fIle membership of the association, on the
other hand, saw in agrarian struggle lessons in class conflict.
During 1924 and 1925, the association helped peasants in
Taizhong and Tainan provinces fight sale of bamboo forests to
the Mitsubishi corporation, which intended to use the trees for
pulp. Protesting farmers, who had always used the bamboo to
supplement meagre farm incomes, refused to pay taxes, to
fulfill their hoko (baojia) obligations, or to send their children to
public school until their interests in the bamboo lands were
recognized. Inspiration for such tactics came from left-wing
members of the Cultural Association. At other times Associa
tion assistance was less direct but nonetheless important-as in
the case of the famous Er-lin incident of October 1925 which
was sparked by visiting Cultural Association speakers who
criticized the Lin Benyuan Sugar Corporation that dominated
the cane farmers' lives. After these speeches the local physi
cian, who headed the Er-lin branch of the Cultural Association,
led four hundred farmers into Taiwan's first sugarcane farmers'
union. The union refused to deliver cane to the corporation on
the company's monopoly terms and made some basic demands
on behalf of the farmers. When the company, which refused to
discuss the farmers' modest demands, sent scab labor to harvest
the crop a bloody battle ensued and the police arrested ninety
three individuals. When the arrested were tried in Taizhong
district court prominent lawyers who were active in the Cultural
Association defended them. 57
Leftists in the Cultural Association wanted more of the
association's resources put into such fights. To them the annual
petition campaigns which engrossed most of the association's
funds and energy, appeared increasingly a waste of time. They
began to demand not only serious support for the peasant move
ment but also a response to the problems of factory workers in
the colony's industrial sector. Lian Wenqing spoke for all of
them when in exasperation he declared that change would come
to Taiwan through the efforts of young Taiwanese' 'nobodies,"
not through campaigns by prominent members of the island's
native bourgeoisie. S8 Strengthened by the returned students, the
discontented broke the dam of their self-restraint. After a vain
attempt to hammer out some common ground for cooperation
between rank-and-fIle dissidents and the conservative leaders,
the youthful left wing took over leadership of the association
early in 1927. The home rule leaders bolted to form their
Popular Party and as this in tum became radicalized through
involvement with labor unionism, they left it to form the ex
tremely conservative League for Attainment of Local Auton
omy in 1930. The new leaders of the Cultural Association set to
work to transform their organization into a champion of Taiwan
peasant farmers, industrial workers, and women. In a statement
analyzing contemporary conditions in Taiwan entitled' 'Taiwan
of 1927," the new leadership attacked those who stressed home
rule and separate development for Taiwan through political
reform alone. Such initiative, the statement correctly pointed
out, was based on the interest of only a few Taiwanese. The
Cultural Association was dedicated to the liberation of the
proletariat of Taiwan, which meant class struggle of Taiwan's
oppressed workers, farmers and the allies of these two classes
against Japanese capitalism.
The Cultural Association continued to raise Taiwanese
consciousness through public meetings and entertainments fea
turing anti-Japanese harangues which became ever more daring.
But the first priority became organization of the rural and urban
masses. Building upon the association's past ties with protesting
agricultural workers, a close alliance was formed with the
island-wide Taiwanese Peasant Farmers' Union (Taiwan nomin
kumiai), which was itself a product of the peasant movement. In
a hitherto unexplored direction, the association sought to build
unions and to lead strikes among machine workers, lacquer
workers, laborers in cement and iron works, and other wage
Calm waters were not, however, in sight. Competition
from a rapidly radicalizing Popular Party increased difficulties
Cultural Association labor organizers encountered. Under Jiang
Weishui, the "moderate" anti-colonialist who admired Sun
Yat-sen's Guomindang Party, the Popular Party was encourag
ing urban workers to form less militant associations than those
sponsored by the Cultural Association. In the countryside there
were problems too. Barely a year after the Taiwan Communist
Party was founded in Shanghai by Xie Xuehong and others in
1928, it was eclipsing Cultural Association influence within the
Peasant Farmers' Union.
Cooperation between the Cultural
Association and the Communist Party was uneven at best. It
worsened as the latter attacked the association and Lian Wen
qing, one of its most energetic leaders, for Lian's "Yamakawa
ism, " a position recently rejected by the Communist Party of
Japan. This attack intensified differences of opinion within the
association and in 1929 Lian was expelled from the association
for his "Yamakawaism. "60 Thus the association, while bravely
striking out on a new course, had to contend with severe com
petition and criticism from outside organizations while dealing
with an upsurge of internal factional troubles. The most insuper
able hazard of all, ofcourse, was the colonial government which
stepped up its persecution and terror. Cultural Association
meetings were broken up, members and sympathizers detained
and grilled. In December 1932, when the police arrested more
than a dozen of the organization's leaders, the embattled Cul
tural Association collapsed.
Since the colonial government had dissolved the Popular
Party on February 18, 1931, the day the party declared itself a
farmers and workers party, and had spent most of 193 I smash
ingthe Taiwan Communist Party, the collapse of the Cultural
Association meant almost the end of the left-wing anti
colonialism in Taiwan under Japanese rule. The fact that the
Communists had dared openly to hoist the slogan, "Indepen
dence for Taiwan," earned them the respect and sympathy of
many young anti-colonialist Taiwanese, and the government
general found them annoyingly elusive. A carefully planned
anti-Communist offensive in June of 1931 had netted 108 ar
rests, but within two months the four or five comrades who had
managed to slip through the authorities' hands-possibly be
cause they were close'ly identified with the Cultural Association
and the Peasant Farmers' Union rather than the Communist
Party-had reorganized the party. In October the police made
ninety-one arrests, finally smashing most of the Communist
organization and ending most labor and peasant movement
activity as well. Stiff sentences kept party leaders and associates
behind bars during the militarized years between 193 I and
1945, but whenever even one of these stalwarts was released
from prison underground resistance was attempted. Xie, for
example, received a thirteen year sentence in 1931 but was
released in 1939 because she was gravely ill. Despite her illness
she immediately opened a wine shop in Taizhong as a front for
.... . the most impressive journal of intellectual opinion
Captive Minds and Taiwanese Anti-Colonialism
From the formation of the Taiwan Assimilation Society in
1914 to the collapse of the League for Local Autonomy under
wartime pressure in 1936, reformist anti-colonialism com
manded strong support from the native bourgeoisie. The thou
sands who joined the various organizations and the thousands
more who supported their functions earned the longest-surviv
ing branch of Taiwan's anti-colonial movement its designation
as "the mainstream. "62 Yet the physicians, lawyers, clerks,
journalists, teachers, technicians, and entrepreneurs who oc
cupied the ranks of mainstream anti-colonialism were from a
class that was largely a creation of Japanese colonialism. Edu
cated in Japanese schools both in the colony and in the ruling
country for occupations which Japanese development of their
island had created, they were as much products of Japanese
colonialism as the sugar refineries and the coal mines. They
were protesting a system of which they were an integral part;
more than anything else they sought full acceptance as Japanese
subjects. The complaints they repeatedly aired, from 1920 up
until suppression of all public dissent in the late 1930s, revolved
around the issue of discrimination-discrimination against Tai
wanese within existing economic, social, political, and cultural
institutions of Japanese imperialism. Although mainstream
anti-colonialists also called for recognition of their indigenous,
non-Japanese cultural origins, the major thrust of their demands
was towards equality in economic competition, political fran
chise, and social status. Their mentality was unequivocally that
of the captive mind.
to have appeared on the scene in years." William Styron
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If they had managed to gain Taiwan's independence from
Japan what would they have done differently than their rulers?
Perhaps they would have replaced Japanese language and cul
ture. Aside from a possible gain in cultural pride and identity,
would such a victory have meant substantive changes for the
Taiwanese masses? Mainstream opposition to Japanese rule
came from a native bourgeoisie that was deeply enmeshed in the
structures of Japanese colonial capitalism. The contradiction
this involved is obvious. Under such leadership would not a
post-independence Taiwan have been ripe for the most blatant
form of neo-colonial domination? Was Governor-General
Den's accusation that "the real goal" of the home-rule petition
ers was an arrangement like the one Canada and Australia
endured during the 1920s so far off the mark? Perhaps the
reformers would indeed have settled for some sort of local
autonomy within the Japanese empire. Without belittling either
their idealism or their courage, one must conclude that the
direction main streamers took contained little potential for inde
pendence. They thought and acted too akin to the enemy they
sought to unseat.
The radical stream clearly does illustrate, however, that
not all anti-Japanese activism in Taiwan was unalienated from
the colony's rulers. By the late 1920s a younger, more critical,
less assimilated, less wealthy leadership was on the scene
spearheading a direct attack against Japanese colonialism. Re
jecting capitalism and imperialism, the radicals held out a vision
of a new society in which Taiwanese peasants and workers
would take control of their own lives. Although Japanese,
Chinese, and other influences originating outside of Taiwan
contributed to this vision, for many it was inspired by the
struggles of Taiwanese peasant farmers organizing to maintain
and improve their livelihoods and by the wretched conditions in
the colony's factories and mines. Neither the post-1927 Cultural
Association, nor the Communist Party, nor the People's Party in
its most militant hour could claim large rank-and file member
ships as the home rule organizations could. Nevertheless, the
left-wing organizations were not divorced from a mass base.
The radical stream of anti-colonialism incurred the full wrath of
the colonial police machine in the early 1930s precisely because
it was beginning to win substantial following from an island
wide peasant movement and a much smaller but growing move
ment of urban workers.
The radical challenge to the mainstream which grew in the
1920s also cannot claim complete freedom from contamination
by the captive mind. The factionalism within the post-I927
Cultural Association which hardened into a fight over Lian
Wenqing's "Yamakawaism" demonstrates this. Theory and
practice must go hand in hand. Thus despite heavy external
pressures-such as competition from the ever-watchful police
- it may have been of utmost importance immediately to ham
mer out what kind of an organization the Association intended to
be and what kind of a course it intended to chart. But did these
questions have to be raised in the context of contemporary
left-wing factionalism in Japan? Was it necessary to import
directly into Cultural Association debates the theories of con
tending Japanese socialists? Suppose that the Yamakawa con
troversy had not arisen in the ruling country or that it had
occurred there but Taiwanese radicals knew nothing of it. In
either case would Cultural Association socialists have thrown
out Lian, a figure who played such an important role in past
triumphs of the Taiwanese left? The conservatives possessed no
monopoly on the captive mind.
Taiwanese struggles against Japanese rule of their island
before 1945, then, vividly illustrate contentions about the dam
age colonialism does to minds. There as elsewhere in the Third
World the captive mind was-and continues to be-a grave
impediment to anti-colonialism. Certainly it is at its most lethal
in its mainstream identification with the enemy. Yet the radical
version, making one's battles too much in imitation of the
battles of comrades elsewhere, can be unhealthy too. *
I. I wish to thank Jan Walls for reading and commenting upon this essay in
an earlier fonn and Donald Burton for encouraging me while I was writing it. I
am deeply indebted to Eng-kiang Ching and Muggs Sigurgeirson for teaching
me so much about resistance to mental captivity. This paper also owes a
considerable debt to the work the economists Giovanni Arrighi and John S. Saul
have done on Africa.
2. "Imperialist domination;' "imperialism," "empire," etc. refer only to
the historical process of Great Power (mainly Euro-American but including
Japanese) domination of the Third World from the sixteenth century to the
present. A concise summary of Western imperialist domination is outlined in
Ernest Mandel, Marxist Economic Theory (London: Merlin Press, 1968), Chap
ter 13. Good summaries can also be found elsewhere. For the specifics of British
industrial and imperialist advancement see Eric J. Hobsbawn, Industry and
Empire, Penguin, 1969.
3. Peter Worsley, The Third World (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson,
1967), p. 45.
4. Syed Hussein Alatas, The Myth ofthe lAzy Native (London: Frank Cass,
1977), p. 210. David Campbell, son of an Arawak Indian of Guyana put it this
way in an introduction to his song, "MotherCountry":
Beyond the material exploitation of the colonized person, was the exploita
tion ofthe mind andsoul. This was done in colonial schools by programming
the children there into becoming loyal and true subjects of the Mother
Country, their minds focused North longingly to its golden shores, and away
from any pride in their black and brown ancestors. One ofthe most poignant
disillusionments for the victim of the colonial experience comes, when the
well indoctrinated 'Child of the Empire,' heads North finally, to find that
his Mother Country does not really want him, and all along was only playing
profitable games with his head and soul.
David Campbell, Through Arawak Eyes, Songs and Poetry by David Campbell
(Toronto: Development Education Centre, 1975), p. 20.
5. Albert Memmi, The Colonizer and the Colonized (Boston: Beacon,
1965), p. xii.
6. Aime Cesaire, Discourse on Colonialism (New York: Monthly Review
Press, 1972), p. 21.
7. "Every colonized peoples- in other words, every people in whose soul
an inferiority complex has been created by the death and burial of its local
culture originality - finds itself face to face with the language of the civilizing
nation; that is with the culture of the mother country. The colonized is elevated
above his jungle status in proportion to his adoption of the mother country's
cultural standards. He becomes whiter as he renounces his blackness, his
jungle." Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (New York: Grove Press,
1967Z) p. 18. Also relevant is his analysis of national bourgeoisie in his last
book, Wretched of the Earth.
8. Renate Zahar, Frantz F anon: Colonialism and Alienation (New York:
Monthly Review Press, 1974), pp. 35-36. See also Gustav Jaboda, White Man,
A Study ofthe Attitudes ofAfricans to Europeans in Ghana before Independence
(London: Oxford University Press, 1961) for examples taken from a British
colonial milieu. Fanon's experience, of course, was of French colonialism.
9. Discourse on Colonialism, p. 21.
10. Alatas, The Myth of the lAzy Native, p. 76. The quotation within the
quotation is from c'G. Wamford-Lock, Mining in Malaya/or Gold and Tin.
London, 1907, one of the many descriptions of non-Europeans by Europeans in
Southeast Asia that Alatas cites.
II. And native bourgeoisie, unfortunately, became the ruling elites in
post-colonial times. See chapters 10 and II of The Myth ofthe IAz;y Native.
12. Albert Memmi, The Colonizer and the ColOnized, pp. 15-16.
13. As Memmi, Fanon, Alatas, Cesaire all acknowledge, very real dam
age is also done to the rulers. I do not want to get into this questioo here,
as the focus of this essay is on what happens to the ruled.
14. The great Filipino anti-colonialist, Jose Rizal (1861-96) warned his
compatriots against identification and passionately extolled the value of aliena
tion from one's rulers in his famous novel, El Filibusterismo published in 1891.
In this novel, the mysterious and violent Simoun, who is dedicated to inciting
Filipinos to rise against their Spanish govemoI:!, argues with a young Filipino
who is organizing to improve educational opportunitties for his people: "You
ask parity of rights, the Spanish way oflife, and you do not realize that what you
are asking is death, the destruction of your national identity, the disappearance
of your homeland, the ratification of tyranny. What is to become of you? A
people without a soul, a nation without freedom: everything in you will be
borrowed, even your very defects." (Jose RizaI, El Filibusterismo, trans. by
LeonM. Guerrero as The Subversive [New York: W. W. Norton, 19681, p.49).
Simoun asks the young man he is addressing to join hill) in armed insurrection
but the youth' is unmoved: Simoun then continues to try to persuade him that
piecemeal reform is hopeless:
These stupid yearnings for Spain and the Spanish way oflife, for equality of
rights. . . will only lead at best toward becoming a poor imitation and our
people should aim higher. It is folly to try to influence the thinking ofthose
who rule us; they have their own plans and their eyes are closed to anything
else. . . What you should do is to talee advantage of the prejudices of our
rulers. So they refuse to integrate you into the Spanish nation. So much the
better! Take the lead in forming your own individuality, try to lay the
foundations of a Filipino nation. They give you no hopes. All the better!
Hope only in yourselves and your owneffons. They deny you representation
in the Spanish parliament. Good for you! Even if you were able to elect
representatives of your own choosing, what could you do there but be
drowned among so many voices, yet sanction by your pretence the abuses
and wrongs which may afterwards be committed?
15. S. G. Alatas, "The Captive Mind and Creative Development," Inter
national Social Science Journal, Vol. 26, No.4 (1974), p. 691. Alatas, who
tends to define his concepts by listing empirically observed characteristics (a
practice which in the case of a concept like "colonial capitalism" produces a
description somewhat lacking in analytical rigor), defmes the captive mind as
What is a captive mind? Confining ourselves to the Asian context for
convenience, a captive mind possesses the following characteristics:
A captive mind is the product of higher institutions of learning, either at
home or abroad, whose way ofthinking is dominated by Western thought in
an imitative and uncritical manner.
A captive mind is uncreative and incapable ofraising original problems.
It is incapable of devising an analytical method independent of current
It is incapable ofseparating the particularfrom the universal in science and
thereby properly adapting the universally valid corpus of scientific knowl
edge to the panicular local situations.
It isfragmented in outlook.
It is alienated from the major issues ofsociety.
It is alienated from its own national tradition, if it exists, in the field of its
intellectual pursuit.
It is unconscious ofits own captivity and the conditioning factors making it
what it is.
It is not amenable to an adequate quantitative analysis but it can be studied
by empirical observation.
It is a result ofthe Western dominance over the rest ofthe world.
This concept encapsulate nicely the tragic psychological and cultural dimen
sions of colonialism. Of course the "captive mind" also accurately describes
the mentalities of other groups than native elites under direct colonial domina
tion. For example, Alatas has written brilliantly of the captive mind in develop
ment studies. See S. H. Alatas, "The Captive Mind in Development Studies,"
International Social Science Journal, Vol. 24, No. I (1972), pp. 9-25. In
Alatas' Intellectuals in Developing Societies (London: Frank Cass, 1977), there
are devastating examples of the captive mind in post-independent South East
16. See Fanon, Wretched ofthe Eanh (New York: Grove Press, 1966) and
Fanon, Towards African Revolution (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1967).
17. This identification can be seen in me scholarly interest in the history of
Taiwan under Japanese rule demonstrated by Taiwanese expatriate intellectuals
who are advocates of independence and autonomous rules for Taiwan. Indeed,
"Taiwanese independence" intellectuals outside of Taiwan have generated
some fine scholarship on Taiwan's fifty years ofJapanese rule, although they do
tend to concentrate upon the themes and figures they are particularly interested
in. In Japan the books of() Ikutoku and Ko Se-kai are outstanding examples of
this kind of scholarship; in the United States the work of Edward I-te Chen and
Ching-chih Chen have broken important ground regarding Japanese colonialism
in Taiwan. In addition, expatriate Taiwanese have been responsible for memoirs
of pre-I945 days. A group of Taiwanese in Japan, under the tide of the
Association for the Preservation of Historical Materials on Taiwan (Taiwan
shiryo hozon kai), pubblished a reprint of the notorious police history of the
Japanese regime in Taiwan, Taiwan sotokuju keisatsu enkakushi (A history of
the Taiwan government-general police), ed. Taiwan sOtokufu (Taiwan gov
ernment-general), 4 vols., Taipei, 1933-41. [Henceforth referred to as TSK.1
Since this work contains many primary sources for research on anti-colonialism
in Taiwan, all scholars interested in Taiwan are indebted to them.
18. Of Malayo-Polynesian origin, the aborigines arrived in the island from.
about jooo B.C. onward. Bullied and driven from their lands by Chinese
settlers, taxed and converted to Christianity by Dutch East Indian Company
tyrants from 1624 to 1662, isolated by officials of the Qing empire from 1662 to
1895, these earliest settlers resisted the encroachment of Japanese troops not
only during the take-over period but through at least two decades of Japanese
administration. The Japanese retaliated with search and destroy missions, elec
tric fences around the mountainous strongholds of these people, and aerial
bombing of their settlements. (According to one witness bombs were dropped
on villages as late as 1916-18. See Janet B. M. McGovern, Among the Head
Hunters of Formosa [London: T. Fisher Unwin, 19221, p. 90.) Extermination
eliminated much of their resistance, while the colonial government confined
survivors to Reservations. There, watched and harassed by special police
constables, starved, and neglected they remained. Some of them did find the
strength from time to time to make occasional surprise attacks on their rulers, but
these occurred sporadically in an uncoordinated fashion. The aborigines took no
part in organized anti-colonial movements on the part of the Taiwanese popula
. tion. This is certainly not surprising, since they were segregated and surrounded
by police guards. Never forming more than two percent of the colony's popula
tion, they were few in number too.
The Taiwanese population began as Chinese settlers who, as early as the
twelfth but most in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, crossed the 150
miles of Taiwan Strait, which separates Taiwan from the Chinese mainland.
There were three million such settlers in Taiwan before it was ceded to Japan as
booty of the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95. The Japanese permitted a "two
year period of grace" during which Chinese in Taiwan were to decide either to
return to China-and pemaps 200,000 to 300,000 did so-or to become
Japanese subjects. Those who chose the latter course and their descendants are
the "Taiwanese." Taiwan's first Japanese census of 1905 recorded a population
of 2,890,485 Taiwanese of whom "2,492,784 came from Fukien, 397, 195
from Kwangtung, and only 506 from other parts of Mainland China." (Samuel
P. S. Ho, Economic Development in Taiwan, 1860-1970 [New Haven: Yale
University Press, 19781, p. 12.)
When the terms "Taiwanese" and "Chinese" are used in the same
sentence, as they are in the narration of Taiwanese student involvement in
politics in China during the 1920s, this in no way implies that' 'Taiwanese" are
not' 'Chinese. " The designation of "Taiwanese" refers to Chinese native to the
province of Taiwan.
19. The transition from military chaos to police-dominated civilian rule
took place during the administration of Lieutenant-General Kodama GentarO,
third governor-general of Taiwan from 1898-1906. See E. Patricia Tsurumi,
"Taiwan under Kodama GentarO and Goto Shimpei" Papers on Japan, Vol. 4
(1967) East Asian Research Center, Harvard University, pp. 95-146; Ching
chih Chen, "The Police and How Systems in Taiwan under Japanese Admini
stration (1895-1945), ibid., pp. 147-176; Ching-chih Chen, "The Japanese
Adaptation of the Pao-chia System in Taiwan, 1895-1945" Journal ofAsian
Studies 34:2 (February 1975), pp. 391-416.
20. As early as 1907 Lin Xiantang sought advice from the famous Chinese
reformer, Liang Qichao regarding how the Taiwanese might best resist their
Japanese overlords. In 1911 Liang took up's invitation to visit him in
Taiwan; in 1913 Lin went to China and Tokyo and during both trips met Chinese
nationalists. See Edward I-te Chen, "Formosan Political Movements under
Japanese Colonial Rule, 1914-1937," Journal ofAsian Studies. Vol. 31, No.3
(May 1972), p. 479.
21. In an underdeveloped country or area an intellectual is commonly a
person with any kind of modem education. In such cases the category of
intellectual frequently includes, for example, groups like secondary school
22. A month after inauguration of the Assimilation Society on December
13, 1914, it had attracted 3,178 members, all but forty-four of whom were
Taiwanese. Its assets at this time, made up of donations and fees, amounted to
4,660 yen. TSK, III, p. 22.
23. See Harry J. Lamley, "Assimilation Efforts in Colonial Taiwan: The
Fate of the 1914 Movement," Monumenta Serica, Vol. 29 (1970-71), pp.
24. The name was taken from the Confucian classic, The Greater Learn
ing, but this kind of name was very much in the air. New Youth (Xin Qingnian)
was the organ of the May 4th Movement of 1919 in China, and a New Men's
Society (Shinjinkai) had been formed by students at Tokyo University.
25. Edward I-te Chen, "Formosan Political Movements," p. 483.
26. The quotation is taken from the first petition of 1921 reproduced in full
in TSK, III, p. 341.
27. During the peak years of the Cultural Association's speech-making
circuits, signatures on the petitions rose from 1,990 in 1926 to 2,684 in, '1932,
and the public lectures were extremely popular. Cai Peihuo et aI., Taiwan minzu
yundong shih (A history of the Taiwanese nationalist movement), Taipei: Zuli
wanbao congshu bianji weiyuanhui, 1971, pp. 140-151. Given the strenuous
obstruction of the colonial police and the popUlarity of the lecturers who urged
audiences to support the petitions it is safe to assume that each signature
probably represented the sentiments of more people than the individual signer
28. In Japan proper the "universal manhood suffrage" bill only passed the
Diet in 1925, and the law which this bill became continued to disqualify from
voting in Diet elections a substantial number of adult males in the poorer classes
as well as women of all ages and classes. Thus, in the absence ofevidence to the
contrary, one may assume that the home rule leaders were prepared to accept
limitations upon the franchise they hoped to gain.
29. From the preface of the 1921 petition. TSK, III, p. 341.
30. Cai Peihuo, Nihon honkokumin ni atii (Attention, homeland
Japanese!), Tokyo: Taiwan mondai kenkyukai, 1928, pp. 157-158.
3 I. The best example of aged veterans who hold this view are the seven
participants in mainstream anticolonialism who authored their memories of the
movement, Taiwan minzu yundong shi, published in 1971 in Taipei. Cai
Peihuo, whose name heads the list of seven, was born in 1889. Reflections of
this view can be found in the scholarship of 0 Ikutoku, Shi Mei, Edward I-te
Chen and Ching-chih Chen.
32. Their fondest targets were those with power and influence in Tokyo
but they were willing to approach any established individual or group from the
prime minister down to a labor alliance. See Ko Se-kai, Nihon tochika no
Taiwan: teikii to danatsu (Taiwan under Japanese rule: resistance and sup
pression), (Tokyo: T.okyo daigaku shuppankai, 1972), pp. 229-230.
33. Enlisting aid from famous criminal lawyers in Japan, they and their
allies skillfully mobilized Japanese contacts. While the government-general
accused them of attempting to bring about Taiwan's self-government and
separation from Japan, they argued that they had been quite properly using their
constitutional right to petition and had followed all appropriate legal procedures
for registering the League for Establishment of a Taiwanese Parliament in
Tokyo and publicizing their cause both in the home islands and the colony. Ko
Se-kai, pp. 222-229.
34. The notables of the home-rule movement, after all, were not poor.
Some of them, for instance Lin Xiantang, were quite rich. Thus the fines were
probably not a major problem. The prison terms were more inconvenient, but
the e i g h t ~ e n and their associates were far from downcast. They felt the publicity
their cause had gained and their confident display of an intricate knowledge of
Japanese law had won support for home rule among their fellow-Taiwanese and
sympathetic Japanese in Japan. The reflections of Lin Chenglu, who in the end
received a three-month sentence, expresses the mood of the group:
After the raging storm passes
Unaltered the mountains and rivers stand,
While trees and grass
Gain even more abundant life.
We not only survived our one and a halfyear ordeal in the courts;
we learned much from it. What this true-life experience taught
us best ofall was how to use the government's power to push our
own cause.
(Quoted in Ko Se-kai, p. 228.)
35. The claim to fame of this short-lived organization (1927-1931) is that
it was the only legal political party to exist in Taiwan during the fifty years of
Japanese rule. Headquarters of the Popular Party were in Taibei, and by the end
of 1927 it had fifteen local branches and a membership of 457. Soon it was
maintaining connections with forty-one labor unions with memberships total
ling nine thousand, with two farmers' associations, and with a number of
Taiwanese youth groups. Cai Peihuo et aI., pp. 376-379; TSK, III, pp. 435-440.
By August 1930 its involvement with striking factory workers and interest in the
Chinese Nationalists- in 1929 two party delegates went to Nanking to help
transfer the tomb of Sun Vat-sen from Peking-had frightened the most con
servative elements into seceding again. Under Cai Peihuo they formed the very
conservative League for Attainment of Local Autonomy, devoted to nothing
more than the extension of the metropolitan country's system of local govern
ment to Taiwan. 'The colonial police dissolved the Popular Party in February of
193 I, when the party announced it was to be henceforth a farmers and workers
party working for "the formation of a united front with all political parties in
Japan and elsewhere (presumably China), which represented the interest of the
people without property." (Edward I-te Chen, "Formosan Political Move
ments," p. 493. See also Taiwan sheng wenxian weiyuanhui, ed. Taiwan sheng
tongzhi gao (A draft history of the province of Taiwan), 13 vols., Vol. 9, pp.
36. Cai Peihuo et aI., pp. 366-368.
37. In 1921 the occupations of "forty-seven leading members" of the
Taiwan Cultural Association were as follows: landlords, 14; physicians, 14;
correspondents, 7; lawyers, 2; shopkeepers, 2; full-time staff of the Cultural
Association, 2; company employees, 2; college professor, I; carpenter, I;
others, 2. Cai Peihuo et aI., pp. 289-292. When the association came into being
in October 1921 out of 1,032 members more than a quarter of them were middle
school and higher school students. Cai Peihuo et aI., p. 323.
38. The Japanese in Taiwan were acutely aware of the anti-colonial
sentiments of much of the Taiwanese business community. Taiwanese en
trepreneurs were mainly confined to small and middle-sized ventures because
until 1923 the colonial government kept large-scale enterprise as the exclusive
preserve of Japanese capitalism. In 1926, three years after the ban on Taiwan
ese-controlled large-scale enterprise was lifted, nearly all of the native islanders
who formed the unprecedented Datong Trust Company with initial assets of two
hundred and fifty million yen were Cultural Association members. Japanese
colonials immediately acknowledged the anti-Japanese bent of this company by
trying to block its formation. When this failed, government-general officials
tried to discourage people from doing business with it. Yanaihara Tadao,
Yanaihara Tadao zenshu (Collected works of Yanaihara Tadao), 29 vols.,
Tokyo, Iwanami shinsho, 1963-1965, vol. 2, Shokuminseisaka kenkyu II (Co
lonial policy research II), "Teikokushugika no Taiwan," (Taiwan under im
perialism), pp. 285,294-295; Cai Peihuo, Nihon honkokumin ni atii, pp.69-70.
When Taiwanese business people supported mainstream anti-colonialism, the
government-general found action against their establishments an effective way
to undercut anti-Japanese agitation. Entrepreneurs who signed the petitions
would receive demands for immediate repayment of all loans owing to govern
ment banks; those who applied for new government loans would be refused.
Other signers lost their licenses to distribute goverment monopoly products.
Commerce could be disrupted by sending a hated Japanese policeman to sit all
day in a shop or office. In 1928 Lin Xiantang, so rich and prestigious, was made
to withdraw at least temporarily from anti-colonial leadership because he had an
outstanding loan from the government's Bank of Taiwan. The native bour
geoisie may have wanted to wipe the "Japanese" out of "Japanese capitalism"
but the latter was not going to let them forget exactly who owned whom. See
TSK, III, pp. 353, 916; Ko Se-kai, pp. 214-15; Cai Peihuo et aI.,
p. 168.
39. See E. Patricia Tsurumi, Japanese Colonial Education in Taiwan,
1895-1945 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1977) especially
chapter 8, "Japanese Education, Taiwanese Intellectuals, and Political
Activism. "
40. Lin's only son was a graduate of Tokyo Imperial University's Law
faculty at the apex of Japan's educational pyramid. In 1937 Lin's five younger
children were attending elite colonial public schools (primary and higher girls'
schools) with the children of Japanese colonials. Taiwan shinminpii sha, Taiwan
jinshi kan (A who's who of Taiwan), Taipei, 1934, pp. 459-460.
41. Frantz Fanon, Wretched of the Earth, p. 47.
42. See Ching-chih Chen, "Japanese Socio-political Control in Taiwan,
1895-1945," Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, 1973; Ed
ward I-te Chen, "Formosan Political Movements' '; Cai Peihuoet aI., especially
pp. 445-446.
43. See Chong-sik Lee, The Politics of Korean Nationalism (Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1963) and Pak Kyong-sik, Nihon Teikokushugi
no Chosen shihai (Rule of Korea under Japanese imperialism), 2 vols. (Tokyo:
Aoki shoten, 1973).
44. See David Marr, Vietnamese Anticolonialism, 1885-1925 (Berkeley:
University of California, 1971).
45. TSK, III, p. 342.
46. For instance, to my knowledge, no sets of memoirs like Cai Peihuo et
al. 's Taiwan minzu yundong shi, an apology for the conservative leadership of
mainstream anti-colonialism, has been published. The radical stream of the
anti-colonial movement had no journal like Taiwan seinen (Taiwan youth),
which, because it was the conservative leaders' publication for fifteen years, is a
basic source for infonnation about the mainstream of the movement. (Edited by
Cai Peihuo, Taiwan seinen began in 1921 as the journal of the New People's
Society in Tokyo. A major vehicle for publicizing the home rule campaigns, it
was expanded into a daily newspaper and transferred to Taiwan in 1932 where it
flourished until its suppression by the govennent-general in 1937.) The problem
is compounded by the fact that the first-rate scholarship of Taiwanese indepen
dence movement scholars-with outstanding exceptiohs like Ko Se-kai-has
tended to concentrate upon studies of their heroes, the conservative leaders.
Fortunately, that important source for all anti-Japanese activity in Taiwan, the
colonial police's monumental "secret history," TSK, is extant.
47. The colonial police reported that before World War I Taiwanese
students in Japan had not been interested in politics. TSK, III, pp. 24-25.
Koreans, on the other hand, the police found more "contaminated" with
"dangerous ideas." After the Japanese colonial government in Korea sup
pressed the strong 1919 independence movement in that colony, the Greater
Japan Society for Peace (Dai Nihon heiwa Kyokai), a private society, invited
Korean and Taiwanese students in Japan to a conference of round table discus
sions. The Japanese participants in these declared that Japan must quickly grant
both Korea and Taiwan home rule. While the Taiwanese students greeted this
enthusiastically, the Koreans left the conference in protest. To them anything
less than independence was unthinkable. 0 Ikutoku, Taiwan: kumon suru sono
rekishi (Taiwan: her agony and her history) (Tokyo: Kobundo, 1964),
48. Examples of Taiwanese activists in Japan fleeing the police are Peng
Huaying mentioned above and Fan Benliang, a Taiwanese disciple of the
Japanese anarchists, Osugi Sakae. In June of 192 I the two of them spoke in
favor of independence for Taiwan at a meeting held at the Kanda Y. M. C. A. in
Tokyo. Police halted the meeting and detained Fan. From then on the two found
their movements hampered by constant surveillance. Within a month Peng left
for Shanghai and in August Fan went to Peking. Ko Se-kai, p. 264.
49. Government-general records listed nine Taiwanese studying in China
during 1919; in 1921 these same records enumerated 273. TSK, III, p. 174.
50. TSK, III, p. 79.
51. TSK, III, p. 887.
52. In spite of the advanced stage of her tuberculosis, this amazing person
also planaged a separate, "non-political" career as a teacher at a private girls'
school in Taibei. For background infonnation on Yamaguchi Koshizu see TSK,
III, p. 183 and Miyagawa Jim, Taiwan no sei)i undo (Political movements in
Taiwan), (Taipei: Taiwanjitsugyokaisha, 1929), pp. 280-283.
53. 0 Ikutoku, pp. 126-129.
54. Ko Se-kai, pp. 265,268; TSK, III, pp. 184-185,883-884.
55. Attempts to organize these clubs occurred in 1923. TSK, III, p. 884.
56. After successful establishment of the infrastructure necessary for
economic development, the colonial government next set about luring Japanese
private capital to the island. Heavily taxing native islanders to provide generous
subsidies for Japanese capitalists, they made exploitation of Taiwan's agricul
tural resources a highly profitable business for large-scale Japanese concerns.
With lavish returns on their investments guaranteed by the colonial government,
five of the colony's six major sugar companies were established by 1910. With
its huge monopoly profits, sugar production and processing, by far the colony's
most important industry, had ample surpluses to invest in such other profitable
"fields as mining, alcohol, pulp and paper, metal products, pharmaceuticals,
canning, and commerce." Samuel P. S. Ho, Economic Development of Tai
wan, 1860-1970, p. 86. Japanese sugar companies not only refined sugar; they
controlled all aspects of cane cultivation and harvest. Even the land leased to
private cultivators was usually under the supervision of the companies. Thus a
large portion of the cane growers, the hired hands, and the tenants of the sugar
companies were in fact wage earners acting under the direction of the sugar
companies." Ibid., p. 62.
57. Ko Se-kai, pp. 253-257; TSK, III, pp. 1026-1029. The farmers'
demands were threefold: freedom to buy fertilizers of their choice and to use
methods of fertilization as they chose; the right to witness the weighing of cane;
establishment of a price for the cane before it was cut.
58. Lian Wenqing, "Kako Taiwan no shakai undo" (Taiwan social move
ments in the past), quoted in Ko Se-kai, p. 279.
59. When Xie Xuehong threw her energies into the early Taiwan Cultural
Association in the early 1920s the colonial police immediately recognized her
leadership qualities. Thus by 1925 she was fleeing to Shanghai. After some
experience in the Chinese student movement she went on to Moscow, where she
came to know Chinese and Japanese revolutionaries. Briefly she returned to
Taiwan before heading for Shanghai in 1928 to play a central role in the
founding of the Taiwan Communist Party of which she was one of its most
influential members. She was also an important figure in the Cultural Associa
tion and labor movement until her arrest in 1931. 0 Ikutoku, pp. 126-129.
60. The Japanese Communist Party repudiated Yamakawa Hitoshi for his
famous position that it was more important to develop mass organizations than
to concentrate upon a Leninist vanguard party- the necessity of which he never
denied. Lian Wenqing, Yamakawa's Taiwanese associate, eventually lost to
others in the Cultural Association whose ideas were more in tune with Com
munist strategies in Japan, China, and elsewhere.
61. Incidentally, she outlived her enemy, the colonial government, sur
viving to play an important role in political events immediately after Japanese
rule ended. In 1949 she went to Peking. Lin Chingming, Shirarezaru Taiwan:
Taiwan dokuritsu undoka no sakebi (The Taiwan yet to be known: the cry of
Taiwanese independence activists) (Tokyo: SanshOdii, 1970), pp. 83-84.
62. I do not know if large, inactive segments of the rank-and-file member
ship of the Cultural Association dropped out immediately in 1927 when the
Association's leadership changed. Because membership in a radical organiza
tion brought on police persecution, there was every incentive for the post-split
Cultural Association not to divulge its membership lists. Nonetheless, it is
known that the organizations the conservatives subsequently organized had
large followings. Thus it is perhaps reasonable to assume that they took much of
their numerical support with them. The League for Political Autonomy, in spite
of its birth at a time when any kind of refonnist political activity was extremely
difficult, gained 4,000 members and got more than 18,000 islanders out to its
meetings during its first six months of existence. Cai Peihuo et aI., p. 475;
Ching-chih Chen, "Japanese Socio-political Control in Taiwan, 1895-1945,"
p. 441. Before the 1927 split, Cultural Association membership told a similar
tale: according to one observer, at its peak Association membership numbered
13,014. Miyagawa, Taiwan no sei)i undo, p. 124.
Volume XXI Spring 1980 Number 4
Cheerleaders and ombudsmen: the sociology of race relations in
Britain by Jenny Bourne and A. Sivanandan
Richard Wright: marxism and the petite-bourgeoisie by Cedric
The social time-bomb: education of an underclass in West
Germany by Stephen Castles
Struggling against the 'Bandastan': an interview with Attati
Mpakati by Chris Searle
Notes on Niceragua
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Introduction *
The following is an example of a story written by one of
Taiwan'sfolk writers. The movement of which he's a leader is
called' 'Shandu," and some consider it Taiwan's first indigen
ous literary tradition.
Some ofthese writers hold factory jobs all day and write at
night; many oftheir stories show an introspective concern about
national identity, and they've had an important political effect.
They're the first writers in Taiwan to focus on workers and
Taiwan's government has denounced the writings through
the controlled press in Taiwan, and in papers published by
overseas Chinese. But the Shan-tu literature's popularity con
tinues to expand. This movement represents one ofthe very few
forms ofprotest expression in Taiwan.
Yang Kwui, the author ofthis story, is in his seventies. He
was born in Tainan and has workedfor the rights of Taiwan's
people most ofhis life. Under the Japanese he helped organize
farmers through the Taiwan Farmers' Guild/Peasants Union.
He was a member ofthe Formosan Cultural Society.
Yang Kwui was imprisoned 10 times during the period of
Japanese occupation, but he was jailed only a total of about
twenty months. Ironically, he was highly acclaimed by Japan's
literary elite while imprisoned as a dangerous leftist.
He was much less recognized by the Chinese, and many of
his works were lost after the war. In 1949, Yang Kwui and
several other writers who'd been involved in the Cultural Soci
ety wrote a peace declaration, which analyzed conflict between
Mainlanders and Taiwanese, and outlined how the two groups
could live together harmoniously. They were all arrested for
At his trial, Yang Kwui was asked ifhe hadanything to say.
"I stood up and started talking. The judge told me to be quiet.
He said, 'You opposed the Japanese, you're the type who will
oppose us - we don't want to hear you.' On the basis of this
trial, I spent 12 years on the prison island of Green Island,"
Yang Kwui told us. He also added that the document which led
to his imprisonment from 1949 until 1961 was only 1000 Chin
ese characters.
* This introduction (which has been edited) and story first appeared in "Made in
Taiwan;' A Human Rights Investigation, by Becky Cantwell, Don Luce and
Leonard Weinglass. It was published by the Asian Center, an independent, New
York affiliate of Clergy and Laity Concerned, pp. 18-20.
During the years 1941 to 1945, day by day, year by year,
the young men on the island were disappearing. The older ones
were sent to the mainland or to the south as "Imperial warriors
for East-Asian Co-prosperity." Even the students, who were
called apprentice soldiers, were sent to the mountains and coasts
to become the cornerstones of the Japanese Empire.
There was no end to the expanding construction projects on
the bases; these kids, turned soldiers, had so much to do,
especially after a series of bombings by Allied planes, that with
mud allover their bodies they looked like clay dolls.
As a mathematics teacher, I did not need to go to class
anymore, so I hung around with the kid soldiers every day.
Seeing the brilliance of young men marred by a thick layer of
earth, seeing art and science replaced by the myth of omnipo
tence, I felt terrible.
"Hey, look, " shouted Lin Chienwen as he threw away the
shovel, crouching at the foot of a wall. A crowd of baby soldiers
circled around him. They cried out in unison, their faces shining
- a rare scene in those years.
What was it that they had discovered?
I was about to go over and have a look, when Lieutenant
Yoshida, the military discipline officer came.
"What's all the noise about? What's the fuss? You kids
had better clean up this place quick. Tomorrow you all have to
go to the airport to repair the runway. "
The spring-like brilliance vanished from the faces of the
baby soldiers. They looked at each other, and slipped back one
by one to their working posts. Lin Chien-wen peered at the cane
in the Lieutenant's hand, and with the shovel started clearing out
the broken bricks and tiles and cement, burying them in the
bomb craters.
I feigned indifference. I turned toward the sea. I saw a
fishing boat tossing about. Emotions began to tug at my heart.
Lin Chien-wen, the smallest baby soldier in the class, was
the last in the line. He cast a stealthy glance at Lieutenant
Yoshida, who was walking away. Then he laid down his shovel
and tried hard with his hands to push aside a large block of
cement; his face flushed with exertion.
"What's this for?" I patted his shoulder.
Shaking his head, he smiled, "This, this ... "
"What's this?" I stooped down and saw a rose pressed
under the block of cement. Although it was pressed hard, it
managed to germinate through the crevice, and even sprouted a
flower bud about the size of a thumb.
I thought that indeed this meant something, so I helped him
move away the block of cement and appearing before us was a
flattened rose.
I was happy - but not because I had gained a rose. I had
various flowers much more precious than this planted at home. I
felt happy because a revelation hit me: nothing will confine
spring's splendor. The rose was able to creep through a crevice
to germinate and sprout, just as unyielding as the heart of the
Taiwanese people trampled under the hooves of the Japanese
"Are you happy with it?" I asked.
Lin Chien-wen nodded. But gloom immediately shadowed
his face. Yoshida was back again. Lin Chien-wen picked up his
shovel and continued with his work. I strolled around the con
struction grounds, telling the baby soldiers absentmindedly,
"Hurry up, it's time.
The sound of the bugle ended the day, I quickly helped Lin
Chien-wen dig out the rose, so that he could bring it back to the
After supper, I saw Lin Chien-wen alone on the lawn,
looking dumbfounded. A letter in his hand was fluttering in the
wind. Slowly I approached him and asked. "A letter from
home? Any good news?"
He sighed, shaking his head, I could see the setting sun
glitter in his eyes.
"Teacher ... "
"Is it alright to mail the rose home?"
"Of course it's alright. You want to mail it?"
"Yes, I'm really sorry for my older sister. All six of us in
the family are now separated. Some of my older brothers have
gone to the mainland, some to the south, and I'm stuck here ...
so only sister is left at home ... home must be desolate, and she
alone, shut in."
Alright, since I'm returning home in a few days, I'll bring
it to your sister for you. I will also tell her the story of this rose
flower. "
Lin Chien-wen held my hands in his. I saw tears streaming
down his eyes. These two streaks of tears reminded me of the
stalk of the rose flower pressed under the block of cement, as
well as the flower bud that sprouted its way through the crevice.
Two days passed, and it was Sunday, when I had to leave to
go back to Taiching. Holding the rose in my hand, I felt
somewhat regretful.
I didn't feel bashful to see Lin Chien-wen's sister, despite
my age. What I was afraid to see was a girl sobbing and
snivelling upon greeting. In this kind of a situation, it would be
improper to leave or to stay. Suppose someone else happened to
see this. God knows what kind of misunderstanding would be
created ... then it would be really embarrassing. I imagined
that for a girl alone in charge of a household this would be bound
to happen. If I did run into this, what would I do?
Thank God the Miss Lin I met was not so weak and tearful
as I had imagined.
Perhaps long years of hardship had tempered her; in every
way she acted rationally and calmly.
I told her that I was her brother's teacher, specially here to
deliver the rose. Then when she heard the story ofthe rose, she
was astonished; she immediately took the rose from my hand,
and planted it in the center of the front yard. Later she even
asked me to tell Lin Chien-wen not to worry: "What brother
means, sister can feel. "
That night I returned cheerfully to the barracks. This cheer
fulness in tum caught Lin Chien-Wen. He sighed in relief, his
face shining again with the splendor of spring.
April went by. May went by. The June and July sun along
the coast scorched all of us to a dark tan.
Every day the radio news broadcasts kept babbling out the
"good news" and "victories of the Imperial forces" issued by
the headquarters. But fire could never be wrapped in paper.
Soon they began to grab people everywhere. Some were said to
be spies, while others were said to be suspects involved with
disseminating rumors.
On August 15, several days before the Emperor announced
Japan's unconditional surrender, Lin Chien-wen received a
letter from his sister. It contained these lines:
. The rose blossom you sent me is now growing beautifully on
my Chrysanthemum Mount. More buds have sprouted on the
branch, and the buds have blossomed into blood-redflowers.
I am not lonely anymore. [' m thinking maybe the New Year's
reunion dinner this year will have afew more dishes:"
That rose? With my own eyes I saw it planted in the center
of the front yard. Since when has it been moved to the Chrysan
themum Mount? What kind of a mount is this? This puzzle
remained unresolved in my mind for a long time. Soon it was a
victory over the Japanese. Our lives returned to normal. Those
who taught continued to teach, those who studied continued to
go to school; like many other families, Lin Chien-wen' s family
enjoyed a happy reunion.
One day, on a visit to the family, I found out about the story
of the Chrysanthemum Mount from his sister. This story was
told her by a young man, Wang Chih-Chien, her brother's
schoolmate in Kwangtung. Returning to Taiwan, Wang had met
her during her most dejected, most uncertain days before the
Retrocession. He brought back from her brother (then serving in
the anti-Japanese war in the rear) messages as well as many
heroic revolutionary stories. The story of the Chrysanthemum
Mount was one of them. That was how she and Wang became
comrades. (Note: the Chrysanthemum Mount is an event which
symbolizes revolt against foreign domination.)
She also recalled that after being involved in many ac
tivities, she was once arrested by the Japanese gendarme, and
missed persecution by only several days.
How light-heartedly she was telling the story!
Shortly after the Retrocession, the couple got married, and
I was witness at their wedding.
Life was certainly difficult, especially under foreign occu
pation, but I always feel that as long as we stand our ground
unperturbed, even if we are thrown into a tunnel dark and deep,
time will help us solve the problems.
And the story of this rose pressed hard under a block of
cement-doesn't it tell something significant? *
A Short Review
by SUD Lung-kee and Randy Stross
This short book makes a modest but useful contribution
towards the hardly-begun task of assembling a non-apologist
history of Guomindang[KMT]-rule of Taiwan province. Al
though the approach is liberal, and the focus is narrow, Mab
Huang's work provides an account of an important moment of
challenge to the KMT. From 1971 through 1973 heated in
tellectual agitation at National Taiwan University (Tai-Da) for
domestic political reform came on the heels of a series of
diplomatic setbacks to the Republic of China regime. The U. S.,
in a volte face, acknowledged Japan's claims to administer the
Diao Yu Islands, the ROC was forced out of the United Nations,
Nixon visited Peking, and Japan extended diplomatic recogni
tion to the People's Republic. What began as a "Protest the
Diao Yu Islands Movement" soon broadened into a movement
aimed at political, social, judicial, and military reforms as well.
Mab Huang was teaching at Tai-Da in 1971-72, when the
movement broke out and reached its zenith. Many passages in
the book draw upon Huang's attendance at - as well as occa
sional participation in - the forums, debates, and demonstra
tions. Large parts of the book provide additional primary mate
rial including translations or summaries of the debates that
appeared in print, primarily in the pages of Da-xue Za-zhi [The
Intellectual]. The reform currents presented a liberal challange
to the ROC regime. The reformers sought "a rejuvenation of the
ruling stratum, a prosperous economy, the rule of law, and an
open society with pluralist values." The stated goals included
the curtailment of police abuse of power and corruption, more
youthful input into domestic politics, and greater academic
freedom. Some of the reformers laid particular stress on the
miserable plight of the island's farmers and workers. "An
Analysis ofthe Social Forces in Taiwan," appearing in 1971 in
Da-xue Za-zhi, charged that the countryside was characterized
by economic decay and the city by pitiless exploitation. Huang
notes that this attention paid to social concerns was unpre
cedented and distinguished "the intellectual group in the 1970s
from their predecessors in the past. "
REFORMS IN TAIWAN, 1971-1973, by Mab Huang.
Center for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan,
Michigan Papers in Chinese Studies, no. 28, 1976,
Unprecedented or not, the criticisms raised by the younger
intellectuals in this period were remarkably tame; in fact, the
reformers were easily able to rely upon the writings of the
KMT's own icon, Sun Yatsen, for support of their own re
formist positions. But even a mild dose of its own rhetoric was
too much for the KMT to swallow, and the government soon
clamped down. In early 1973, during the university recess, two
leading professors, Chen Guying and Wang Xiaobo, and a
number of students who had been active participants were
suddenly arrested by the Taiwan Garrison Command. They
were charged with organizing reading groups devoted to study
ing Mao Zedong Thought and Chinese Communist literature.
With the help of the president of Tai-Da, all were released
within a week, but one of the two professors was transferred to a
non-teaching job and neither published or spoke publicly for
years afterward. The fear of additional reprisals pressed upon
the Da-xue Za-zhi's editorial board. Later, in fall 1973, the
magazine's leadership was further demoralized when Zhang
Jinghan used his association with Da-xue Za-zhi to try to further
personal political ambitions. Then, in 1974, the movement was
dealt another blow: a purge of Tai-Da' s philosophy department.
Accused of having connections with "liberal" American pro
fessors and of dedicating themselves to the infiltration of the
university in preparation for a Communist take-over, four pro
fessors were dismissed.
The book's strength is its primary material. Except for a
short visit, Huang was not in Taiwan for the later period of the
movement, and the narrative portion outlining the reform Cam
paign's demise is much thinner than the earlier coverage of the
"ferment. "
After chronicling the intellectuals' movement, Huang de
votes a chapter to the political reforms that accompanied Jiang
J ingguo 's assumption of top political control. Huang warns that
it would be premature to speak of a new era in Taiwan of
"political rationality, of populist spirit, and of political bene
volence," as Winston Hsieh had exulted, but Huang's criti
cal treatment of the thoroughness of Jiang Jinguo's reforms is
surprisingly light-handed. Despite his stated reservation that the
government's reforms fell considerably short of the reforms
demanded by the intellectuals, Huang's portrait of Jiang Jing
guo The Reformer could hardly be more sympathetic. Further
more, Huang makes no attempt to explore how Jiang Jingguo's
flirtation with the rhetoric of reform aided his consolidation of
personal power and smooth succession to his father's throne.
The reader must tum elsewhere, such as to Chang Jinghong's
Wo de chen si yufen dou (My Contemplations and Struggles),
for a perspective more sensitive to how Jiang Jingguo co-opted
the movement.
Minor mistakes abound in Intellectual Ferment. To cite a
few examples, the respective backgrounds of Professors Shi
Qiyang and Li Zhonggui are inverted (64) and the names of
many of the important figures are incorrectly transliterated: [in
Wade-Giles romanization] Chang Ching-hang should be Chang
Ching-han, Hu Po-kai should be Hu Pu-kai, Wang Shao-po
should be Wang Hsiao-po, etc.
Huang's final assessment of the intellectual reform move
ment acknowledges the movement's failures to organize an
opposition party and to draw peasants and workers into its ranks
as well as the difficulties encountered in such a repressive
political milieu. But Huang's assumption that the 1971-73
period was so exceptionally unique prevents us from placing the
movement in any kind of broader, historical context. The ef
fervescence of Da-xue Za-zhi during this period is strikingly
similar to the fleeting moments of reformist challange raised by
the Zi-you Zhong-guo [Free China] and Wen-xing Za-zhi [Liter
ary Star] earlier or by Taiwan Zheng-Iun [Taiwan Political
Review] soon after. Although Huang makes early, brief mention
of the previous reform movements, there is no discussion of
how the 1971-73 movement built upon previous experience. To
name but one connection with the past, some of the important
figures active in this 1971-73 period were followers of Yin
Haiguang, who had been a prominent critic of the ROC regime
in the 1960s.
Hindsight also permits us to add that the 1971-73 move
ment shaped the subsequent struggles against the Jiang regime.
The extremely broad, active support for non-KMT candidates in
the 1977 fall elections and the destruction wrought by the
Zhongli riot * show us that dissent is no longer centered around
the Tai-Da campus. Since current as well as past resistance
deserves to be reported, Huang has provided a useful service but
his account is only one part of a larger story that still needs to be
written. "*
Discovery of Guomindang election fraud in Zhongli, a Taoyuan county town
25 miles southwest of Taibei, sparked a night of angry rioting on November 19,
1977. Over 10,000 people were reponed to have taken to the streets, overturning
trucks and setting fire to the fire and police stations.


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U.S. Prpsidpnlial Campaign
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Politics of the Left in Taiwan
by D.W.S. Davison
The following interview was conducted in Chinese *in the
United States during February and March 1980. The inter
viewee is a Taiwan national whose name and identity have been
withheld for protection. "X" has been an understanding &
sensitive participant, observer and writer on Taiwan's non
KMT political scene for many years.
This report focuses primarily on the activities of leftist
intellectuals in Taiwan, secondarily on those of indigenous
Taiwanese provincialists. As with government opposition
movements in other countries, social and political relationships
between personalities and events form an intricate web which an
account of this length necessarily oversimplifies. Where possi
ble, I have attempted to place the connection between Taiwan
ese local events and the wider context of US-Taiwan relations in
the foreground of discussion.
I lived in Taiwan for 1 V2 years and had the opportunity to
meet and talk with many of the political activists mentioned
herein. Virtually all of those I met as well as many others have
recently been imprisoned. Some face trial for treason, and one
has suffered the brutal murder of his family, presumably by
ultra-right KMT operatives. In publishing this interview the
BCAS and I express our respect and concern for these courage
ous and principled Taiwanese citizens. It is hoped that readers
will be moved to join us in protesting the imprisonments, calling
for the immediate release of the political prisoner, and support
ing their goals to democratize and liberalize the Republic of
China (Taiwan) government.
* Thanks to John Kowallis for helping with the Chinese-English translation.
As we are to be discussing the current political climate in
Taiwan under Guomindang (KMT) rule, let me first give you
some historical background about Taiwan's internal situation.
DD: All right.
Political and military control of Taiwan has been main
tained exclusively by the KMT for 30 years. The KMT has
always been in the superior position. They have repeatedly
succeeded in wiping out all other forms of political expression,
which have been of many different types over the years.
The first important assault was the February 28, 1947
(2-28) incident. The KMT response to civilian protests against
their corrupt military control was a massacre of all Taiwanese
connected, however remotely, to the anti-Japanese Patriotic
Movement. The leaders of this "United Front" and the majority
of its supporters were nationalists. They were allied with leftist
groups, including the CCP and the socialists. The political
strength behind this movement was completely destroyed at that
time. Most were killed, a few fled (mainly to China).
Let me review some facts about the Japanese Occupation
Period. Beginning in the 20's, the main trend in political activity
in Taiwan was for the leadership of mass and intellectual organi
zations to move progressively left. One of the earliest organiza
tions was the Wen Hua Xue Hui. Founded by intellectuals, it
gradually became more leftist in perspective, organizing the
Min Zhong Dang. It and other groups also published Taiwan
Min Bao from 1923-1932. This newspaper represented ideas
which were close to the CCP's of the 20s and 30s. Its line was
affected by the New Speech Movement and the Movement for
Sexual Equality. Moreover, it was exceptional as an organiza
tion that was close to the masses, expressing the masses' hopes,
investigating village life, discussing problems of the people's
oppression, and generally representing the Taiwan people's
ideas during the Japanese Occupation period. It was a vehicle
for organizing and guiding the development of the democratic
"Fatherland Faction" of the period. This newspaper greatly
influenced the editors of Xia Chao ("China Tide").
Returning to the KMT period, it is clear that because of the
Cold War,the CIA was involved in and helped the KMT perpe
trate the White Terror of the early 50s. The 2-28 massacre did
not obliterate mainland influence on Taiwan; moreover, im
mediately after 1949 there were many CCP spies on the island.
The methods of the KMT White Terror to handle this situation
were much refined over 1947. The massive numbers of arrests
during this period were not primarily of political activists but of
all people with progressive ideas-and, even more, of anyone
having even the slenderest connection with other suspect per
sons. This was the time when the arrest of any old Wang
typically led to the arrest of all hapless folk whose ming pian
(name cards) were found in Wang's possession. The situation
was much worse than during 2-28. By 1956 the CCP presence
had been completely eradicated.
During this period there were several important cases or
trials which resulted in mass arrests. The most important cases
involving indigenous middle and working class Taiwanese were
the Ma Dou case (200 arrested); also the Tai Zhong and Tao
Yuan cases in which dozens were arrested in each. The victims
wen. all either killed or are in prison to this day. At the same
time there were a number of significant arrests among the
non-Taiwanese Chinese (waisheng) upper class, such as of the
editor of Taiwan Xin Sheng Bao; the manager ofTai Tang Sugar
Company; and of Sun Liren, a KMT general and West Point
graduate (the latter was released after President Eisenhower
intervened on his behalf by sending Jiang Jieshi [Chiang Kai
shek] a telegram).
Thus by 1960 the last of the anti-Japanese Movement and
progressive Taiwanese had been arrested or implicated in other
cases. A new generation rose to replace them. In 1960 Lei Zhen
and Yin Haiguang began publishing Ziyou Zhongguo "Free
China" magazine thus establishing a new orientation for non
KMT politics: they were anti-communist and held other politi
cal views that were consistent with KMT policies, but they
called for establishing a two party system and western ideals of
democracy and free political expression. Thus essentially the
Free China Movement advocated reform of the KMT. Again,
the KMT interest was only in maintaining its political control.
The reformers were treated as Communist renegades, and many
were arrested in the early 60s.
The next group to challenge KMT domination of Taiwan
politics were the college students of the late 1960s. This frrst
generation of KMT-educated youth organized a "Free Speech
Movement" and in 1971 began publishing Intellectual Maga
zine (Daxue Zazhi), calling for liberalization of the KMT along
the lines of the earlier Free China Movement.
More than 100 students and professors were actively in
volved in the publication of Intellectual Magazine, but they
quickly split along lines reflecting differing class backgrounds
and political stands. There were three main groups; the most
conservative included students who had gone abroad to study,
other wealthy children of officials (quan gui hou yi), and uni
versity professors. The former had close relations with the
KMT, and some were even evebtually recruited into the party.
The latter, while taking on the historic role of the Chinese
intelligentsia as critics of the ruling class, ultimately were
forced by their dependence on the KMT (for tenure, jobs, etc.)
to compromise themselves.
The other two groups, the Taiwan provincialists and the
leftists [See below. DD] were destined eventually to both move
to the left and join forces against the KMT. They mutually
influenced each other, the leftists providing more far-sighted
ideological bases, such as pushing for stronger identification
with the masses, and the provincialists spurring the leftists from
a primarily intellectual to a more activist, involved posture.
In 1971 the student movement was radicalized and instilled
with feelings of anti-imperialism and social conscience as a
consequence of the Diao Yu Tai incident. The KMT's luke
warm resistance to Japanese seizure of the Chinese Diao Yu Tai
islands was strongly and widely protested in China. The PRC
also condemned the US for supporting Japan's claim to the
islands. Students and professors in Taiwan were sympathetic to
the PRC's analysis of the situation and thus began to study and
apply mainland political concepts to their own experience.
During this time a few native Taiwanese were beginning to
receive political appointments and some also sought elective
office. One of these whose political role in Taiwan has grown
greater every day is Kang Ningziang, a Taiwanese of working
class background who successfully ran for the position ofTaibei
representative to the Legislative Assembly (Li fa yuan) as a
non-KMT candidate in 1972. The Taiwanese activists repre
sented middle and lower-class indigenous business interests,
wanted to share power with the KMT, and advocated advancing
mQre native Taiwanese to political positions controlled by the
KMT party structure. Their line can be described as "Localist"
(or "Provincialist"). In this group lay the origin of the "Taiwan
Independence" (Taidu) Movement.
It's interesting to note that political activism and idealism
all over the world was so common in the 60s and died down in
the 70s. In the US there was the Anti-Vietnam War Movement,
in China the Great Proletarian Culture Revolution. In Taiwan
the 60s were politically desolate (a "vacant epoch:" "leng mo
shidai") while the 70s were very lively. The situation in Taiwan
was the result of internal and external educational and economic
advances in the 70s; the waves of western and mainland China
movements took a long time to reach Taiwan's shores because
of KMT censure of the press.
In 1972, in response to"Nixon's visit to China and to
changing perspectives on the PRC among young Taiwanese
intellectuals precipitated by the return of overseas students to
Taiwan, an alliance began to be forged between native Taiwan
ese politicians and increasingly left-leaning students. This co
operation was symbolized by the joint editorship of the maga
zine Taiwan Politics (Taiwan Zhenglun), frrst published in
August 1975. Its editorial policy was to advocate realism and
pragmatism and to calion the KMT to abandon the myths about
the Communist mainland and face up to modem Taiwan' s
tenuous international situation. It also criticized KMT monopoly
of government in areas such as the police whose chiefs were all
KMT and non-Taiwanese (mainlanders). The fifth issue of
Taiwan Politics in December 1976 was all about the 1976
election campaigns, and the criticism of the KMT was very
strong. It was banned shortly after the elections.
Kang Ningxiang served as publisher, the prominent in
teUectual Zhang Zhong-hong was editor-in-chief, and campus
activists Chen Yuxi, Su Chingli and Chen Guying worked on
the editorial board. The magazine focused entirely on Taiwan
current events, and especially local political campaigns of pro
gressives. (Kang himself was a candidate in 1876.) Involvement
of the Taiwan provincials in Taiwan Politics was due to their
radicalization in face of KMT resistance to sharing power with
them. The leftists explain their cooperation as being due to
I) their lack ofeconomic support, 2) dangerous political position,
and 3) the fact that then (as now and always) the Taiwanese politi
cians' pro-Taidu position was not open, public or in any way
obvious,since it (along with advocacy of pro-Communist ideas)
is grounds for arrest under charges of treason. [This fact ex
plains why a two-China policy, supported by so many well
intentioned but misinformed Americans, continues to be out of
the question from the point of view of Taiwan, as well as the
Kang Ning-xiang (left) and Lei Zhen. Photo by D.W.S. Davison.
In March 1976, when Jiang Jieshi died, a large-scale am
nesty was granted political prisoners in Taiwan. Most important
of those released was Chen Yingzhen, an extremely influential
writer of the "Countryside School", who had been arrested in
1968 on charges of reading restricted (PRC) books, including
Lu Xun. (Some 30+ native and non-Taiwanese leftists, includ
ing Jiang Jingguo's younger brother's brother-in-law, had been
arrested in connection with the highly publicized case.)
Upon his release Chen Yingzhen, along with Su Chingli,
Chen Guying and others, founded the monthly China Tide,
which represented the views of Taiwanese progressive intellec
tuals from 1976 to January 1979, when the KMT closed it down.
The magazine's orientation was anti-imperialist, nationalist and
socialist. Taiwan's history and current international position vi's
a vis the Third World were interpreted as showing it to be
inextricably a part of China. Editorial policy also focused on
Taiwan's history of opposition to imperialism and capitalism, a
socialist perspective on current internal Taiwanese social issues
and critiques of culture and literature. China Tide's publication
of the "Countryside School" writer Wang Tuo' s literary works
and reviews sparked the KMT's first public response in 1977.
Local newspapers reported on a debate about the "Countryside
School." "Modernist" KMT literary critics Yu Guangzhong
and Peng Ge attacked the Countryside writers for ascribing to
Communist literary principles, in particular Mao's Yenan Talks
on Literature and Art in which writers were exhorted to write
about workers, peasants and soldiers. (Very secondarily, the
KMT literary authorities criticized "Countryside School" lit
erature as being' 'bad art.' ')
After the "Countryside School" debates died down, as
sociates of China Tide dispersed to begin work on a variety of
local election campaigns, including mayoralty, county head,
and provincial assembly races in 1977.
DD: During the November '77 elections the Chung-Ii incident
or "riot" surrounding Xu Xinliang's candidacy for Taoyuan
Provincial Assembly representative received international at
tention. Did Xu Xinliang have any direct connection with the
China Tide group?
Xu Xingliang was one of the original editors of Intellectual
Magazine, but his 1977 campaign was run more or less indepen
dently of them. However he attracted a lot of help and support
from young people because of his reputation of working on the
magazine. His other major source of support was his' 'extended
family" (he is Hakka). He had more family supporters even
than Kang Ningxiang!
Xu Xinliang' s campaign was very important because of its
style. He followed a middle-of-the-road line-less radical even
than Kang Ningxiang's-and Red Guard tactics. The issue
which he raised and which sparked the Chung-Ii riot was KMT
ballot-box stuffing and vote buying. Unlike Kang Ningxiang,
Xu was not afraid to attack the KMT sharply in public. And
when the KMT hired thugs to intimidate the campaign he
retaliated with his own group of "toughs. "
On the other hand, his political position was full of con
tradictions. He claimed to speak for the peasants, yet he ad
vocated massive foreign investment to solve the unemployment
problem. He said he was a socialist yet he perceived that
Taiwan's present economic base should not be changed.
Aside from his lively and confrontational campaign style,
Xu Xinliang's successful candidacy also had much to do with
his KMT opponent. The KMT fellow was the son of a high
police official during the Japanese occupation and was himself a
police spy. He was universally hated. [Xu Xinliang is now
residing in the US-DDJ The 1977 provincial election cam
paign was also the first time the KMT identified certain success
ful regional (indigenous Taiwanese) candidates as being pro
Taidu. [Shi Mingde. who figures significantly in the current
Taiwanese political scene, was released from prison in August
1977, and his first political activities after his release also were
involvement with the 1977 political representative candidate
from Beigang, Mrs, SuMong RuiZhae. Mrs. Su'shusbandwas
a co-political prisoner with Shi; both had been arrested for
Taidu activities in the late 60' s-DD. J This chronology brings
us to the November 1978 election campaign, to which the most
recent mass arrests can be directly traced, so I'll stop my
historical introduction here.
DD: In American Chinese communities a strong division exists
between the pro-Taidu and pro-Tongyi (Re-unification)factions
in relation to Taiwan. Could you describe relations between
these two groups in Taiwan today?
While it is certainly possible to identify prominent non
KMT political figures with Taidu vs. Tongyi factions, the most
important factor unifying the two groups from the time of the
December 78 election campaign to the present has been the
priority both have placed on the issues of human rights, free
speech and reform of KMT rule. The basis of cooperation of the
two factions, from which was forged a "democratic united
front" during the 1978 election campaign, was anti-KMT acti
vity, and most of all, opposition to KMT-imposed marshal law
and non-democratic policy. It is most important to emphasize
this thrust of the current non-KMT political movements in
Taiwan, for two reasons: first, unlike the American Chinese
community, the issues faced daily by progressive elements in
Taiwan are entirely posed, defined by and addressed in face of
the reality of the ruling party, the KMT; second, the KMT is
continually distorting the activities of anti-KMT groups in order
to isolate and destroy them.
About the Tongyi "pro-unification" faction the following
thing can be said: It is pro-China, yet it criticizes China for not
protecting human rights. Rather than saying it identifies with the
cause of the mainland regime, it is better to say that it identifies
itself with Chinese culture. The reports I have seen that the
"unifications faction" blindly worships the mainland are a
good example of gross KMT distortion of the facts. One obvious
case in point is that the Tongyi faction vigorously opposes
mainland China's attempts to compromise with and thereby
recognize the authority ofthe KMT. Actually, 90 percent of the
views expressed by Tongyi in their writings are simply anti
KMT and have no relation at all to being pro-China. [Important
personalities in the Tongyi faction include Yu Dengfa, Huang
Sunxing, Chen Guying, Wang Tuo, Chen Yingmen and Sun
While the Taidu "Taiwan Independence" faction's origins
are in movements for Taiwanization of local government and
economy, it has most recently concentrated on the same issues
of human rights, free speech, press, and elections. [Prominent
Taidu figures include Xu Xinliang, Yao Zhawen, Zhang Jun
hong, Lin Yuxiong and Shi Mingde-DD] Even on a personal
level the KMT poses the greatest threat to anyone seeking
political and social reforms. Another common view of Taidu
and Tongyi is that Taiwan's resistance to KMT dictatorship is
historically and integrally related to mainland anti-KMT activ
ity. In Taiwan Taidu and Tongyi factions all see themselves as
Chinese first and last in contrast to the Taidu (Taizheng, 'Tai
wan government') faction in the US, who want complete sep
aration from China . The bases of unity are much broader and
stronger than are the political differences.
The election campaign of fall 1978 was the first time
leftists had ever been involved in an election. Following the
1977 victories of scattered regional non-KMT candidates the
impetus was strong to greatly expand non-KMT (that is, Dang
Wai 'outside party' or 'opposition') representation in govern
ment by publicly uniting the Taidu, Tongyi and other anti-KMT
candidates under a single campaign platform. As you know, on
December 16, just seven days before the election was to be held,
the United States announced normalization of relations with and
recognition of China. Jiang Jingguo took advantage of the
situation to suspend the elections. There is no doubt that most if
not all the non-KMT candidates would have been elected if the
election had been held. [These included Chen Guying, Wang
Tuo, Chen Wanmeng, and many others-DDI Big character
posters (dazibao) were posted in every city-in Taibei many
thousands' of people read them every day. The more the KMT
increased their harassment of the candidates [by citing themfor
violation of the election code, confiscating their literature.
etc. -DD] the larger were the crowds they drew to speeches.
The crowds averaged 10,000 at every speech, compared to a
few dozen to hear KMT candidates. At one speech over 20,000
Taiwan dollars were collected.
Xu Xin-liang
Many Taiwanese claim that the KMT operates in cycles of
repression and relaxation. After the elections were cancelled, a
cycle of repression-another White Terror- began. The KMT
had failed internationally in diplomatic relations, so it decided it
woul<:!- have to consolidate its control over its own territory.
Thus they first arrested Yu Dengfa (one of the oldest resisters to
the KMT, who had a substantial power base in Gaoxiong [Kaoh
siung] politics), because he represented a regional challenge to
their authority in society.
DD: Perhaps you should go into the events of 1979 in some
detail, including what led up to the arrest of the editors of
Formosa Magazine (Mei Li Dao).
Immediately after the election was cancelled, the non
KMT group (Dang Wai) (with the exception ofKang Ningxiang
(see below) requested that anew date be set for the elections. On
December 16, 1978, the Dang Wai published an announcement,
warning the KMT not to return to military rule and calling for
re-establishment of the elections. Kang Ningxiang then issued
an announcement in support of the government..
On December 25 the Dang Wai planned a meeting at the
Guobin Restaurant in Taibei to protest cancellation of the elec
tions. The KMT got wind of it and sent over 100 agents to lock
out the attendees, refusing to let them hold the meeting. So later
Shi Ming-de
that day the Dang Wai called a press conference, where they
issued a statement calling for: free elections; end of military rule
by the KMT within 6 months; and a legislature independent to
the KMT. (Kang Ningxiang did not attend this meeting either.)
Yu Denfa chaired the press conference and was the first to sign
the statement. He delivered a very severe criticism of the KMT
at that meeting and announced he would hold a meeting of his
supporters in Gaoxiong the following month.
Before his proposed meeting was held, and probably in
direct response to his participation in the December 25 press
conference, Yu Dengfa was arrested in January of 1979. On the
day of this arrest, leaders of the Taidu-Tongyi united front
group, Xu Xinliang, Chen Guying, Shi Mingde, Chen Ju and a
couple of others, decided to hold a surprise demonstration in
Gaoxiong protesting Yu's arrest. About 30 people participated
in the march, in which two participants carried a large sign
criticizing government repression. This was the first public
expression of opposition to the KMT in 30 years.
In order to save Yu Dengfa, many protest activities were
organized, centered in the south of Taiwan. Five or six public
lectures were held and posters and da zi bao were pUl up all over
the Gaoxiong. During this period the KMT fired Xu Xinliang
from his post as magistrate of Taoyuan County for missing a
day's work (he had been attending a Yu-support rally).
Quring this early period Kang Ningxiang, the most promi
nent Taidu figure, was beginning to get scared. He became
isolated from the United Front group of the election days. His
attitude became more conservative relative to the main opposi
tion group. Eventually he began to compromise with the KMT,
feeling that the KMT was very strong, and one couldn't be so
radical in opposing them. His relations with the Dang Wai grew
progressively worse.
In February 1979 the KMT closed down China Tide Maga
zine. To fill the vacuum, Kang Ningxiang founded The Eighties
Magazine [cf. Hong Kong's leftist magazine The Seventies
DD], and, in opposition to Kang Ningxiang, Formosa Maga
zine was published. Its editorial board [including Publisher
Huang Xinjie; Director Xu Xinliang; Deputy directors Lu Liu
lian and Huang Tianfu; Chief editor Zhang Zhonghong; Gen
eral manager Shi Mingde-DDl, which published four month
ly issues beginning August 15th, 1979, was composed of the
same United Front group, including Taidu, Tongyi and demo
crats, as had been involved in the elections. It is not true that the
editors were all supporters otTaidu, as the KMT has charged. In
fact the majority ofcontributors and staff were anti-KMT demo
cratic elements unaligned either with Taidu or Tongyi. The
editors' intention was for Formosa Magazine to become the
organ of a unifed Dang Wai. It had 10 offices/distribution
centers across the island, the Taibei, Jilong [Keelungj, Tao
yuan, Xinzhu-Miaoli, Taizhong, Yunling-Jaiyi, Tainan City,
Tainan County, Gaoxiong City, Gaoxiong county, and Pingdong
County. It also published other anti-government documents.
Of course many other magazines were also being succes
sively published and closed down then, since political involve
ment was high and many different viewpoints needed to be
expressed. In September 1979, one issue of Tocsin (Drumbeat)
Gusheng was published by Chen Guying, Chun Feng and Wang
Tuo. The first issue was printed in 10,000 copies, and after these
were sold out another 10,000 copies were printed. This maga
zine was closed down after the first issue.
DD: How does the government go about closing down a
Well, they receive copies of all published materials after
they've been published and distributed. If after reading a piece
they decide to ban it, first they take all the copies off news
stands. Then they send a letter to the editors saying that the
material is inappropriate for distribution. In the case of Tocsin
the second issue was at the printer's when the editors received a
letter saying the magazine must be cancelled, and that none of
the editors could edit or publish a magazine for one year.
Yu Deng-fa (left) and Yang Ching-chu
DD: Descriptions in the Western press of the Gaoxiong "riot"
ofDecember 10. 1979. which resulted in the arrests ofso many
leading Taiwanese dissidents. have been very confusing. Can
you describe your impression ofthe events that transpired?
In my view, the incident was a result of anti-KMT forces
misinterpreting a KMT tactical retreat of the preceding few
months as a sign ofKMT weakness. In fact in recent times both
the KMT and anti-KMT forces have made the mistake of think
ing that they had complete mass support, which has led to a lot
of violence.
The Dang Wai decided to demonstrate in Gaoxiong on
December 10, for the following reasons: 1) Formosa Magazine
offices had recently been broken into by club-wielding, presum
ably ultra-right wing KMT thugs in Taibei, Gaoxiong and
Pingdong. 2) Mid-December was the time of a fourth annual
KMT island-wide convention, and the Dang Wai hoped to
embarrass the KMT during the meeting. 3) The assassination of
Park in Korea gave the Dang Wai unrealistic hopes about the
prospects for overturning KMT dictatorial control of the
. actual incident was quite complicated, as it happened
10 GaoxlOng at several different times and places. On December
9, two Dang Wai members were arrested and beaten by police
for passing out leaflets announcing a public lecture to be de
livered on the 10th in honor of Human Rights Day.
December 10th was the day of violent confrontation be
tween the police and demonstrators. I was not there, so I can't
report on any of the details. The Dang Wai claims that, first, the
KMT prepared for the demonstration by surrounding the many
of people including spectators with police vans; then,
whIle not letting the people flee, they shot tear gas into the
crowd and beat people. Second, the KMT hired agitators
KMT agents dressed as demonstrators-to beat police. The
Dang Wai thus fell into a trap. On December 10 there were three
areas in Gaoxiong where the confrontation was very
It's again important to point this out: the Dang Wai publicly
proclaimed that the goals of the December 10 rally were to call
for human rights, an end to marshal law, free speech, and the
release of political prisoners, yet the KMT has widely publi
cized the incident as instigated by Taidu forces Icf. Sinorama,
Jan. 1980. p. 65: "All ofthese (above)facts combine to demon
strate that the Gaoxiong riot was a carefully planned conspiracy
of' 'Taiwan Independence" elements to subvert the government
from inside and outside the country" -DDJ. The reasons for
the KMT taking this line are, I think, quite obvious: 1) such a
demonstration could not have been mounted by Communists; 2)
internally, the KMT wanted to implicate Taidu in violent ac
tions, so they would lose popular support; 3) externally the
KMT knows that among overseas Chinese, in the United States
and even more in Hong Kong, support for Taidu is very small
in the United States the right are Ziyou Pai, the "Freedom
Faction," while the left is Tongyi Pai, the "Reunification
Faction. " This explains why Ming Pao daily, the prestigious
Hong Kong newspaper, published a pro-KMT account of the
At that time in Taiwan, the KMT instituted unusually strict
controls local press coverage of the incident. They insisted
that the Taldu elements had started the violence and thus won
popular support.
In your v!ew, what has been the chief impact ofnormaliza
tlon of relatIOns between the US and Chine on Taiwan's
That'.s an i?teresting question, since I believe US policy
Taiwan S10ce December 1978 has developed in two quite
dlstmct stages. I have no way of knowing for sure whether the
reports I have heard are true; let me say that they seem plausible,
and that the sources, while being Chinese, are nevertheless
usually pretty reliable.
It seems to me that, despite Carter's announcement of a
desire to normalize relations with China in December 1978 it
really wasn't until September 1979 that, in particular, the US
CO.ngress completely dropped its resistance to abandoning
Taiwan. F?r example, in May 1979 the US still supported
both Taiwan and. China in the Olympics,
dunng the meetmg of the InternationaL Olympic Committee.
There are many examples of this sort.
In September 1979 there was a dramatic change in US
policy toward Taiwan. I have heard-and, again, I
can t this-that during the summer of 1979, the US
CIA. that China had initiated efforts to improve
relatIOns WIth the Soviet Union. It was on the basis of this
information that Vice-President Mondale was sent to China in
with a $2 billion aid package in his pocket, to help
With the Chinese modernization effort.
Since that time relations between the PRC and US im
proved dramatically. The US-Taiwan air travel agreement was
repealed by the US; more recently, and more importantly, China
has been granted Most Favored Nation (MFN) status and
Taiwan's MFN status has been rescinded. This means thatthere
will no longer be an import tax on Chinese goods to the US so
their price in the US will be cut in half. Taiwan's of
MFN status had long been used by the US government to taunt
the Chinese Communists, and there's no question that it was
responsible in large part for Taiwan's rapid economic
Given the current international situation in Iran and Af
ghanistan, US and Chinese interests internationally are also
very close. U.S. Secretary of Defense Brown has talked openly
of a US-PRC alliance. It's clear that the Taiwan-US relationship
is at a deadend now.
The US's international position is so bad now, it couldn't
be expected to take notice of the recent arrests in Taiwan. The
result has been hatred by all the people, all Chinese, of the
KMT. KMT repression even makes it harder for the PRC in the
DD: What view does the average Taiwanese citizen have of his
future, under these conditions?
All Taiwanese, including the KMT, believe that reunifica
tion with the mainland is just a matter of a few years. The PRC
clearly wants all appearances of reunification-such as in the
Olympics, where all China is represented by one team-to be
achieved in 3 to 5 years.
This has polarized the Taiwanese people in terms of being
pro- or anti-KMT. Those who oppose the KMT have become
more hateful of them, and at the same time, more afraid to speak
DD: After all the years of anti-Communist propaganda, aren't
the people afraid of the Communist takeover? I would think the
people would rally to the KMT, and that there'd be a lot of
There won't be any bloodshed. For one thing, the average
folk expect the CCP will go after the KMT officials, not the
, 'little people." Even more than that, the people of Taiwan have
a very distorted image of the CCP, after 30 years' total control of
public opinion through the TV and press. It should be easy for
the CCP to take over, since their appearance and behavior will
be so different from what the masses on Taiwan expect. The
KMT party officials' solution to their personal dilemma is, of
course, to emigrate, mostly to the U.S.
DD: There's no debating the fact that multinational corpo
rations have played a central role in Taiwan's very successful
development. In your opinion, have multinationals been a good
thingfor Taiwan?
More than 50% of the Taiwanese economy is involved in
some form of import-export business, and 90% of these com
panies are middle to small-volume affairs. The perennial prob
lem with this arrang!'!ment has been that, whenever the interna
tional market is unstable, the small companies suffer or even go
bankrupt. Taiwan's economic base is very unstable. We always
say, ' 'When Japan or the United States sneezes, Taiwan gets a
The other side of it, of course, is that the multinationals
have helped to stabilize the KMT government, by contributing
to solving the unemployment problem and guaranteeing govern
ment revenues. In the 1970s the role of the multinationals
became the main issue among intellectuals, especially regarding
pollution problems, and the fact of cheap labor being exploited.
DD: My last question is, after the Gaoxiong riot arrests, what
will be the role of the left in Taiwan in the future?
The recent mass arrests, treason trials and murders of
opposition people's family members show that the current
White Terror is just beginning. Everyone is scared to deatl'! right
now. You know, all the magazines, like China Tide, Tocsin,
etc., can only be legally banned for one year, yet people are so
afraid that no one has dared to resume their publication. Their
families have all left their homes and are in hiding. There is
nothing that the group who has been arrested can do.
Recently Kang Ningxiang and Xu Xinliang have publicly
made statements in favor of increased freedom of contact with
mainland China, such as exchange of mail, travellers, etc. Since
the KMT is still maintaining an absolutely hard line on this
issue, non-KMT figures can sill make a contribution.
Actually, though, the problem of PRC-Taiwan contact is
already being resolved by using Hong Kong and the US as
intermediaries. Right after normalization, the right and left
factions in US Chinatowns immediately began to resolve their
differences and rally behind China. Taiwan and Mainland stu
dents also have many chances for contact at American uni
versities now.
As for Taiwan, the situation really hasn't changed much in
30 years. The opposition forces can influence public opinion but
they have no political power. As we say, it's the KMT who are
'* playing the chess pieces, not us.
The Industrial Work Force
of Young Women in Taiwan
by Linda Gail Arrigo*
Young women's participation in industry in Taiwan has
increased phenomenally since the mid-1960s due to the de
velopment of light industry for export, notably the textile and
electronics industries. The number of women employed as
workers in manufacturing increased 3.2 times in the decade
1965 to 1974, while the total population of women over 15 years
of age increased 37.5 percent. Table I shows the shift in em
ployment by age category, from 1965 to 1977. Most notably,
the percentage of employed young women occupied in manu
facturing has nearly tripled, and the average age of women in
agriculture has increased by almost six years. Of course as the
large cohorts born in the early 1950s reached their teens and
early twenties, the numbers of young women available for
employment swelled. This younger generation has received
education of at least primary school level, and a majority have
also completed also junior or senior high school; employment as
a salaried worker in industry or commerce after junior high
school graduation has become a predominant life pattern for
young women. In contrast, most women of the previous genera
tion received primary or less education, and now remain in farm
households, in family businesses, in petty own-account sales, or
do putting-out work such as knitting and finishing while they
care for their families. The modem occupations of unmarried
women are most succinctly shown in data from the island-wide
sample survey carried out by the Taiwan Provincial Family
Planning Institute in late 1971. Although the sample included
women aged 18 to 29, 90 percent of the unmarried women were
under 23 years old (Table 2).
* This paper was prepared in Chinese for the conference, .. Modem Man and His
Industrial Environment," sponsored by the U.S. Educational Foundation in the
Republic of China, May 13-14, 1978. at D o n g h ~ University. Taizhong. A
slightly popularized version appeared in the magazine Zhonge Yuegan
("Monthly Digest") July and August 1978 issues.
The rise of participation of young women in industry can
also be seen in the history of the three Export Processing Zones
in southern Taiwan. The earliest, the Gaoxiong EPZ, was
inaugurated in 1966. In mid-1977 enterprises in the three EPZ's
employed 67,000 direct labor workers, and 85 percent were
women. These 56,800 women were overwhelmingly young and
unmarried: age 14-15, 6.1%; age 16-19, 40.4%; age 20-24,
31. I %; age 25-29, 12.1%; age 30-39, 6.7%; age 40 and over,
3.6%. Of another 3,400 women employed as staff in the EPZ
companies, 49.5% were age 20-24 and 33.1%, 25-29.
Although it is true that the female industrial workforce is
overwhelmingly young and unmarried, especially in light in
dustry, in many factories there is a substantial percentage of
older, usually poorly educated women who seem to have re
joined the labor force after their children have reached school
age. Moreover, in the past five years or so there has been a small
but discernible trend towards employment of young married
women, which may be seen in the change of labor participation
rates (Table 3). This trend is, I believe, based firstly in the
maturation of the female work force; that is, some small number
of women, perhaps especially those with long experience and
seniority before marriage, do not resign after marriage and
childbirth; and secondly in the shortage of young unmarried
female workers (whom managers perceive as more nimble,
even if less stable), especially in areas with high labor demand.
For example, during the rapid expansion of the electronics
industry in 1972 and 1973, the shortage of unmarried workers
was compensated for by hiring married women, especially in
plants where the technical process of production requires
lengthy training and thus makes the higher turnover of unmar
ried women costly. Of course the cost of maternity benefits for
married women is otherwise a counterforce.
The development of light industry for export has neces
sitated massive migration of young women to urban and in
dustrialized suburban areas. Especially in the early stages,
Table 1
Employed Women by Age and Occupation Categories, Taiwan Area
1965 to 1977 (thousands)
April 1965
Occupation Age Total 15-19 20-24 25-29 30-39 40+ Average
Professional, Admini
strative, Clerical 11601.2%) 17 (6.3%) 37 (20.3%) 20 (15.6%) 25 (12.8%) 17 (6.6%) 28.9
Sales and Service 216 (20.9%) 60 (22.2%) 36 (19.8%) 23 (18.0%) 35 (17.9%) 62 (24.2%) 31.4
Labor, Transport 136 (13.2%) 64 (23.7%) 30 (16.5%) 12(9.4%) 18 (9.1%) 12 (4.7%) 24.4
Fishing, Mining 564 (54.7%) 129 (47.8%) 79 (43.4%) 73 (57.0%) 118 (60.2%) 165 (64.5%) 32.3
Total 1032 270 182 128 196 256 30.7
July 1971
Professional, Admini
strative, Clerical 193 (12.6%) 18(4.1%) 71 (25%) 29 (21.2%) <1.2 (12.2%) 33 (9.9%) 29.7
Sales and Service 307 (20.1%) 7407.1%) 47 (16.5%) 31 (22.6%) 80 (23.3%) 75 (22.4%) 31.4
Labor, Transport 411 (26.9%) 224 (51.9%) 88(31%) 19 (13.9%) 49 (14.3%) 31(9.3%) 23.3
Fishing, Mining 619 (40.4%) 116 (26.9%) 78 (27.5%) 58 (42.3%) 172 (50.2%) 195 (58.4%) 33.3
Total 1530 432 284 137 343 334 29.8
July 1977
Professional, Admini
strative, Clerical 372 (18.3%) 45 (9.7%) 131 (30.8%) 96 (37.4%) 63 (16.3%) 37 (7.4%) 27.9
Sales and Service 378 (16.6%) 54 (11.7%) 70 (16.4%) 58 (22.6%) 92 (23.8%) 104 (20.8%) 32.8
Labor, Transport 689 (33.9%) 305 (65.9%) 172 (40.4%) 51 (19.8%) 87 (22.6%) 74 (14.8%) 25.0
Fishing, Mining 593 (29.2%) 59 (12.7%) 53 (12.4%) 52 (20.2%) 144 (37.3%) 285 (57%) 38.0
Total 2032 463 426 257 386 500 30.8
Source: Quarterly Reports on the Labor Force. Taiwan Area.
1965-1968,. large plants were set up near the major cities. dents depend. At least some employers are aware of the greater
Taibei and' Gaoxiong, and tour buses were sent to gather stability and satisfaction of workers who live with their parents;
inexperienced young girls from remote villages; in the rush of and moreover the employer avoids the expense of donnitory
industrial expansion through the early 1970s, donnitory and construction, maintenance and subsidy.
other housing for them was often in short supply. At the same At the area of my study, an industrial suburb to the south of
time, the continued migration of whole families to industrial Taibei, the unmarried women studied may be divided into
ized areas and the expansion of factories farther outwards from several groups reflecting the recent development of the area.
the urban centers to tap new and cheaper labor markets probably Some are the daughters of families who are native to the area;
allowed a greater and greater proportion of young women to their homes and farmland may have been engulfed by the
remain home with their parents while working in modem in advance of four-story apartment buildings, and most family
dustry. Since the mid-1974 world recession, which hit Taiwan's heads are no longer farmers. Others migrated with their families
booming electronics assembly industry suddenly and severely, to this urbanizing area from other parts of Taiwan, especially
many of the huge worker donnitories planned and built in the northern counties, probably within the last fifteen years. A
early 1970s appear superfluous; today many stand only half further large group is registered as natives of mainland China,
occupied, This is probably beneficial, since women who live though mostly born in Taiwan, Of course this reflects the
with their parents generally feel less economic pressure on their massive and largely male migration of military and government
standard of living, and in my study reported greater life satis workers from the mainland in 1948-49. By ethnographic im
faction. Of course home-cooked food is much more appetizing pression, it is medium and lower status mainlander migrants,
than the factory and street canteens on which donnitory resi- often married to Taiwanese wives, whose daughters work in
factories. A large part of women living in dormitories, or
renting with friends have left their families far away, coming
from even Pingdong and Taidong. But perhaps half commute
back once a month or so to parents within the range of Danshui,
Jilong, Zhongli, and Xinzhu (two hours plus, one-way; since
Sunday is the only regular holiday, they must often make the
round trip in one day). About 20 percent of women in the
dormitory I studied have nearby (less than one hour's travel)
parental households. Often their schedules of work and night
study make it very difficult to return to homes off the main lines
of transportation; but also nearly 25 percent of a small sample of
dormitory residents stated they preferred to live away from
home, and in interviews they cite the freedom from familial
control of their expenditures and entertainments. There are
some significant differences among the above-sketched groups
(outlined in Table 4). For example, mainlander girls living at
home and dormitory residents have the highest average educa
tion, though their families also rate lowest on my economic
status indicators. Table 4 shows the proportions of these groups
found in a sample of electronics assemblers taken in a Xintian
factory in late 1975 (N =260).
These proportions mark a point in the historical development
of the area, as well as the development of industry in Taiwan and
its control of the labor force. Of course they apply to a factory
with set shifts, which is convenient for girls living at home
and/or attending school. For large factories in less urban indus
trial locations, where there is not such a dense mass of popula
tion nearby, a much larger portion of the workers live in com
pany dormitories. And where the process of production de
mands a swing shift, i.e. workers rotate through two or three
Table 2
Occupation and Education of Unmarried Women,
18-29 years, Sample Survey of Taiwan Area, late 1971
Manufacturing 25.4%
Service or Sales 15.5
Family Business 9.1
Clerical, Administrative, Professional 21.8
Fanning (94% on family fanns) 4.6
Attending School 10.6
Keeping House 8.3
Seeking Employment 3.2
Other 1.5
Total 100.0%
No formal education 3.7%
Primary school 45.6
Junior high school 10.8
Senior high school 24.6
College and university 15.2
Total 100.0%
Source: Taiwan Provincial Family Planning Institute, 1971 KA Survey of
Young Women, Codebook.
shifts, working days one week and nights the next, as in the
plastics and textiles industries, almost all the girl workers must
live in adjacent dormitories.
It would seem to be easy to make an accurate description of
this pattern of work and residence, if those in charge of the
census or household registration chose to do so.
A tentative summary, from interviewing around the island,
is that most dormitory residents live within two or three hours
travel time from their home, though often much less, and they
return home once or twice a month. Thus most migrant female
workers in Taibei country are from Taoyuan and Xinzhu coun
tries, and workers in the Gaoxiong Export Processing Zone are
predominantly from Gaoxiong and Pingdong counties, as would
be expected. But where there are superior urban educational
and career mobility opportunities, i.e. in Taibei, this relatively
local migration is overlaid with large numbers of long-distance
migrants who can only return to their families once or twice a
year, given their condition of work.
The system of recruitment from junior high schools con
tinues. Large companies lobby the principals of the junior high
schools around the island, who allow the personnel recruiters to
make their presentations, and who "recommend" their cur
rently graduating students. The busloads of graduates from
Suao (east coast) and Pingdong who are unloaded at dormitories
in Taibei and Taoyuan in late May often slip away to other jobs
or recreations by mid-summer, but some remain to take advan
tage of established work-study programs. Or individual junior
high school graduates with educational ambitions and good
grade records seek out companies, more commonly in northern
Taiwan, who cooperate with nearby private schools. Once set
tled, these students usually stick out the rigorous three or four
year stint of day work and night school. In the above-mentioned
sample, 32 percent of the women were presently attending
formal schooling, and 35 were learning career-oriented skills
such as sewing, accounting and foreign languages.
As foreign-invested and native export-oriented companies
have proliferated through the early 1970s, they seem to have
Table 3
Taiwan Area Female Labor Force
Participation Rate, 1964-1974
A verage Labor
Force, thousands Never Married Currently Married
1964-65 10 II 45.20 27.72
1966-67 1055 42.54(-5.9%) 24.45 (-11.8%)
1968-69 1320 56.91 (+33.8%) 29.33 (+20.0%)
1970-71 1445 57.94(+1.8%) 27.38 (-6.6%)
1972-73 1724 61.24(+5.7%) 32.53 (+ 18.8%)
1974 1813 61.01 (-0.4%) 34.38(+5.9%)
Table 4
Description ofSubsamples in a Study of Unmarried Working Women
Survey in Factory and Private Dormitory
in Taibei Industrial Suburb, late 1975
Electronics Assemblers
and Clerical
Residence Home Donnitory
Native Place Taipei non-Taipei China All ,v
Sample Number 45 77 47 27 32
Average Age 19.2 19.7 18.6 20.6 23.2
Business 20% 24% 15% 20% 16%
Laborer 27 39 26 10 3
Fanner 16 12 - 52 19
Public employee 13 8 30 7 22
Military - - 4 7 19
Mandarin 2% 9% 80% 13% 47%
Dialect Hakkien 96 82 20 74 50
Hakka 2 9 - 13 3
Primary 22% 23% 15% 10% -%
Educational Junior High 36 38 26 35 3
Level Senior High 42 38 57 52 38
- 1 2 3 60
Average Years Education 9.6 9.5 10.4 10.4 14.3
Expected Years Education 11.7 11.4 13.5 12.9 14.4
Presently in School 34% 29% 46% 36% 41%
Other Sewing 16% 27% 11% 7% 25%
Learning Abacus, Accounting 6 9 13 19 16
Activities Typing Foreign Language 7 7 - 13 34
Family Members at Home 7.9 6.9 6.6 5.7 4.6
N umber of Children 5.9 5.3 5.3 5.5 5.3

Sibling Rank 3.4 2.7 2.7 3.2 3.0
Family Economic Status* 94.6 92.0 90.0 85.0 126.5
Age Began Work 16.1 yrs. 16.0 16.4 17.4 18.5
Family Needs Girl's Earnings 56% 60% 58% 55% 26%
Family Wishes Delayed Marriage 18% 30% 5% 0% 19%
Monthly Salary** US$53.4O US$53.20 US$51.60 US$54.00 US$95.40
Family and
Disposition of salary
Personal Economy
Food Expense 28% 30% 27% 38% 31%
Remit to Parents 62 64 73 35 56
Other 10 6 0 27 13
(generally includes tuition)
Savings over Month's Salary 39% 29% 36% 36% 56%
Life Satisfaction +.19 +.27 .17 -.26 -.13
Round Trip Home to Work Travel 50 min. 42 min. 43 min. 19.3% 6.4o/c
home less than an hour from work
Prefer to Live Away from Home 2.3% 5.6% 8.3% 24.1% 6.5%
* Family Economic Status. Estimated yearly income in thousands, based on household goods for cases in which no response was given for family income.
** Exchange rate, NT$40 = US$I.OO, so 90.0 = about US $2,250.
initiated new locations further from the major urban centers to
get access to stable labor and/or slightly lower labor costs. By
now there is already intense competition for young women work
ers in the Taoyuan basin. During early 1974, at the height of
production, a foreign-invested electronics company in Taoyuan
county sent out 58 buses daily to remote villages within a radius
of one hour's drive in order to maintain its work force of 4,000.
Labor in Xinzhu is about NT$200 a month cheaper than in
Taibei. Settling near the residence of the labor also diminishes
the need for costly investment in dormitory facilities. Perhaps
the geographical expansion of industry has had the effect of
allowing an increase in the industrial participation of married
women, and a decrease in long-distance migration for unmar
ried women.
There is, I speculate, an aspect to the uncertainty of pro
duction for textiles and electronics companies since the world
economic crisis of mid-1974 that has not been previously recog
nized. At least for the electronics industry, there has been a
proliferation of small native companies, and these may survive
partly by subcontracting for the large foreign producers, who
can thus avoid expansion of their own facilities. Perhaps the
growth of small contractors and putting-out operations was the
main cause of an apparent labor shortage in 1975, rather than
any permanent return of girl workers to the agricultural sector,
or their miring in services of ill repute, as has been sometimes
suggested. And on visits to urban residential areas, military
dependents' villages, and rural townships one ubiquitously
finds women engaged in handicraft (crocheting, sewing soles on
plastic shoes) and small-scale mechanized (knitting sweaters,
winding coils) production activities for export, at a piece rate
paying somewhat less than factory work. It has been suggested
ethnographically (Hu Tai-Li, Academia Sinica) that such pro
duction has only reached the village level in the past five years
or so. For a complete picture of Taiwan's industrialization and
labor force, it would seem important that the relationship be
tween large scale export industry and small local industry be
examined in the future.
Life Patterns of Unmarried Working Women
Although the magnitude of women's participation in fac
tory production is by now so large as to constitute a major life
pattern for women before marriage, within this pattern there is
variation of several recognizable sorts, based on socio-eco
nomic status of the girl's natal family, her position among the
children of the family, the point in her life cycle, and other
personal qualities such as beauty. Moreover, workers in factory
production are not distinct from those who serve as shop clerks,
waitresses, or secretaries; girls often move from occupation to
occupation, depending on what opportunities are available at
the moment.
Especially for girls from farm and lower income urban
backgrounds, there is pressure to eam money to contribute to
family welfare. Of course this is systematically related to farm
income and national policies. To my experience in visiting the
rural homes of factory girls, they often report very tight family
finances in the late 1960s, and the necessity for them to leave
home at an early age to take up wage employment. Middle-age
farmers, their fathers, shake their heads that you can feed
yourself from farming, but it is useless to try to make money;
you are lucky not to take a loss in rice farming. Then they
recount happily the urban professions their grown sons are
employed in. Numerous farmhouses now sport newly-built
wings and modem tiled bathrooms, as well as appliances such as
color televisions and washing machines. It can be seen that for
the previous generation having many children paid off; but
except during holidays and family ceremonies the extra rooms
are generally empty. One often sees one room of the farmhouse
smartly decorated with modern plastic grillwork and wallpaper,
and the explanation is the recent marriage of a son, who of
course lives in the city with his wife and new baby. Are people
happy to move to the city? When asked about life in the country,
girl migrants will say, "The air is so clean, and it's so peaceful
and quiet at my home. I can have a whole wide room to myself
instead of just a narrow bunk in a crowded room. Life is freer in
the country-you can do what you want to do when you want.
People are more sincere." But they deny any intention of
moving back. "Farm work is too tiring. Living in the country is
monotonous. There is no chance for advancement."
Pressure to remit money home is very much patterned by
position in the family. Oldest daughters must shoulder much of
the responsibility for family welfare, both in rural and low
income urban homes, and their education is almost always
sacrificed in favor of brothers. But younger daughters often
receive assistance with tuition and living expensc;:s from older
sisters. In my sample, 24 percent of the subjects reported paying
tuition for a sibling. And it must be realized that the traditional
idea that girls don't need education has already changed greatly,
especially as parents perceive that their daughters can make
more money if educated.
When there are only two or three siblings, the burden is
often shifted from the eldest to the second child. In my sample of
working women, for both assembly workers and higher income
women, roughly 20 percent reported that their parents wished
them to postpone marriage in order to continue contributing to
the family. Pressure to postpone marriage seems to be positively
related to income of the daughter, and especially to her income
as a portion of total family income. The reported rate of post
ponement pressure is a fairly high rate, because a large part of
the sample is not yet at the customary age for marriage, or
somewhat beyond it, and these parts report very low pressure.
Of course those of low socio-economic standing report a much
higher rate. The pressure for postponement of marriage is pat
terned among the daughters similarly to the above economic
Net Migration for Urban, Sub-urban and Rural Areas of Taiwan, 1971, 1976
Net Migrants 1971 1976
Male Female Male Female
I. All Cities (59) +36,730 +39,409 +18,672 +30,418
a. 5 big cities (48) 31,274 31,941 -2,647 +5,767
b. II county cities 6,356 7,468 +21,319 +24,651
2. Sub-urban Townships (71) -3,241 ~ 2 , 7 3 3 -1,541 -1,646
3. Rural Township.s (231) -31,523 -40,012 -15,359 -22,231
a. 20 I plain townships -30,202 -37,471 -14,388 -20,721
b. 30 aboriginal townships -1,321 -2,541 -971 -1,510
Source: MOl, Taiwan Demographic Fact Book. 1971. pp. 617. 635; 1976, pp. 875, 893.
The accompanying real life history* illustrates some of
these statements, but provides more qualitative description. The
subject is a rather ordinary working girl in southern Taiwan.
From her elder sister to her younger sister, one can see the
historical change in employment opportunities and life styles.
Although she reports a fairly deprived childhood, the present
affluence of the household reflects the rising standard of living
in Taiwan due to industrial employment, and the success of the
family's early policy of sending a daughter to work early in
order to educate the sons.
* The following life history was written up by my co-investigator Chiang
Base Salary
Year NT$
1968 600
1972, beginning 800
1972, end 850
1973 1000
1974 1250
1975, beginning 1500
1975, end 1800
1976, beginning 2000
1976, end 2000
Sept. 1977 2150
Appendix: A Case Study
A Woman Factory Worker
This year Tsai Hwei-chen** is twenty-two years old. At
present she works at an asbestos weaving factory in Gao
xiong, and she has been there for four years already. Almost
all the girls working in this factory are from the same rice
farming village in Pingdong as Hwei-chen. Their working
hours rotate weekly through two shifts. They begin at seven,
** As Ms. Chen and Ms. Chiang hAve done, we use the
Wade-Giles romanization for the woman worker's name.
Table 6
Food and Trans
portation Allowance
10 daily, 260 monthly
Performance Bonus
Bonus Issued*
50 Monthly
50 Monthly
100 Monthly
200 50 weekly
200 Monthly
200 Monthly
400 200 semi-monthly
400 Monthly
600 300 semi-monthly
For tardiness or absence during the period, the bonus for that period is forfeited. Thus 400 NTG$ t{)r a month is a more stringent condition than 200 NT$
Case Study
work till noon, rest 50 minutes, and then work again till six
p.m., for the day shift. They can also work overtime for
another hour, and usually they all do; one must have a
special reason in order to be excused from the overtime
work. Hwei-chen said, "If you don't work overtime, the
other girls will laugh at you that you are lazy."
Because she has been working at the asbestos company
for four years, Hwei-chen's monthly base salary is NT$1900
(US$50.00), plusfood allowance ofNT$700, and a perform
ance bonus ofNT$300. Including the production bonus and
overtime, she can make over four thousand a month (about
US$IIO). Hwei-chen lives in the company dormitory, for
which there is only nominal cost. It is only on Sundays and
holidays that she can go back to her village; she goes home
about once a month.
Her village is populated entirely by Hakka people, who
migrated from South China over eight generations ago. Her
parents make their living by farming. Hwei-chen has two
elder brothers, one elder sister, one younger sister and two
younger brothers-there are seven children in all. Her elder
sister has already been married out and has two children.
Before she married she stayed at home and helped with the
farming; she never went to work in afactory. The two elder
brothers both graduatedfrom high-level vocational schools,
and are now both working at good jobs. Her younger sister is
eighteen years old this year. After graduating from junior
high school, Mei-chen went to join Hwei-chen in working at
the asbestos-weaving factory . Asfor the little brothers, one is
in junior high, the other still in primary school.
When a friend and I went to Hwei-chen's home to visit
and play, we could see her living room was well furnished
and attractively arranged. There was a set of carved-wood,
marble-seated armchairs and a sofa, a color television, a
refrigerator, a good quality stereo with two speakers hang
ing on the walls, and even a smallfishtank. I was surprised to
find such luxurious furnishings even out in the countryside. I
asked Hwei-chen whether these appliances had not come out
ofher earnings. Atfirst she didn't admit so, but later she said
that her family bought most of them from money she had
When Hwei-chen and her younger sister come back
from working at the factory on a Sunday or holiday, Hwei
chen stays home to help cook or to crochet. The armchair
decorations, a lace bedspread, and a wall hanging are all
her handiwork. Hwei-chen is rather quiet and doesn't like to
talk much; but her younger sister is more lively, and usually
goes out to play with friends.
The family does not have much land; it is farmed by the
father and mother. The little brothers, when at home, occa
sionally help a little. When we went to their house, the
mother was out busy drying the harvested rice, although it
was the Mid-Autumn Festival. Aside from the fields, part of
the family's land has been turned into a fish pond where
people can go sportjishing for a fee. The eldest sister usually
looks after the ponti; her husband is afisherman, and when
he goes out to sea he doesn't come backfor a long time. So
even though the eldest sister has been married out, she
usually visits her natal home daily. She lives in a house right
Hwei-chen says that when she was in primary school
she frequently helped with the work in the fields, and at that
time, because the family's economy was not good, she and
her elder sister had to help earn money by harvesting rice,
planting beans, and picking beans for others. After graduat
ing from primary school she went to work in a textile factory
in Taiwan, to earn money for her family while her two elder
brothers continued to study through junior high school and
advanced vocational school. After working at the Tainan
textile factory for four years, Hwei-chen moved to Gaoxiong,
closer to home, to work at the asbestos-weaving company.
Her younger sister did not come to work until after she
finished junior high school.
Hwei-chen said, "My little sister is really silly not to
continue studying. When I graduated from primary school
our family was poor. I wanted to study but they wouldn't let
me, because we were too poor. Now our family is well off
enough even to pay Mei-chen' s tuition, but she doesn't want
to study. I always urge herto study, but she just won't. She is
too fond ofplaying. Before, my elder sister and I even had to
do hard field labor for other peopLe; but now our littLe
brothers and sisters have it easy. "
Mei-chen, the younger sister, said, "After I graduated
from junior high, I went to work in the asbestos company
together with some classmates. I could see that other people
were making money very well, and I didn'tfeellike continu
ing my studies even though my family told me to. It wasn't till
I started working here that I found out how tiring it is. I
figured I wouLd just stay at this asbestos company two or
three months and then go someplace else. I would never have
thought I could stay here for two years; [' m surprised the
time could have passed already.
''The company has a two-shift system. We work at day
one week, at night the next. I don'tfeel well during the night
shift, so 1 keep getting thinner and thinner. We must wear
caps over our hair, cotton face masks, and uniforms. Your
whole body gets covered with asbestos fluff all the same.
There is no air conditioning, and in the summer you are
sweaty and sticky over your whole body. The company says
they can't put in air conditioning because the fiber is too
damp and the air conditioners would get clogged anyway.
There are a few vacuum tubes around the machines to re
move the fiber dust, but not enough. Working in a weaving
factory is really unpleasant. You wouldn't recognize me in
my work clothes.
HI'd like to learn singing; I like music. Then I could bea
singing star. But my family doesn't agree to that. Right now
I'd like to quit this company, but my mother says to stay
because the pay at this company is higher . .. The manager
here is a louse, just like an 'elder brother pig,' he's always
getting fresh with us girls . .. Nextyearfor sure I'm going to
get work in Taibei.' ,
Mei-chen goes out with boys often, more so than does
her sister, and she feels she is right to do so. Hwei-chen is not
so outgoing. She doesn't talk about meeting boyfriends or
getting married. But her friends say she already has a very
good boyfriend, presently in military service. It is also gener
ally said that a girl ofher age should be commencing to save
"* next to the fish pond, which is a twenty-minute walkfrom her up money for her trousseau.
parents' house and their fields.
The Effect of Industrial PoUcies on the
Lives of Working Women
The large number of girl workers who live at home with
their parents have a living environment that is physically more
comfortable and psychologically more familiar than a company
dormitory or a rented room shared with two or three friends.
Sometimes they complain about parents' restrictions on their
activities and express a desire for social experience and training
in independence. However, as can be seen in the item on general
life satisfaction in Table 4, the girl workers living with parents
in my sample averaged a score of +.22, and those in dormitories
- .26 on a scale of +1.00 to -1.00. A further interesting
observation is that for the groups living at home there seems to
be a strong inverse relationship between preference for living
away from home and the portion of a girl's income left after food
expenses and remittances to parents.
A common pattern of remittance for girls living at home is
that they bring their entire salary envelope home to their moth
ers, and then the mother gives them a fixed amount for the
they eat away from home, and sometimes more for recreation
and clothing. Then the parents also pay tuition for girls who are
in school. Many girls attending school eat every meal except
breakfast away from home on weekdays, and in this respect
their lives and expenditures are not that different from dormitory
residents attending school. For student-workers living a ways
out from the urbanized area, the day commonly begins with
catching the bus at 6:30 a.m. and ends with arrival home at
11:00 p.m. Currently, it is common for a girl living at home to
get about NT$IOOO a month back from her mother, about a third
of her salary; but she may also take a rice-box to work, for
lunch. Tuition is a formidable expense, NT$3000-4000 a
semester, and averaged over the year this is 20 percent of total
income, including bonuses. Students living in the dormitories
pay their own tuition; they rarely have any savings against an
emergency. Moreover, they must eat all their meals on a strictly
limited budget-for some, an endless menu of "sunny spring"
(plain) noodles and rice with watery vegetables. girl work
ers living at home and those in dormitories complain about their
limited social environment, but the latter in particular lack either
a place for meeting with friends and the opportunity for enlarg
ing informal contacts (which often lead to meeting prospective
mates, not just the pre-military age "little turnip-head" boy
workers in the factories) through nearby relatives. Most dormi
tories lack telephone in-call facilities, and a visitor may discover
it difficult to find a girl even after arriving at the obscure location
of a company dormitory .
Girl factory workers invariably try to find other employ
ment after they graduate from senior high school. This is surely
part of the reason that personnel managers assign lower-edu
cated applicants to the more rigorous assembly lines, and senior
high school graduates to more leisurely work, where they may
be less discontented. In numerous cases the senior high school
students are unsuccessful in finding other employment; there is
a general pessimism now about the probability of finding a good
clerical job. The usual explanation they give is that you have to
have" connections" in order to find one, and senior high school
education is so common now that it is of less significance than a
good connection. And girls from farm and low status families
rarely have those connections, they say.
Wages have been steadily rising in the last few years, but it
is difficult to tell what has been the real increase, discounting
inflation. Most working women complain about the low wages
and the difficulty of making ends meet as prices continue to rise
gradually, but they will also concede that their standard of living
has improved, compared with several years previous. However,
there are increasing problems with the wage package. The
history of the wage structure of one large manufacturer has been
quoted in a current magazine. Although a vivid example, it is
not unique; the system is common in electronics, textiles and
other factories.
As can be seen in Table 6, non-base wage additions to the
salary rise quickly after 1974, and in particular the performance
bonus becomes fully 20 percent ofthe total package. Moreover,
the conditions for which the performance bonus will be forfeited
include in many companies:
I. Tardiness for one to four minutes on three occasions
during the pay period.
2. Tardiness for five or more minutes, once.
3. Taking sick leave.
4. Taking leave for personal business or vacation.
5. Any absence except military reserve call-up and a few
such official reasons.
At such a company, then, a day's absence due to illness
would cost NT$310 (the daily wage is generally still paid for a
limited number of days of sick leave), and a few minutes
tardiness would cost NT$300, the equivalent of 3.6 days' base
wage. Considering that it is unavoidable that people get sick
sometimes, that there is often personal business which they
must take care of during working hours, and that the crowding
of the transportation system, especially during morning rush
hour, makes it impossible to figure an exact time ofarrival, what
is the effect of this wage policy? Do such regulations bear any
relation to the actual losses incurred in production due to ab
senteeism and tardiness? Due to such regulations, the realize
able wage of a girl worker is likely to be considerably lower than
the advertised wage package. If a new worker were to be sick
one day and late one morning during a period of three months
(which already requires considerable diligence, and customary
arrival at the factory location about 30 minutes before work
time), her average received wage would be 6.8 percent below
the advertised wage package.
But it is also generally known that a kindly section head
will sign for workers and allow them to keep the bonus, if they
are just occasionally tardy. By the experience of line leaders
who have been in particular companies for three years or more,
when the labor market is tight, and there are plentiful production
orders, management avoids docking anyone's pay, for fear the
worker will become dissatisfied and move elsewhere. Since the
turnover of girl workers usually runs 5-10 percent monthly
anyway, it is very easy to lose out in a competitive labor market.
But when business is slow, management docks pay on any
available occasion, and given the stringency of the regulations,
these occasions are plentiful. It would seem then that part of the
function of the performance bonus is to adjust expenditures on
labor inputs, in response to the international market. Moreover,
the performance bonus may also function informally to encour
age overtime service when requested, as used by individual sec
tion managers. According to some girl workers, if they refuse to
work overtime when requested, they must consider what will be
the attitude of their section chief the next time they request a
signature on their work cards.
Why have the performance bonus and other miscellaneous
payments ballooned in recent years? To quote a personnel
manager of a medium-size electronics parts producer, "Before
the mid-197 4 crash, we were at peak production. We could plan
production six months in advance. But now the orders of foreign
buyers are unsteady, and we are lucky to be able to plan
production six weeks in advance." In this particular com
pany, moreover, training a worker required nearly a month and
the dropout rate during training was high. It is understandable
that there would be a heavy reliance on overtime or work
cutbacks. In summary, it would seem the performance bonus is
a fluid means for adjusting labor costs under unstable produc
tion. Further, paddiqg the bonuses with wage increases instead
of the base salary allows the total salary to rise to a currently
competitive level, while relatively decreasing the amount paid
for overtime. Thus a company can, while keeping with the letter
of the labor law, pay even less hourly for overtime than for
regular working time. A girl worker of my acquaintance, one
with long seniority and higher base wage, makes NT$17 an hour
for actual work if she collects her performance bonus, but only
NT$15 an hour for overtime work. All the same, girl workers
usually consider it a privilege to be asked to work overtime, and
companies sometimes post "overtime opportunities" along
with their salary announcements in recruiting advertisements.
Does the high performance bonus motivate punctual ap
pearance for work and regular attendance? The following quotes
are fairly typical of those heard around working women, in
regards to their work.
"Every day I rush to work, walking. There are so many
cars and motorcycles and buses on the road, you can hardly
breathe. I'm sure some day I'm going to be worrying about
losing my performance bonus, trying to walk faster and faster,
and I'll get hit by a car." There does indeed seem to be a high
rate of traffic accidents, including serious ones, among the girls
I know.
"I got up to wait for the bus at 6:30 a.m. It is only a
30-minute ride, and I have to be to work at 7:45 a.m., but the
buses are always so crowded. Anyway, there were so many
students in front of me that I couldn't get on two buses that came
by. I knew I already missed my performance bonus by ten
minutes, so I just went home and wentto sleep. For 200 NT$, I
may as well enjoy a good sleep ...
"I went home to Shilin on Sunday. My family had a big
feast and sacrificed a pig for my father's 60th birthday. They
wanted me to stay until the ceremony was finished, late at night.
My cousin said he would take me into the city early the next
morning by motorcycle; it should only take me an hour to get to
work then. But my cousin procrastinated, and I knew I already
lost the bonus. Well, ifI lost it, it was too late. So I stayed home
another two days to make it worthwhile ...
"I've got to prepare my lessons, or I won't pass the
graduation examinations! I'm taking today off from work.
There goes NT$400! If I made that much every day I'd be rich.
Anyway, I don't work at a no-future job like that for the money.
I just want to finish my education, and then I'll quit, even if I
can't get a good job and just sit at home."
"I know I look terrible. I haven't been able to get better for
the last two weeks. I can't afford to take off and lose my bonus.
On Thursday I typed a production slip wrong. My boss got
angry. I told him, it's all I can physically do just to sit at my
desk, and I can hardly see the words on the page. But I finished
the stack of rush orders all the same. You'd think you sell your
life to the company. I'm going to quit as soon as I can find
another job. I do a clerk's work, but I get paid the same as an
assembly worker."
A summarizing speculation is that the performance bonus
is likely to be set highest in companies in which labor is a major
portion of production costs, the product is highly susceptible to
fluctuations in the international market, and the work requires
minimal training. Under such conditions, a high rate of labor
turnover may even be desirable from the aspect of financial
Most companies bemoan the high rate of turnover of young
women workers, but they do not seem to take full cognizance of
the effect of their management policies in creating company
hopping. Regulations about leaves of absence are a case in
point. Generally leaves are only allowed for one to three days at
a time, for documented family business such as weddings and
funerals. A longer leave, say for a week, is likely to require all
the paperwork of resigning with option to continue later, and
entail loss of the year-end bonus. Of course if the worker quits
altogether even with certainty she can return later, she loses her
hard-earned seniority, perhaps a difference of NT$300-400 a
month. She is not likely to return to the same company.
The rates of turnover for girl workers are seasonally pat
terned, with highest separation rates occurring in February or
January after the payment of the Chinese New Year's bonus,
and in June and September due to students leaving and entering
school. Personnel managers keep detailed charts of this seasonal
pattern of turnover. Turnover rates for girl workers rarely fall
below 5 percent and are often as high as 15 percent a month;
companies with brief training periods can tolerate the higher
turnover. For example, at a company with high turnover more
than 60 percent of new assemblers leave within the first three
months, but after that period the separation rate is low. As a
social environment then, the body of workers tends to be com
posed bimodally of a large portion of new workers and a large
portion who have settled in for a long stay. This is reflected in
the 1977 seniority distribution of direct labor employees at a
medium-size urban electronics factory with high turnover:
Length of Service Percent of Direct Labor
0-3 months 31.1
3-6 months 13.8
6 months-l year 14.7
1-2 years 24.1
2-3 years 4.9
3-4 years 11.3
Where the turnover is low and roommates in a company dormi
tory are familiar with each other, they cooperate better in main
taining the cleanliness of their environment, e.g. mopping the
floors daily, even when the company is remiss in maintaining
the facilities and fixing toilet fixtures. It is likely that they also
form deeper interpersonal ties.
For girls from households in south and east Taiwan the trip
home requires 6-8 or more hours, and transportation costs of
several days' wages. On holidays when public transportation is
strained beyond capacity, the trip may be even more time
consuming and uncomfortable. Merely coming and going may
take up two days. Considering also the rigor and monotony of
the work routine, It is no wonder that employees would some
times like a respite and some time to spend with relatives. A
portion of girl workers are little more than children, often
bewildered at the demands of being self-sufficient in an imper
sonal industrial environment. Since girl workers are generally
considered "unskilled labor," what problem is there in rotating
jobs such that the terms of leave and vacation can be amelio
rated? Does increased industrialization mean that human needs
of people, to be with their families and friends and do more than
work to barely live, shouild be denied? Or is the continual
recycling of a mobile labor force convenient to variability of
production, and minimizing seniority and unification of the
workers? Since the labor force as a whole has by now reached a
fairly high level of sophistication, the training of new entrants is
not a problem for most factories.
Some responses of girl workers are:
"When I first left home, I went to work at XX company in
Xinzhuang. I worked there for four months, and they liked my
work very well. I really liked my co-workers and boss there-l
wish I could have stayed with them. But after a while I got too
lonely for my mother and wanted to go home. I gave the company
the excuse that I was ill and had to rest, so they would let me quit.
I went home for a week and a half, but then my mother tried to set
up an old-fashioned introduction for me, the kind where you serve
tea and the boy's family looks you up and down. How awkward! I
left for Taibei again right away. I wish I could have gone back to
myoid job, but I was embarrassed. I didn't even dare tell my
friends I was back in Taibei ...
"I've been working here for five years, and I've reached
the top of seniority. In all this time I've never had a good
vacation. I've sold five years of my youth to the company. I
need a rest from this brain-numbing work for two or three
weeks. But there is no way I can leave without quitting or taking
a big loss. There are so many regulations you feel you are tied up
with ropes till you can't budge an inch. And I've given them five
years of my life! Those managers really don't have any
emotions. "
This sense of time passing with nothing to show for it is
prevalent among girls who have already finished senior high
schgol but failed to find better jobs, and among women who
have reached the age of 26 or so but have no marriage prospects.
Especially for the latter, the future in industrial employment is
inevitable and bleak. Their income is not sufficient for a com
fortable single life, and they are generally increasingly alienated
from their natal families as time passes.
From the life histories I have recorded, it is apparent that
industrial employment partially liberates young women from
paternalistic control and provides a refuge of sorts for those
women disadvantaged in the traditional society, e.g. adopted
daughters and divorced women. But the traditional society does
not provide a social role for the growing numbers of unmarried
women past customary marriage age, and it is likely they will
continue to pass their personal lives isolated and hidden in
dormitories and rented rooms, but continually subject to social
The narrow and unstable social environment of girl work
ers has been created by the demands of rapid free-enterprise
capitalist industrialization-involving massive migration, high
mobility, economic insecurity and often also disruption of fam
ily ties and degraded living environments. The problem of their
long-term adjustment and marriage opportunities has grown
from the sex imbalance in their work environments, the limited
economic capacity of large portions of young men in the em
ployment system, and the demographic "marriage squeeze" of
a growing population. This high mobility and fragmentation of
social ties also makes it very difficult to identify and rectify
social problems, social problems which are further easily obfus
cated by the facade of rising prosperity and material wealth.
Figuring out how to creatively deal with these social problems
will require a tremendous amount of inquiry and social concem*
Shi Ming-de (left)
Kang Ning-xiang (center)
Linda Arrigo (right)
Photo by D.W.S. Davison
Appendix: Lim Li-suat
Lim Li-suat, nickname A-suat
September 1975
Thursday night I went to one of the donnitory rooms where
I had recently met a young mainlander girl who could tell stories
about old mainlander soldiers for hours on end. I asked the girls
who were sitting around their reaction to last Saturday's talk on
marriage compatibility by a psychology professor. In the course
of discussion, one girl in a school unifonn gave an eloquent
account of what being independent means to her. "As for me,
my home is not far away, but I want to !ive here. Here we can be
free. When you live at home, you have to tum all your money
over to your parents. When you want to go out you have to ask
them. What you want to eat, what you want to do, is beyond
your own control. Here we come and go as we please, eat what
we want. Of course my freedom is limited by economic means,
but within these limits I feel I have control over and responsibil
ity for myself. ' ,
Mid-June 1977
In trying to find the story-telling mainlander girl again after
my long absence from Taiwan, I ran into A-suat again. Before I
knew her only by sight. Her articulateness had made an impres
sion on me, and now I detennined to know her better.
When I visit her at her room a week later, she was reading
classical Chinese from the book of classical Chinese texts with
phonetic guides and explanation prepared by the Guoyu Daily
newspaper, just for her own amusement. She said she likes to
read about ancient history, because one can learn about how
people behave and society operates. I asked if she had studied
modem Chinese history. She replied, "Yes, I have studied a
little. There isn't much of it in the textbooks ... once one of my
history teachers, a young teacher, said not be believe everything
we read in the books. He also told us not to quote him outside of
the classroom. Maybe after a long time we will be able to know
the real present day history. "
I asked her what she does besides go to work; does she still
go to night school? She had graduated from high school just last
month, but she was staying on at the electronics company
because about a year ago she got a promotion to the position of
personnel and materials management for one section. She must
manage about sixty people; some are retired military. Her sec
tion is more mechanized than most; the workers just watch the
machines, so there are no girl assembly workers in her area. Her
work is fairly leisurely, and she can take off over an hour for
lunch, or leave fol' home earlier, if her work is finished for the
1 day. But she has quite a few different tasks. Aside from keeping
track of attendance and advising the line leaders, she must
requisition the raw materials for the day and prepare reports on
the cost of the product, taking into account the cost of the raw
materials and the labor applied. This includes reporting on labor
As for what she does besides work, she said, "I have
joined the social service group that my teacher started. It just got
going afew months ago. We do some activities like going to see
children in hospitals and orphanages. I am also studying some
child psychology. You have to study it in order to do the services
right. Every Sunday afternoon we go to see the children in the
hospital. It is pretty hard to do. The family is usually around the
child, and is not very cooperative with our presence. We try to
bring things and think of games to play with the children. It is
very hard to make them smile; they are usually sullen. You feel
it isn't worthwhile to come. But every once in a while a child
will say something clever and be glad that you came, and then
you feel that you are learning and want to come again. Or we go
to orphanages. Sometimes the children there are very dirty and
disorganized. It depends on whether they have already taken a
bath when we come or not. If not, you have to keep them at
arm's length or you will get black splotches on your clothes.
They are very naughty, not obedient. When we bring candy or
toys they snatch them from us, and fight. For the older ones,
there isn't much hope of making them behave better, but for the
younger ones we hope that if we give them some love they will
learn. I like social work; we must be concerned about our
society. I'd like to be a teacher. "
Another girl came in to see Lim Li-suat. She had four a u t i
fully waterpainted covers with inscriptions like" A drop of love
. . ." on them to be used for name rosters for a blood donation
drive. A-suat discussed how to staple in the blank lined paperfor
name lists. After the other girl left I explained that I am interested
in society too, and am researching the role of women in in
dustrialized countries. I asked her to come to visit me in a few
July 28,1977
Lim Li-suat arrived at my house slightly early. She was
very well dressed, but said she just came back from work and
these were her regular clothes. She wore a tailored white skirt,
very high white heels (the expensive kind), and stockings that
were faintly white in sheen. She is not very tall, but well
proportioned, and with a slight swell of bosom also. She has
short hair, and a curly pennanent now. Two years ago when I
first met her she wore a neat khaki schoolgirl unifonn and a
"Dutch boy" student haircut. She has beautiful skin, and she
wears glasses most of the time. She often has a slightly stiff
"good-little-schoolgirl" expression. Her voice is shrill and a
little rasping, again suitable to the stereotype. Her responses are
quick and she speaks intelligently. It is easy to see why she was
promoted from the ranks of assembly worker to her present
I served some grapes. She asked about my husband and
child, which she heard about two years earlier. I liked her, and I
told her quite openly that I had freed myself from marriage and
was going about my own goals of social research, though
sometimes I missed my child. I am glad to be free. This seemed
to touch something in her, and suddenly she began to talk about
herself with intensity.
"I am free, too. I am free, like floating with no relatives or
friends to care about me and to depend on. These last few years I
keep feeling as though I am floating. I feel free and independent,
but it is also a little frightening. In this society, it is difficult to
explain yourself if you don't have relatives. Friends think you
should have relatives to care for you if you are a good person. "
, 'I am an adopted daughter. " A -suat said this starkly and
simply. I asked her to explain. "Now I don't have a happy
relationship with my adopted family, and I don't really belong
to my real parents. So I have nobody."
What does it mean if you are an adopted daughter? Why
should that matter?" I sat back with studied relaxation, as if I
didn't know anything about what it means to be an adopted
daughter in Taiwanese society, watched her intensely, and
waited patiently for her reply.
"People look down on you," she said with a pained
"Like who? Why should they look down on you?" I asked
"Like my eldest younger brother. He said to me, 'If you
have money you can make a dead man work for you.' It means
he looks down on me. He said that to me, even though I have
been his sister for so many years and took care of him when he
was little. " The lines of strain around her mouth deepened, and
she seemed to speak on very quickly so that she wouldn't cry. I
was perplexed by the Taiwanese idiom, and surprised that she
was suddenly exposing a deep part of her personal feelings. I
asked her what 'If you have money you can make a dead man
work for you' meant when he used it.
"It happened this last Chinese New Years. All children go
home to their parents at Chinese New Years. So do I. When I got
home my eldest younger brother was already back from the
military camp; he is in military service now. I always take care
of the house. I saw the wallpaper in the front room was discol
ored and peeling, so I measured the room, and gave my young
est little brother some money to buy wallpaper and some other
things for Chinese New Years, and sent him out to the store.
Then my eldest younger brother said to me, 'If you have money
you can make a dead man work for you.' It really hurt my
feelings, but since we never got along very well anyway, I
didn't make much of it and just went about my preparations and
the wallpapering.
"The next day I got up and took a walk around where I live,
which is in the suburbs but nearly outside the city. I saw a pretty
pagoda, and hiked to it and went in. I found it was a pagoda for
holding bone urns. It was a little scary, and I left right away. I
mentioned it when I went home, and my eldest younger brother
said I was bringing bad luck to the house, especially on the first
day of the New Year. But how was I to know it was a bone
tower? I left as soon as I found out, too. Huh! I still didn't think
he had anything in for me.
"In the afternoon I was watching television by myself, and
my brothers were playing poker. My littlest brother started
crying because the others owed him some poker chips and
wouldn't hand them over. He screamed and cried for a long
time, and finally I couldn't watch TV anymore, and I went over
and told my brothers to take care of him and give him the poker
chips. They didn't pay any attention to me, my eldest and
second younger brothers didn't even talk to me, and my littlest
brother kept screaming. I got angry and told them, 'If you don't
listen to your elder sister, you can give back the red envelopes!'
I didn't really want them back, I just wanted them to pay
attention to me. Maybe I shouldn't have said that, but they were
being really mean. My eldest younger brother said to me, 'Who
cares about your lousy money!' and a lot of other things too. My
mother came over and scolded me for making a fuss on the New
Year, and she told me to go back to watching TV. But my
mother picked up the package of cookies I was munching on
while watching TV and put it away. "
I could already see a few minutes earlier that A-suat's eyes
were getting overly shiny. Now a few drips welled over, stop
ped at the bottom edge of her glasses, and slowly continued to
mark wet streaks on her cheeks. I gave her a tissue, which she
took and used, and said something lightheartedly in the hope
that she wouldn't get too overcome, and then embarrassed, and
stop talking. But she was so immersed in the experience that she
continued immediately.
"I always cry when I think about it, even though it is
already half a year ago. My roommates think I am too sensitive
... But how could my mother treat me like that? I couldn't say
that I worked for her for so many years, took care of the children
and did the housework. I just started bawling and went to my
bed and wrapped myself in blankets and cried all night. My eyes
got swollen. Nobody came to call me or talk to me.
"The next morning as I was waking up I heard my father
and eldest younger brother talking in the front room, right near
to where I was sleeping. My eldest younger brother said he was
going back to his military camp early; he didn't want to stay at
home. Then he said to my father, 'She's got such a temper.
She's studied too much, she's gone crazy.' My brother said it
right where he knew I could hear. When I heard that, I was
beside myself, really anguished-I put myself through three
years of junior high school and three years of senior high school,
all working in the daytime and studying at hight! They didn't
help at all! How could I be crazy?!-I got angry and started
crying again, and I came out and asked my brother how he could
talk about me like that. He left. My father said some things to
calm me, then he repeated what my brother said, repeated it
directly to me, 'You've studied too much, you're mentally ill.' I
couldn't stand it any more. I threw my things together and I left.
It was only the third day of the New Year, and there wasn't any
electricity or hot water at the dormitory; everyone was away, but
I didn't think of that yet-I just left my home.
"I cried and walked, just wandering in the direction of the
bus stop. Tears were running down my face, but I stifled my
sobs. I don't know what people on the street thought; I didn't
pay any attention to them. I walked and cried. Then a young
man came up on a motorcycle and asked me the way to Chia
Chuang College. I pointed the way, but didn't talk to him. He
kept saying politely that he didn't know the way and would get
lost, so would I please get on the motorcycle and direct him? He
was very gentle and polite, and the college was just a few bus
stops in the direction I was going, so I got on, and kept crying to
myself. He didn't say anything, just drove on. After about ten
minutes I looked up and saw he wasn't going the way to Chia
Chuang College! I shouted and made him let me off. In another
few minutes he would have carried me far off the main road! He
left without saying anything. He looked like a polite young man;
how could I know he was a bad man? I felt worse and cried
"I took the bus all the way back to Xin Zhuang, near my
dormitory; I didn't have anything to do, so I went to a movie. It
was some American movie. The theatre was half empty. I cried
as I watched the movie, and still didn't have any place to go, so I
sat through it again. There was a man standing near me in the
aisle, and finally I noticed that he was wandering closer and
closer. I kept watching the movie. But then he came very close
! I
and faced me. He exposed his private parts to me! I couldn't
stand to look, I almost threw up! I was very frightened; I stood
up and left the theatre in a hUrry. How could two bad things like
that happen in one day? That never happened to me before.
"By then the sky was beginning to get dark. I wanted to go
back to the dormitory, but the electricity and hot water were
turned off during the vacation time. There were only a few
people left who couldn't go home because their homes were far
away in south Taiwan. I was afraid to be by myself in the dark;
and if I talked to the other girls they would want to know why I
came home already on the third day of the New Year, when my
home was just on the other side of the city. Finally I got on the
bus and went back to Da Ze [Ta Tze]. When I got home again it
was eight o'clock. I knocked on the door. My mother opened the
door, and just said, 'Oh, you're back;' she didn't ask where I
had been. My eldest younger brother was home too. We went to
bed. The next morning my eldest younger brother got ready to
go back to his military camp, and my mother got up early and
fixed a special breakfast for him and fussed over him. She didn't
prepare any for me. When I left she didn't say much to me, or
tell me to come back again soon. It was still a day before the end
of the New Years holiday, but I just lived in the dark dormi
tory. "
During most of her narration, A-suat's arms were tightly
flexed, and she ate only a few grapes. A tear trickled down now
and then. Now her arms and cheeks relaxed somewhat. I asked
her about her current relationship with her family.
"Ever since I was little the neighbors always knew and
remarked that I was an adopted daughter. I didn't know why it
mattered that I was an adopted daughter; I lived with my family
and did everything like their daughter. Why do they always have
to mark me a yang nu?
"After a few weeks I went back home again briefly. When
I was going to school I could only manage to save a few hundred
dollars and take it home every month or so, and buy some extra
things to eat at New Years or other festival times. But since I
graduated from high school last June and also got promoted, I
can afford to send more money now. I took some money to my
home, on Sunday. My mother wasn't there, but my father said
that my mother told him to tell me that the household didn't need
money any more. My father repeated what my mother said
without any particular expression. He just does what my mother
says. I really feel separated from my family; they don't care
about me. Since then, I send money home by post office money
order rather than by going myself, because they look down on
me and I am afraid they won't take it. Aren'tI part of the family?
"I wanted to give my third younger brother a thousand
dollars to buy a watch, just because he just got a very good grade
on his senior high school entrance examination and will get into
Chien Kuo High School. I felt pained that he might not take it;
but my second younger brother, I get along better with him-he
told me not to worry and took the money to give to our younger
brother. "
I asked Lim Li-suat if she ever helped pay for her younger
brothers' eduaction. They were allowed to go at least through
junior middle school before working, and A-suat recently paid
NT$lOOO a semester toward her third younger brother's tuition.
I asked her if there is some question of inheritance, that now her
family should want to ostracize her. She said they were poor and
don't have any land to split up any way. Moreover, when she
was twenty and she went to live in the dormitory and work, her
parents told her quite clearly not to expect any jia zhuang,
dowry and wedding furniture from them. She would have to
save up for her jia zhuang from her own earnings. I asked A-suat
how she felt about that. She said it was all right with her; she
didn't seem at all resentful about it. I queried heron the specifics
of her early life, and gradually the following outline came out.
"When I was two years old my real parents, who live in
San Zhung Bu, gave me to my adopted mother. At that time my
adopted mother didn't have any children. But later she had five
boys. When the last one was born, I was thirteen years old. At
first we lived on Yen Ping North Road. We were very poor. My
mother worked near Yuan Huan. When I wasn't in school, I had
to take care of the baby. When I was eight, during the summer, I
had to carry my little brother all the way down to Yuan Huan at
noon so my mother could nurse him. He was so heavy; I had to
walk almost an hour to get there. Later we moved to Da Ze.
"After I graduated from primary school, I couldn't go to
school any more. At that time there wasn't any generally avail
able middle school. At first I worked as an apprentice in a
garment assembly factory, in Xin Zhuang. I just made about two
hundred dollars a month, and I lived at home and brought the
money home to my parents. I worked for three years almost.
Since I was an apprentice, I never made any money to speak of,
but at least I could learn a little about making clothes. We were
very poor then too. When I was about eleven or twelve I
rcmember that my mother, my eldest younger brother and I had
to work every night until twelve, peeling water lotus seeds for a
restaurant. We worked like that for a long time, but we still
didn't have enough money to eat. We didn't have any vege
tables or meat to eat. We didn't even have enough rice, because
our credit at the rice shop was bad, and they wouldn't give us
any even if we didn't have enough to eat. Everyone in our family
had white tongues, white on the sides. I don't know why it was
like that, but when we didn't have enough to eat our tongues
were white. After my eldest younger brother went to work our
financial situation got a little better.
"My uncle ran a rice shop, and his son helped him. When
his son went to military service, my uncle hired me to help, so I
quit the garment factory. I worked in the rice shop nearly three
years; I still lived at home and gave my wages to my mother.
Then my cousin came back from military service.
"By then I was twenty. I wanted to go back to school, so I
found a job as an assembler at an electronics company, a job that
allowed me to go to school at night and also provided a dormit
ory and some tuition assistance. My family wasn't happy that I
wanted to go. Probably they would have been happier if I stayed
at home and earned money and kept doing the housework. My
father said, 'It is useless for girls to get education.' But I went
any way. When I needed money for my tuition I went to borrow
it from my real elder brother in San Zhung Bu. I have two real
elder brothers. But I was never close to my real family, because
since I was little I only went to see them once or twice a year.
When I go there they are very kind and polite to me, as though
r m a guest. When I borrow money from my real brother I pay it
back right away. "
"I didn't know you were already twenty-six. I thought that
since you just graduated from high school you must be about
twenty-two. Are you concerned about marriage?" I asked her.
"I am afraid to get married. My life is very free at present,
but of course everyone has to get married. Some people say that
old spinsters get to have bad tempers. I think maybe it is true. It
really troubles me. Recently I have been losing my temper for
no reason at all. Last week I was sitting watching television in
the central lounge near my dormitory room. A girl stepped on
my toe, but I didn't say anything, just glared at her once. Then
she bumped me, and said, 'Miss, don't you talk?' I don't know
why I got upset. I got up and ran to my room and lay down on my
bunk and cried in the blankets. My roommates must think I'm
overwrought to cry like that over nothing.
"But I am really afraid to get married. I just look at my
parents, and 1 think I never want to get married. They have been
fighting ever since they got married. When I was little, they said
they wanted to get divorced, but they they didn't get divorced
and they had so many babies. They don't even care what they
say in front of us children. My mother has the temper of a tiger,
she bosses my father around. At least recently he is developing a
little more self-respect. I would rather not get married than get
married and live like that." *
Moving is costly. For you. And occasionally for
us. H you change your address but do not tell us,
the Post Office throws away your copy of the
Bulletin. and then charges us!
Give us a break.. Tell us before you move.
Old Address
(city, state/province) (ZIP)
New Address
(city, state/province) (ZIP)
BCAS, P.O. BoxW, Charlemont, MA 01339 USA
Books to Review
The following review copies have arrived at the office of the
Bulletin. If you are interested in reading and reviewing one or
more of them, write to Bryant Avery, BeAS, P.O. Box W,
Charlemont, MA 01339. This is not, of course, an exhaustive
list ofthe available books in print-only a list ofbooks received.
We welcome reviews ofother worthy volumes.
Milton Osborne: Southeast Asia; An Introductory History (G. Allen & Unwin,
~ 1 9 7 9 ) .
Milton Osborne: Before Kampuchea; Preludes to Tragedy (G. Allen & Unwin,
Kampuchea Conference: Documents from the Kampuchea Conference, Stock
holm, November, 1979.
Joan McMichael (ed): Health in the Third World; Studies from VietTUlm (Not
tingham, 1976; to be reprinted by Carrier Pigeon, Boston).
Michael Stenson: Class, Race & Colonialism in West Malaysia (Univ. oft3ritish
Columbia Press, 1980).
R. K. Vasil: Ethnic Politics in Malaysia (Humanities Press, 1980).
John A. Lent (ed): Malaysian Studies; Present Knowledge and Research
(Northern Illinois Univ. occasional papers #7,1979).
Carl Trocki: Prince of Pirates (Malaya/Singapore) (Singapore Univ. & Ohio
Univ. Presses, 1979).
Asia Forum on Human Rights: The State ofHuman Rights in Malaysia (Hong
Kong, 1979).
Charles F. Keyes (ed): Ethnic Adaptation and Identity; The Karen on the Thai
Frontier with Burma (Philadelphia: I.S.H.I., 1979).
M. Nazif Mohib Shahrani: The Kirghiz and Walchi of Afghanistan (Seattle:
Univ. of Washington Press, 1979).
Wm. McCagg, Jr. and B. Silver (eds): Soviet Asian Ethnic Frontiers (Perga
mon, 1979).
Lawrence Lifschultz: Bangladesh: The Unfinished Revolution (London: Zed
Press, 1977, 1979).
Hartmann and Boyce: Needless Hunger; Voicesfrom a Bangladesh Village (San
Francisco: Inst. for Food and Development Policy, 1979).
Gail Omyedt: We Will Smash This Prison! Indian Women in Struggle (Zed,
Morton Klass: Caste: The Emergence of the South Asian Social System ([SH[,
Primila Lewis: Reason Wounded; An Experience of India's Emergency (G.
Allen & Unwin, 1980).
David E. Sopher (ed): An Exploration of India; Geographical Perspectives on
Society and Culture (Cornell Univ. Press, 1980).
R. R. Ramchandani: India and Africa (Humanities Press, 1980).
Georgie D. M. Hyde: Education in Modern Egypt; Ideals and Realities (Rout
ledge & Kegan Paul, 1978).
Alvin W. Gouldner: The Two Marxisms; Contradictions and Anomalies in the
Development ofTheory (Seabury, 1980).
Hok-Iam Chan: Li Chih (1527-1602) in Contemporary Chinese Historiography
(M. E. Sharpe, 1980).
Marc B lecher and G. White: M icropolitics in Contemporary China,' A Technical
Unit during and after the Cultural Revolution (M. E. Sharpe, 1980).
Henri Maspero: ChiTUl in Antiquity (Univ. of Massachusetts, 1979).
B. Michael Frolic: Mao's People; Sixteen Portraits of Life in Revolutionary
China (Harvard, 1980).
Yuan-tsung Chen: The Dragon's Vii/age; An Autobiographical Novel of
Revolutionary China (Pantheon, 1980).
Kazuo Sato (ed): Industry and Business in Japan (M. E. Sharpe, 1980).
Diane Tasca (ed): U.S.-Japanese Economic Relations (pergamon, 1980).
John Girting: America and the Third World; Revolution and Intervention (Rout
ledge & Kegan Paul, 1980).
Michael T. Skully (ed): A MultinatioTUlI Look at the Transnational Corporation
(Sydney, Australia: Dryden Press, 1978).
Jim Hyde: Australia; The Asia Connection (Kibble Books, 1978).
Malcolm Booker: Last Quarter (on Australia and Asia) (Melbourne Univ.
Press, 1978).
Donald M. T. Gibson (ed): Australia and America; Are We the Same? (Dryden.
Surplus Transfer and Economic
Development in Taiwan and Shanghai
by James E. Nickum
We learn by comparing. Yet reality present us with few
clear-cut comparisons. There are almost always mitigating fac
tors. Nowhere is this more evident than in the comparison of
economic and political systems. For example. the average citi
zen of the Soviet Union is poorer and politically more inhibited
than a counterpart in the United States; but is this the inevitable
consequence of Marxism( -Leninism). or is it because the Soviet
citizen lives in a system descended from czarist serfdom. always
relatively poor. always oppressed?
The situation is equally complex if we try to compare living
standards or development patterns in Taiwan with the remainder
of China. They are two vastly different entities. Taiwan is much
smaller and more compact, with fewer problems of coordination
and control. At the time of division three decades ago. it had a
better educated populace and a more advanced capital infra
structure, especially in agriculture. It had a well-articulated
market structure, both internally and externally, stimulated pur
posefully by the Japanese in fifty years of occupation.
Nonetheless, a comparison of some sort between the
market-oriented and directive plan-oriented portions of China
should yield important insights. My original interest in this topic
arose out of concern with the difference in living standards as a
possible stumbling block to reintegration. It seemed most ap
propriate to choose an advanced political-economic unit within
the PRC to match against Taiwan to see how living standards
differ in practice. Shanghai, as the most advanced, was a logical
The matchup turned out to be quite close in a number of
ways, allowing for more than a simple comparison of living
standards. I By observing two entities which share a number of
common "environmental" characteristics, it is possible to see
very clearly two quite different paths ofeconomic development.
Shanghai Municipality, established in its present bound
aries in 1958 (including ten rural xian), is smaller than Taiwan
in land area but similar in population. Both had 10 million
residents in 1958. The number has diverged since. as Taiwan's
has grown past 17 million. while Shanghai' s did not grow at all
until quite recently (now about 12.5 million). They have nearly
identical urban-rum! population mixes (about 50-50 in 1974).
Shanghai's economy is well-integrated and tied to exchange-
oriented production. Even thirty years ago it had a good eco
nomic base in place. centered around foreign trade and the
textile industry. As with Taiwan. Shanghai's development was
dominated by foreign presence. Both agricultures are based on
rice. and although Shanghai has only 40 percent of the culti
vated area of Taiwan. it has 70 percent of the irrigated acreage.
Also, quite importantly, the data are, by PRC standards, both
good and abundant for Shanghai.
Even with good units of comparison, I have acquired few
definitive insights on the problem of reintegration. Those that I
have are at the end of this piece. What I have discovered, and
what I wish to discuss here in the main, are two quite different
paths to economic development, determined by the larger eco
nomy within which each is imbedded.
I focus on the period from 1965 to 1974, as the data are
relatively abundant for these two years for Shanghai. In addi
tion, 1965 was the year when U.S. economic aid to Taiwan was
terminated; and after 1974, Shanghai became a focal point ofthe
succession struggle for two very abnormal years.
Ordinarily, it might be considered curious if not downright
improper to compare a municipality imbedded within a nation
state with an economic entity which deals with the rest of the
world as a de facto nation, for the latter usually encounters
greater "transactions costs" in making its external economic
exchanges. Except for labor market conditions, however, this
does not seem to be a serious problem in the present case. On the
one hand, Shanghai's lack of market barriers to external trade is
counterbalanced by the hindrances of self-intitiated exchange
imposed by the PRC's "planned" administrative, non-market
methods of economic coordination. On the other hand, despite
barriers, both systems maintain extensive external economic
relations. Taiwan has one of the highest foreign trade turnover
rates in the world, with exports and imports each roughly half its
gross national product. In some years (1972, 1973, 1976, 1977,
1978) its total foreign trade exceeded that of the entire PRe.
Over 80 percent of Shanghai's industrial products are sent
elsewhere, and the municipality has even exported whole facto
ries (including workers) to interior provinces.
Of course, the nature of external economic contact differs.
Separate exchange mechanisms are in operation, and each has a
Figure 1
Direction of Net Resource Transfer: Taiwan
Foreign Foreign Foreign


1:1 '"

Agriculture Industry Industry



Agriculture Agriculture
Japanese 1948-1970s 1970s
very different kind of reference group with which to market its
goods: Taiwan trades, as do most who trade, with the rich;
Shanghai sends much, probably most of its economic output to
the relatively poor. These interactions in tum are related to the
nature of the economic system.
How do the econGmic systems differ? Briefly, in Shanghai:
( l) The means of production and distribution, and the financial
system are owned either by the state or, especially in the coun
tryside, by a collective; (2) The principal resource allocation
mechanism, especially for the means of production, interme
diate goods, and goods for foreign trade, is the state plan. In the
PRC, this entails varying degrees of centralization, and a con
nection with the larger economy based upon directives and
national policy guidelines rather than upon market signals; and
(3) The state controls the labor market. Wage scales in state
industry (which predominates) are set by high levels of the state.
In addition, unlike in the Soviet Union, virtually all urban
workers are assigned jobs by the state, and mobility is severely
restricted unless authorized at a fairly high level.
In Taiwan: (1) Although the bulk of the means of produc
tion were originally in state hands, private ownership has been
encouraged and now predominates; (2) The market is the princi
pal means of allocating resources and determining what will be
produced, including especially the foreign market; and (3)
Wages tend to be set by the interplay of market forces as well.
The unions are placid and there is no explicit state regulation of
wages or restrictions on the movement of workers from job to
A multisectoral scheme highlights some of the most essen
tial characteristics of the economic development process (see
Figs. 1 and 2). For Taiwan, the principal sectors considered are
the agricultural, the industrial, and the foreign. For Shanghai,
"foreign" is replaced by the "rest of China." This does not
mean that the foreign sector is unimportant to Shanghai's eco
nomy; rather, it is subsumed under the same central control that
determines all exchanges outside the municipality.
I focus here on the general direction of net resource transfer
between the various sectors and, to a lesser degree, on the
accompanying claims of laborers to the fruits of their toil. In so
doing, I am assuming that, at least here, the real world is one in
"disequilibrium," with unrequited (and fairly obvious) re
source (or "surplus") transfers made onthe basis of essentially
politICal (including monopoly) decisions. Since the Marxist
deals more specifically with the issue of the genera
tion and transfer of "surplus value," I shall attempt (not al
together confidently) to make use of this Marxist as well as more
standard neoclassical economic concepts.
In twentieth century Taiwan, the foreign sector has tended
to predominate over the domestic economy. Under the Japanese
and the early Guomindang, exports were mostly agricultural,
especially rice and sugar. Agricultural output was expanded
through a nearly classical (Marx) mechanism of exploitation .
Peasant income from field crops was maintained at a static,
"subsistence" level, while the' surplus value generated by in
creased production was transferred elsewhere-under the
Japanese, mostly to Japan, and under the Guomindang, to the
industrial sector. Increases in output came. from improvements
in the means of production - through infrastructural investment
such as irrigation facilities, and through technological change
(especially in seeds).
This pattern was maintained through the early 1960s. In
struments such as taxes and the manipulation of the terms of
trade between industry and agriculture were used to transfer
resources out of the rural sector. Population growth, combined
with more intensive exploitation of the household, produced a
reserve army of low-paid agricultural labor, which in tum could
be used to keep industrial wages down. Agricultural productiv
ity increased through improvements in capital and technology.
Industry for its part specialized in labor-intensive produc
tion tied to the export market. According to Johnston and Kilby,
large-scale firms ' 'insured that every commercially feasible
possibility for substituting labor for capital was exploited,"
while small firms made use of finely differentiated market wage
Figure 2
Direction of Net Resource Transfer: Shanghai
Foreign Rest of China Rest of China
pre-1949 PRC
Note: The transfer of youth has not been entirely deleterious to the urban
industrial economy, although it may have contributed to a decline in the service
sector. Also, the transfer was often a mixed blessing to the "
rates to siphon low cost labor out of the household and, on a
part-time basis, out of agriculture. 2
Since the early 1960s, however, important structural shifts
have taken place. The most marked manifestation of this has
been a braking of agricultural growth. According to Y. T.
Wang, the Secretary-General of the Chinese-American Joint
Commission on Rural Reconstruction (JCRR) , "The annual
growth rate of agriculture averaged only 2.2% for 1969-72, the
period of the fifth Four-Year Economic Development Plan, and
it went down further to 1.2% for 1973-75, as compared with the
average of more than 5.0% for all previous Plan periods. "3 This
was following the promulgation in 1969 of a new agricultural
policy designed to counter the downturn in growth of the previ
ous few years.
In addition, recent agricultural growth has been unevenly
distributed. Production of the basic field crops, rice and sugar,
which originally fuelled Taiwan's agricultural growth, has stag
nated. Rice output peaked in 1968, rebounding only in 1976.
Sugar cane did not regain its 1965 level until 1977. The produc
tion of sweet potatoes, mainly used as hog feed, with the second
largest acreage, grew rapidly until 1967, but has fallen precipi
tously since. The overall multiple cropping index began to
decline in 1969, with notable decreases in the sown area of
winter crops such as sweet potatoes. 4
Farm output growth between 1965 and 1974 was due
almost entirely to increases in livestock and commercial crops
such as fruit, vegetables and mushrooms. Although land owner
ship is quite egalitarian by world standards, these cropping
shifts probably have not benefited the median rural family,
which has relied since 1970 on nonfarm receipts for any increase
in its income. This increase has been quite substantial, so that
the average "rural family" now receives less than half its
income from farm operations. Those families who do receive
relatively more from farming tend to have higher incomes, but
rural family incomes appear to have become slightly more
equal. The income disparity between rural and nonrural families
widened significantly, however. 5
Why has agricultural output stagnated? Yields are high,
but they are still below the most advanced world levels. There
has been some encroachment on agricultural land by the cities
and industry, but that does not explain the decline in the crop
ping ratio on the remaining farmland. Land holdings are small
and fragmented, often on slopeland, hindering certain kinds of
mechanization, but again this does not appear to be the principal
The most compelling reason for the decline appears to be
the very success of the previous policy of extraction, especially
of labor. Since about 1962, Taiwan's rate of labor absorption
out of agriculture has outpaced population growth. One conse
quence of this was that the real wage rate in industry, which had
been stable, began to increase. Another consequence was that
the countryside began to feel the effects of being stripped of its
labor, especially but not exclusively that of its youth. Farm
household population began to decline in absolute terms in
1969. Particularly marked was the decrease in the number of
part-owners and tenants, from 33 percent of the total farm
household in 1967 to 21 percent in 1974 and 17 percent in
Labor intput into rice production, in workdays, was less
in 1974 than it was in 1952.7 Matters were not helped by the
maintenance, until recently, of a policy of low producer prices
for farm products, especially rice, through government domi
nance over the supply of critical inputs, notably chemical
In the earlier Guomindang years, Taiwan's industry was
promoted not only by extraction from the countryside but also
by a transfer of funds from abroad in the form of overseas
Chinese remittances and U.S. aid. During the 1950s, over half
of Taiwan's net domestic investment was attributable to the
latter. Because of external financing, Taiwan was able to sup
port a rate of investment greater than domestic savings for 9 of
the 13 years between 1952 and 1964. After 1963, the rate of
domestic savings increased rapidly, rising within a decade from
20 percent of national income to 35 percent and taking up much
of the slack left by the end of U.S. aid. Private consumption,
although increasing in absolute terms, fell steadily from 68
percent of GNP in 1961 to 52 percent in 1973. Although much
diminished since 1965, external finance has continued to flow
into Taiwan on a net basis, much of it in the form of direct
private foreign investment. In recent years, Taiwan has also
contributed to the net flow of funds inward from abroad by
running balance of trade surpluses.
The results, in terms of industrial output, have been quite
impressive. The increase in industrial and mining production
value (IMPV) of 15.1 percent per annum between 1965 and
1974 is higher than the growth in gross value of industrial output
(GVIO) (a roughly comparable category) reported for any ofthe
29 PRC province-level administrative units except the smallest
three: Ningxia, Tibet, and Qinghai. (Hebei, Shandong, and
Beijing, all of comparable economic size to Taiwan, had annual
GVIO growth rates above 14 percent, however.)8
Turning to Shanghai (fig. 2), we see quite a different
picture. Shanghai before World War II was the principal
beneficiary of foreign investment and of much domestic Chin
ese investment funds as well. In addition, the rest of China
provided a reservoir of subsistence wage labor, especially wo
men and children, for modern industry. I} While the net impact of
the foreigner on China is highly controversial, scholars agree
that the effect on Shanghai's industrial output was, to put it
mildly, stimulating, both directly and in eliciting domestic
industrialization efforts. 10
The rural agricultural xian now incorporated in Shanghai
have been less important a source of surplus than was Taiwan's
farm sector. Although quite productive in land yields, the subur
ban areas have historically been unable to provide sufficient
foodstuffs for the city dwellers or cotton for the textile industry
which formed the original core of Shanghai's manufacturing. 11
With the establishment.of the PRC, Shanghai's economic
role has changed considerably. While still mandated to increase
its industrial and agriCUltural output, Shanghai has become a
major source of surplus " of various kinds for the remainder of
the PRC. Financial transfers are the most remarkable. From
1950 to 1976, funds provided the center by Shanghai accounted
for 41.9 percent of the national capital investment budget. Of
the total remitted by Shanghai, only 7.6 percent was returned in
the form of capital construction grants. 12 Indeed, data released
by the PRC indicate that the net outflow of funds has amounted
to approximately the entire value added in industrial production.
This is the sort of figure which makes one suspect the statisti
cian, but it does indicate an enormous unrequited outpouring of
funds, one which may have become a political pawn in the
struggles of 1974-1976, when Shanghai "failed" to meet its
revenue targets.
Another prominent characteristic of Shanghai's develop
ment, until 1979, was the apparent lack of population growth
since the establishment of the present municipality in 1958. This
is clearly a conscious policy, which is implemented through the
transfer of personnel out of Shanghai, especially middle school
graduates but also workers, who are often transferred to the
interior with their factories. Over 100 textile mills alone have
been shipped out. This outward transfer, especially of educated
youth and workers, has slowed down considerably, and possib
ly reversed since the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central
Committee of the Communist Party in late 1978.
Shanghai's urban labor force increased from 2.4 million in
1957 to 3.0 million in 1975, but all of this increase came from
greater participation, from 40.3 percent of total population in
1957 to 52.6 percent in 1975. Almost half of this increase was
due to the mobilization of housewives. 14
Yet despite the strict restraints of funds and labor and the
turmoil of the Cultural Revolution, Shanghai's GVIO increased
at a respectable 9.2 percent per annum between 1965 and 1974.
Increases in output were due to three factors: the transfer of
workers from nonindustrial production to industrial; a shift from
consumer goods (mainly textile) to capital intensive (especially
producer goods, e.g., petrochemical) industry; and the intro
duction of labor-saving technology into existing production
processes. The real wage rate appears to have changed little,
unlike what one would expect in a closed market system with a
similarly tight labor market. Thus the vast bulk of per worker
increases in output was converted into surplus value. Recently,
we have witnessed another phenomenon that, at least on the
surface, moves counter to a free market solution: an increase in
urban unemployment at the same time that wages have increased.
Like the rest of the PRC, Shanghai's rural. areas have
benefited from transfers from the municipality's urban indust
rial sector. The suburban counties are not an important source of
workers for urban industry, although rural industrialization has
become increasingly s;gnificant in recent years. The labor pow
er remaining in the countryside, already with a heavier propor
tion of young adults than in Taiwan, has been augmented with
the infusion of roughly 40 percent of Shanghai's one million
rusticated educated youths.
It is difficult to determine the net flow ofnon-labor surplus,
because basic field crops (grain and cotton) are subject to state
procurement pricing (and a nominal tax) held low to keep urban
wages down and urban-generated surplus high. On the other
hand, prices of inputs to the farm collective such as chemical
fertilizer are held low by the state, often leading to administra
tive allocation or distribution via waiting list.
The urban grain ration is used to control migration rather
than consumption, which appears to be more than adequate.
Indeed, increases in procurement prices of grain over the past
decade or two have not been offset by higher urban sales prices.
This has led to growing financial losses to the state on the
exchange. Even the recent (November 1979) increase in urban
food prices maintained grain prices at the same level.
It is therefore not clear that state price setting is more
exploitative to the farmer than in a market system, despite the
continual calls to shift the flow of funds towards agriculture by
lowering the "scissors" ratio of the prices of industrial inputs
purchased in the countryside to those of farm outputs. Indeed, it
would appear that farmer price incentives to produce field
crops, while not outstanding, have been better than in Taiwan,
at least until the recent price rises for grain in both systems.
Mechanization of Shaghai's extensive collective fields has
raised labor productivity. Ninety percent of the 360,000 hec
tares cultivated in 1976 were machine-plowed and 98 percent
were irrigated by electric pumps.IS This has permitted the
introduction of new crop strains and new cropping systems. The
acreage under triple cropping increased from 20 percent of the
..cultivated acreage in 1965 to 56 percent in 1974. Specific
acreage figures indicate an increase in the multiple cropping
index from roughly 180 to 216. Grain output increased by 51
percent in the same period. By 1974, Shanghai had a higher
grain yield per crop (3.7 T./ha. cf. 3.1 T./ha.) and per capita
(222 kg. cf. 160 kg.) than Taiwan, producing almost as much
total grain (2.4 million T. cf. 2.6 million T.) with only 40
percent of the latter's total cultivated acreage and three-quarters
of its sown acreage.
I have dwelt on agriculture in both systems, partly out of
my own interest in the area, but also because the differing nature
of surplus generation and transfer is particularly highlighted in
its effect on the two countrysides. In the case of Taiwan, what is
shown is the power of the previous extractive policy begun by
the Japanese and adapted by the Guomindang to the service of
the urban-industrial sector, which has only recently become
nearly self-sustaining. Agriculture, once dynamic, lagged, as
the old growth strategy became increasingly inadequate. In
comes in the countryside increased, though not as rapidly as in
the cities, principally from an increase in non-agricultural
Taiwan as a whole is a closed system with respect to its
labor supply, so the tightening of the labor market has led to
considerable increases in real wages and consumption levels.
These increases have continued to lag behind the pace of eco
nomic growth, causing the rate of savings and domestically
funded capital accumulation to continue to increase as a propor
tion of GNP.
Shaghai's rural sector, like the rest of the PRC, has be
nefited from the restraints on and transfers from the urban
industrial sector. Clearly, despite what available data indicate,
Shanghai invests a great deal-heavy industry does not come
cheaply-but the net flow of funds and labor has definitely been
outward, under the direction of a superordinate central plan.
Viewed as a closed system, Shanghai's labor market is even
tighter than that of Taiwan, yet real wages do not appear to have
increased at all during a period of nearly 10 percent industrial
growth per annum. Obviously this did not sit well with a
sizeable portion of the labor force, as evidenced by recent press
disclosures and wage increases. It is also clear, however, that
despite restrictions on the movement oflabor, Shanghai's work
ers operate within the larger context of the PRC. This wider,
poorer reference group helps restrain wages (especially when
there is some possibility of being transferred into that group).
This restraint appears to have generated a surplus large enough
not only to support Shanghai's industrial and agricultural growth
but to lay some golden eggs for the rest of the country.
Does the comparison between Taiwan and Shanghai over
the period of the late 1960s and early 1970s contain any lessons
for a possible future reintegration of Taiwan and mainland
China? Perhaps, but co simple ones. Primajacie, it would seem
that if a "Shanghai solution" were to be adopted for Taiwan,
the island's urban population would be held in check, wages
would increase slowly if at all and much of the urban-generated
surplus would be siphoned off to benefit relatively backward
areas. The industrial growth rate might slow down a bit but
would not grind to a halt, as new technology would continue to
be introduced. The decline in agricultural output might be held
in check through a continuation of the reversal of urban-rural
surplus transfer and greater fixity of the rural labor force in the
villages. Rural industry and commerce, already well developed,
would certainly translate easily into a Shanghai-style rural de
velopment strategy, though a change to collective ownership
might be required for consistency.
Yet it would be facile in the extreme to assume that such a
Shanghai solution would actually be adopted. First of all, the
conditions of reintegration, if it ever happens, might preclude
the imposition of the controls and changes in ownership struc
ture necessary to make the Shanghai way work. Secondly, the
Cultural Revolution Shanghai model may not serve well for
Taiwan in a united front "four modernizations" future - the
aspects of the principal contradiction have changed consider
ably. Finally, the current trend of events points to a convergence
of paths. Indeed, Shanghai, as other urban areas, seems to be
moving toward a "Taiwan solution" with more mobility of
labor, the development of an urban collective (Le., quasi
family) economy to abosrb surplus labor and boost the service
trades, the solicitation of funds from abroad and the establish
ment of direct trade relations with foreigners, and increasing
wages in the state industrial enterprises. There are, as always,
mitigating factors, but the analogy is intriguing. *
I. A detailed analysis of comparative living standards may be found in
James E. Nickum and David C. Schak, "Living Standards and Economic
Development in Shanghai and Taiwan," China Quarterly, No. 77, March
1979, pp. 25-49. Our conclusions were much as to be expected: although she or
he produces much less per capita, the average Taiwan resident, urban or rural,
has in most respects a higher material standard of living, although perhaps a less
secure and more male-oriented one.
2. Bruce F. Johnston and Peter Kilby, Agriculture and Structural Trans
formation (New York.: Oxford University Press, 1975), p. 315. See also Teng
hui Lee, Intersectoral Capital Flows in the Economic Development ofTaiwan.
1895-1960 (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1971), for a detailed
economic analysis of the transfer of surplus out of agriCUlture.
3. Y.T. Wang, "Chinese-American Joint Commission on Rural Recon
struction (JCRR): Its Organisation, Policies and Objectives, and Contributions
to the Agricultural Development of Taiwan," Agricultural Administration, 4,
July 1977, p. 187.
4. Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting & Statistics, Executive
Yuan, The Republic of China, Statistical Yearbook of the Republic of China
1977 [SY 1977], pp. 86 and 99; and Yu-kang Mao, "Effects of Changes in
Agricultural Structure on Farm Management in Taiwan," Industry of Free
China, 42, December 1975, p. 31.
5. Marcia L. Ong, Dale W. Adams and I. J. Singh, "Voluntary Rural
Savings Capacities in Taiwan 1960 to 1970," Economics and Sociology Occa
sional Paper No. 175, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociol
ogy, The Ohio State University, 8 February 1974, p. 10; and Wan-yong Kuo,
"Income Distribution by Size in Taiwan Area - Changes and Causes,"
Indu,stry o/Free China, 45, January 1978, pp. 21, 35.
6. SY 1977, p. 96. Many of these may have become full owners. (lowe
this insight to William Lavely.) The decline in part-owners and tenants reflects
the tendency to equalization among those remaining in the countryside.
With martial law spreading through capitalist Asia, where can the people find a voice?
One answer is - by turning their traditional forms ofdromo to the purpose 0/ struggle.
A Special Issue crl-AMPO: Japan-Asia Quarterly Review
CONTEN TS ________
The Stones of Satire: The Asian
Political Theaters Tsuno KaitBro
Chinog; Kim ChiHa
The People" Worship Rev. J. Elias
The Philippines
UglyJASEAN ArreYB Mitrasu
The House of Man Chinen SlJishin
AMPO:Japan-AJ;a Quarterly RtNiew
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1905 Christ Chu rch
7, Kuo-ting Li, "Strategy for Rice Production in Taiwan," Industry 0/
Free China, 47, February 1977, p. 6.
8. R. M. Field, N. R. Lardy and J. P. Emerson, Provincial Industrial
Output in the People's Republic pfChina: /949-75, Foreign Economic Report
No. 12 (Washington, D. c.: U. S. Dept. of Commerce, September 1976), pp.
10-11; and Nickum and Schak, p. 27.
9, Victor D. Lippii, "The Development of Underdevelopment in
China," Modern China, 4. July 1978, pp. 251-327,
10. E. g., Lippit; and Robert F. Dernberger, "The Role of the Foreigner in
China's Economic Development," in Dwight H. Perkins, ed., China's Modern
Economy in Historical Perspective (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1975),
pp. 19-47.
II. Rhoads Murphey, Shanghai: Key to Modern China (Cambridge: Har
vard University Press, 1953), pp. 146-153,171-172.
12. Peng Chong, "Chongfen Iiyong he jiji fazhan Shanghai gongye, wei
shixian sige xiandaihua gengda gongxian, " Renmin Ribao, 8 December 1977,
p. I.
13. Nicholas R. Lardy, "Centralization and Decentralization in China's
Fiscal Management," China Quarterly, No. 61, March 1975, pp. 55-59; and
Nickum and Schak, p. 30.
14. Paul E. Ivory and William R. Lavely, "Rustication, Demographic
Change, and Development in Shanghai," Asian Survey, 17, March 1977, pp.
15. "Shanghai," handout, n.d., n.p., pp. 4-5. Obtained in the PRC in
1978 by Harry Harding,
I 43
The Political and Organizational Implications
of China's New Economic Policies, 1976-1979
by Stephen Andors*
Whatever one may say about China under Mao, it would be
terribly difficult to argue that economic development had failed
to take place. Of course, measured against some abstract stan
dard of perfection, one could make a case for a disappointing or
relatively imbalanced performance. China's performance did
not live up to the more extravagant claims made by the Chinese
media and by some foreigners. But viewed in historical context,
and by comparison with any other third world economy, China
under Mao could take credit for successfully overcoming some
of the most crucial obstacles to development and for distributing
its benefits in an unprecedentedly egalitarian way. Progress was
at times uneven, but the unevenness should be attributed more to
the serious objective constraints and bottlenecks caused by
underdevelopment and poverty, and by the periodic political
upheavals which paradoxically were necessary to achieve the
very successes. Allegedly "fatal" irrationalities inherent in the
Maoist approach to organization and planning or to economic
development in general cannot, therefore, be held responsible
for non-existent failure, though as will be seen, this approach
was not without serious problems. Indeed, if the years during
and after the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1975 are taken as
a period of' 'Maoist" approaches to economic development and
organization, the following figures tell the story. I
From 1965 to 1973, the overall index of ihdustrial output
grew by about 10 or II percent per year, and agriculture by
about 2lh percent per year. Total steel production more than
doubled, while steel production in the modern sector alone
increased overall by slightly under 75 percent. From 1973 to
1976, a combination of political conflict, enormously disruptive
earthquakes in the heart of the industrialized northern part of the
country, and structural imbalances reduced the rate of growth in
the gross value of industrial output to an annual average ofabout
5.5 percent. From 1965 to 1975, the output of machine tools
doubled, and quality was considered by foreign customers as
comparable to more expensive European and Soviet models,
* This essay will appear soon in Organizational Behavior and Chinese Society,
edited by Sydney Greenblatt. Amy Auerbacher Wilson and Dick Wilson. to be
published by Praeger.
though technologically slightly behind the most advanced auto
mated, computer-controlled U.S. equipment. Nevertheless, in
this crucial sector the Chinese were progressing rapidly and
were self-reliant, able to build by themselves an enormous
variety of machine tools, some of which were computer
Led by the political and economic performance of the
model Daqing Oil Fields, production of oil boomed after 1962,
and from 1965 to 1975 increased by 700 percent. Refining
capacity continued to expand at as rapid a pace through the
Cultural Revolution and up to 1970, after which it simply could
not keep pace with continued rapid growth in crude output. The
chemical industry also grew rapidly in this period, depending
most significantly on the import of huge chemical fertilizer,
petrochemical, and fiber resin plants to give China some of the
most advanced technology in the world in this sector. Small
scale local fertilizer plants were important in increasing the
availability of this vital input to agriCUlture.
In addition to selective but significant imports of advanced
technology and to quantitative growth in output at increasingly
higher technological and qualitative levels in key domestic
industries, China's industrial workforce had also developed
significantly. In 1965 the industrial workforce was estimated at
14 million people, and by 1976 this had grown to 26 million.
Over 250,000 workers were enrolled in high level technical
training courses by June 1976 and 900,000 workers and students
were in technical secondary schools. There were 44 million
students in junior and senior middle schools, indicating that by
the end of the 1970s it was probable that almost every regular
worker entering the industrial workforce would have the equiva
lent of a high school diploma. Labor produc.tivity increases at
the 1966-76 period were probably lower than the growth in
output or the technical improvement of the workforce would
suggest, though it is difficult to determine whether this was
caused by macro- or micro-economic factors in the Chinese
economy; i.e., by underutilization of capacity caused by struc
tural imbalance, or by poor work performance caused by incen
tive or morale factors.
The number of college and post-graduate scientists and
engineers also increased from 1966 to 1975, though not as
rapidly as the increase in the number of technically educated
workers. In 1966, the number of engineers and technicians was
roughly 600,000, and by 1975 had grown to 725,000. In the
same period, the number of scientists went from 460,000 to
575,000. It is difficult to discuss the quality of these individuals,
though it seems clear that many were not highly trained and that
basic theoretical research was held back and de-emphasized in
favor of applied research and priorities directly related to more
immediate development projects. NevertheJess, technological
innovation had proceeded, and China succeeded in building
earth satellites, guided missiles and atomic weapons while mak
ing some significant breakthroughs in the fields of medicine,
agricultural and seed technology and in applied mechanics. Of
course, this does not mean that the whole Chinese economy, or
even most of it, was operating on a highly sophisticated tech
nological base.
Aside from quantitative data indicating continued growth
and technical transfprmation of the Chinese economy and work
force, China's basic development strategy had succeeded in
avoiding many of the pitfalls that have plagued other developing
countries. The state was able to command the economic surplus
and invest it in areas that contributed to relatively balanced
growth and was able to avoid the often counteracting pull of an
imperfect market. Regional, local and individual inequality as
well as the urban-rural gap were kept within tolerable limits.
The consumption habits of a privileged urban-based bureauc
racy or technocratic elite tied to the world market by employ
ment and lifestyle did not channel scarce capital and knowledge
either to the industrialized capitalist countries via imports of
consumer luxuries or into non-productive domestic speculation
and consumption. Unlike almost every other developing coun
try tied to the international marketplace, China had successfully
avoided the demoralizing and dehumanizing extremes of wealth
for the few and poverty for the many. In spite of continued
political upheavals, public morality and social cohesion ap
peared high, at least on the surface.
In the rural areas, collective institutions had been created
which laid the foundation for a sound rural market which could
absorb new capital inputs without blindly displacing large num
bers of poor peasants from the land or causing uncontrollable
rural flight to the urban areas. Rural industrialization and ag
ricultural diversification based on these collective units had
raised rural income and living standards in most places, while
grain output kept pace with or was slightly higher than popula
tion growth. Pricing policy for rural produce and industrial
manufactures also helped prevent the gap between rural and
urban China from either forcing people off the land or pushing
them into the cities where they would tax employment and
welfare capacities. The policy of sending urban-educated youth
to the countryside supported this attempt to deal with the classic
"scissors" problem in economic development. Youth with
new knowledge and often, if not always, with high enthusiasm,
was given a challenging role to play in national, especially rural,
development. The cultural and economic gap between rural and
urban life was still enormous, and many youth were not happy
with the role, but the gap was less of a socio-economic problem
than in almost any other developing country.
This development strategy, however, while overcoming
some of the contemporary economic problems of third world
development, created many of its own unique political and
organizational problems. It was, after all, accompanied by
unprecedented experimentation in industry, in organizing rela
tionships between industry and agriCUlture, and in economic
planning and coordination. This experimentation aimed at grad
ually narrowing the gap not only between rural and urban areas,
industry and agriculture, but among workers, technicians and
bureaucrats in the hope of moving China closer to the Marxist
goal of a classless society. 2
A brief summary of the ideological rationale behind-and
the actual practice of-the management and planning system
that had evolved in China up until Mao's death will perhaps be
useful in setting what is to follow in context. By the early
1960s, Mao Zedong had begun to see socialism and capitalism
as alternative development paths. While he was quite unoriginal
in his belief that capitalism was ultimately an irrational, in
human, and exploitative stage of development, and would ulti
mately be replaced by a more advanced and superior socialism,
he labored under no illusion that only socialism provided an
effective way to modernize poor and technologically backward
societies, at least in the contemporary period of world history.
Hence he felt that non-capitalist societies could embark either
on a "capitalist road" or a "socialist road" to modernization.
Mao believed not only that the socialist road was qualitatively
different, but also that it was faster and more efficient, and that
for third world economies in general, and for China specifically,
In contrast to Mao's insistence on a complex "trialec
tic" among production forces, production relations,
and consciousness as the basic dynamic of change
within the socialist stage, the Chinese now argued that
the development of productive forces alone was the
primary determinant of production relations and
changes in consciousness.
it was more certain to lead to independent development. He was
convinced, however, that there was a choice. Hence his concept
of" 2 line. struggle" dominated Chinese politics until his death.
Mao also argued that socialism involved much more than a
difference with capitalist forms of ownership of the means of
production. Such a difference, while absolutely basic to the
distinction between the two systems, was, in his view, no
guarantee of successfully attaining the socialist goal of com
munism. Hence, he argued that in a society in which own
ership had already been transformed, the political struggle
shifted to other aspects of the relations of production and to the
ideological superstructure; i.e., to the division of labor at all
levels of the social order, to questions of distribution, and to
matters of value, or "culture." He clearly felt that these ques
tions of production relations and ideology in all their aspects
were crucial. In his own Marxist, dialectical fashion, Mao
treated production relations not as part of the .. superstructure:'
reflecting a "base" of "productive forces." Instead Mao saw
both production relations and productive forces as shaping one
another, and both as part of the real, material basis of human
experience which shaped and could be shaped by consciousness
as history evolved. Both the capitalist countries and the Soviet
Union served as examples for Mao that very sophisticated and
complex productive forces could exist alongside non-socialist
production relations and ideology.
These two premises of Mao's thinking led him most em
phatically to reject any notion of economic or technological
determinism. While he fully supported economic development
and technical transformation as necessary for socialism, he also
felt that without the struggle to revolutionize production rela
tions, not only would the transformation of the economy and
technology ultimately be limited by the forms these had as
sumed under capitalism, but also the attempt to revolutionize
consciousness or ideology would not succeed. Thus, he feared,
if China focused only on "modemization" as defined by the
West and the USSR, without simultaneously attempting "revo
lutionization" of production relations and consciousness, then
the material conditions, life experiences, and ideologicalleftov
ers of the old society would provide an important basis for old
classes to continue or new ones to emerge to dominate the
workers and peasants of China. 3
Neither Mao nor anyone else in China ever had a com
prehensive vision or articulated theory of how altemative pro
duction relations might lead to or support alternative productive
forces, or conversely, how alternative technologies might lead
to or support new production relations-how the interaction of
these factors over time might shape or be shaped by changes in
consciousness. Nor did anyone describe the interests and ac
tivities of new classes that would emerge in the course of this
complex "trialectic" which Mao foresaw.4 Nevertheless, Mao's
instincts as a Chinese and a Marxist led him to hypothesize that
without a system of private property, but with strong cultural
influences from the old society, people with knowledge (in
tellectuals) and people with position (bureaucrats), could use
these vitally important factors as the basis for class rule. In
typically bold but pragmatic fashion, and true to his own episte
mology, he used all of his influence to initiate and' support
practical attempts to "revolutionize" the institutions, activities,
and values associated with these two groups. Yet he was also
determined to support rapid economic strengthening and tech
nological transformation which alone could serve as the basis
for protecting China in a dangerous and uncertain world.
To combine revolution and modernization in this Maoist
sense was not an easy task; some would say it was an impossible
one. Not only did the attempt pose practical or operational
problems as any new or experimental system would, but it also
generated powerful political conflict within China. Neverthe
less, by the time of Mao's death, a general approach could be
Foreign policy was based on a "minimalist" military pos
ture. Basically, this meant the development of nuclear weapons
as a deterrent against the other nuclear powers and the creation
of a massive land army, simply but effectively armed to fight
inside or close to China's borders. The civilian economy would
receive the bulk of scarce investment in capital and technology
outside the nuclear weapons program. Politically and diplomati
cally, foreign policy was based on the "united front" concept,
wherein one main enemy would be labelled and isolated and any
and all attempts made to find allies against it. Foreign economic
policy was also based on a minimalist posture. Involvement
with the world market was to be significant but carefully selec
tive and limited. It would be shaped by the strength of the
domestic economy and by a concern with the social and psycho
logical impact that foreign technology-especially foreign or
ganizational methods-would have on domestic social relations.
It was, however, in the organization, management, and
planning of domestic production that the Maoist approach could
be most clearly seen. On a micro-level, within production units,
this approach attempted to progressively reduce the political,
and functional differences among workers,' technicians, and
administrators. Factories were transformed from simple units of
production to units of production, education, and organizational
experimentation. Workers were to gain knowledge through for
mal training and factory-run schools as well as through partici
pation in management and technical experiments and innova
tion, thereby enabling them to gain the qualifications to be
competent administrators and technicians. Administrators and
technicians were to take part in manual labor to learn the skills
necessary for them to become competent workers and to gain the
emotional and psychological insight into the workers' situation
in production which would enable them to be more effective
managers and leaders. Incentives in factories stressed collective
welfare. They were based on strong feelings of group solidarity
and cooperation and were to reinforce these same feelings.
Mao's view was that managerial efficiency based on sound
technical and human knowledge as well as workers' efforts (and
hence output and efficiency in the whole factory) would be
maximized under such organizational conditions.
In-factory approaches to organization and management
were backed up in tum by two major factors in the wider society.
One was the educational system which put manual labor or
practical experience in a central position. The purpose of this
was not only to provide a sound understanding of production
realities, but to imbue students with a respect for manual work.
The second factor was a system of decentralized planning
and despecialized or self-reliant economic coordination. Eco
nomically integrated and self-reliant localities were the nucleus
of this system. These localities could be defined at different
levels of the political-administrative organization of society.
The level of integration and self-reliance would depend on
socially or politically defined standards, on the natural re
sources available, the degree of development, and the proximity
of related production facilities. Within these discoverable and
more or less objective constraints, local political authorities
would have a good deal of responsibility for organizing and
coordinating macro economic activity. That included the rela
tionships between industry and agriculture as well as those
within each sector. The national economy was to be linked
together into a cohesive unit by powerful centrally mandated
targets which took precedence over any local projects but which
were to remain as few in number as possible.
This way of organizing the economy on both micro- and
macro- levels was to ensure maximum planning flexibility through
decentralization. It aimed to reduce the objective need for local
units having to supply higher units with the enormous amount of
data that would be required in a more centrally coordinated
system. Hence, it was designed to reduce the administrative
burden on factory level leaders, allowing them more time to
participate in production alongside workers, and facilitating
participation in management by workers. In a similar way, it
sought to reduce the need for a large planning bureaucracy
whose routines would be organizationally required and defined
by the complex administrative responsibilities of coordinating a
centrally planned economy.5 The crucial people were the local
political authorities who constantly sought for "model" units
and communicated information up and down in the system.
Related and indeed vital to these concepts of micro- and
macro-organization was a notion of economic calculation which
emphasized long-term economic benefit and social and political
goals more than it did short-term profit. Local calculations of
efficiency and cost existed alongside those made at regional or
national levels, and allowed for the development of local re
sources that would otherwise be overlooked. The development
of local community-oriented economic units or areas based on
the principles of self-reliance and decentralization often required
the development of raw materials or the training of labor that
would be considered marginal or inefficient when looked at
from a purely national or regional level. Thus the very notion of
"economic rationality" in Maoist organizational practice could
emphasize maximum efficiency of all available resources within
one locality or enterprise, yet violate the macro notion of max
imum allocational efficiency as defined by planners surveying a
much larger, even national scene. * Yet the Maoist notion did
not exclude key projects that would be based on such a macro
The Post-Mao Critique of Economic Policies Under
The campaigns against the "gang of four" that were
launched in October 1976 immediately after their arrest and
which continued non-stop up to mid-1979
included a com
prehensive and fundamental critique of almost all these policies
associated with Mao's influence, as well as some which were
Basic ownership principles and rhetorical goals which
stressed both rapid development and social well-being, and the
policy to have industry contribute strongly and directly to the
development of agriculture were retained. But the post-Mao
leadership began to question almost every principle of organiza
tion and many of the specific developmental priorities of the
previous years.
First of all, previous policies were attacked for retarding
the speed at which the Chinese economy could develop. It was
argued that the incentive system at all levels and in all sectors of
the economy was inefficient and not conducive to the most rapid
growth in output and productivity.
The planning system under Mao relied on each enterprise
fulfilling centrally mandated targets, and gave to each enterprise
a fixed "fund" which was related to its total wage bill. Once the
enterprise had fulfilled its targets and met its responsibility to
the state it could use that fund for bonuses, for collective
welfare, labor insurance, technological innovation, or for local
economic projects that did not interfere with the central plans
and which,ideally, could be used to get help from or to help
other enterprises to fulfill their plans. While the banks were to
supervise its use, this enterprise fund was not part of the incen
tive structure of the industrial system. The fund was not related
to profits, to savings in costs, or to level of output. Therefore
* A similar at work in the investment decisions of global or transna
tional corporations which have national economic consequences on develop
ment and employment.
whatever else it may have done to foster planning flexibility,
collective solidarity and a sense of security for workers, it could
in no way be used by planners to spur economic growth, to
monitor and supervise operational efficiency, or to induce work
ers or managers to work harder. 8
On another level in the industrial sector, previous incentive
policy had relied mainly on a system of wage payments by
grade, with additional income gained through bonuses given to
collective units and then distributed to individual workers. Of
ten, these bonuses were "built in" to the monthly salary and
became an expected part of an individual's pay, especially for
senior workers. Other workers were rewarded with recognition.
The work unit, usually the work team (the smallest collective in
the enterprise) discussed and voted on the distribution of bonus
es to individuals. Bonus payments and piece wages to individu
als outside of this context were decidedly out of favor, and
though they persisted in some enterprises, there was strong
pressure to eliminate them altogether. Moreover, the criteria for
deciding on the distribution of bonuses to individuals within the
teams were not related solely to the quantity and quality of
output or the narrow job performance efficiency of each indi
vidual worker but to a whole host of other factors which in
cluded the worker's relationship with his fellow workers, his
At least for the present, the Maoist legacy has been
reduced to its most general and uncontroversial prin
ciples, those which emphasized the importance of
rapid economic development, technological modern
ization, rising living standards for the masses and
efficient organization. Many controversial political
concepts dealing with Mao's unique and revolutionary
approach to economics and organization have been
i2nored or rejected.
willingness to help, his ideological or political activism, and so
This system, it was argued after Mao's death, was not
conducive to maximizing output and efficiency. It neither pun
ished those who slacked off at work nor benefited those whose
output and efficiency were high. It often rewarded those whose
productive output both quantitatively and qualitatively was low
er than others because they were simply popular or politically in
favor with the leadership. This, in tum, created bad feeling and
lowered morale among those who worked hard or who, for
whatever reason, were not popUlar. It led to even lower output
among hard workers in an increasingly vicious and downward
trending spiral. 9
A similar criticism was made of incentive policies in the
rural areas. Peasants on production teams were asked to partici
pate in projects at brigade or commune levels whose benefits did
not immediately reflect back on the individual peasant, or the
team which provided labor. Individuals on production teams
were not rewarded in direct proportion to their own production
output and, therefore, it was argued that there was no incentive
for individuals to produce more than what was minimally re
quired by state production quotas. Moreover, the policy of
discouraging rural trade-fairs and substituting for these the
planned supply and distribution networks of supply and market
ing co-ops unnecessarily cut down on the amount of consumer
goods available to the peasantry. Peasant willingness to work
was undermined because rural living standards did not rise as
rapidly as they otherwise might have. 10
Aside from the question of incentives, there were numer
ous other allegations:
- the slow pace of technological transformation negatively
affected output and productivity increases;
- irrational assignments were made in handing out jobs to and
organizing the daily routines of technically qualified people; II
-educational policies denigrated expertise and the importance
of training technicians; 12
-a national dedication to economic and social autarky cut
China off from technical know ledge gained in other countries; 13
-the incentives which prompted intellectuals to study hard and
make discoveries were either inadequate or counter-productive. 14
The result was a slowdown in the absolute rate at which tech
nological transformation took place. China became relatively
even further behind in the attempt to catch up and surpass the
rapid technological advance of the developed countries.
Another series of post-Mao criticisms focused on the al
leged inefficiencies of planning and methods of economic coor
dination under Mao. The planning system had relied heavily on
the activities of local political authorities in coordinating eco
nomic activities and had used the administrative boundaries of
local government as basic units for integrating supply relation
ships among enterprises and between sectors in a locality. This
system, it was argued, led to irrational supply and transport
linkages, which violated both geographic realities and "eco
nomic laws" of scarcity. It aggravated allocational inefficien
cies, increased opportunity costs, and made decisions concerning
industrial location and development economically irrational. 15
It was further alleged that local political authorities under
this system often engaged in economic projects outside the
confines of the plan, and that this practice led to shortages,
bottlenecks and difficulty in meeting higher-level planned prior
Politically, local authorities used their control over the
economy and their influence with local enterprises to build up
independent, personal power bases by bribing enterprise leaders
or pressuring them for' 'trial products" which they then used for
themselves, for their friends and family or for building up local
political loyalties. All these activities undermined planning,
central priorities, and political unity. 17 The policy of "despe
cialization," i.e. of having "small and all-purpose" enterprises
which engaged in processing as well as manufacturing or which
provided their own spare parts, led to duplication of effort,
inefficient use of resources, and lack of interchangeability of
parts and commodities because of lack of standardization. This
policy made it difficult to ship machinery and other items from
one locality to another and increased manufacturing costs un
necessarily. 18
An Analysis of the Allegations
In short, many fundamental aspects of Maoist economic
policy and of associated organizational structures came under
sustained criticism. Assuming the validity of the criticisms as
accurate descriptions of abuse and irrationality, it nevertheless
could be argued that almost all of these problems were correct
able within the Maoist framework and those that were not
correctable weren't meant to be. For example, standardization
and efficiency could both be improved without destroying the
organizing principle of despecialization; economic coordination
could be made more honest, rational and efficient without
destroying the importance of the local political unit in planning;
technical labor power could be assigned more rationally; care
could be taken to see that people who did not work were denied
treatment equal to those who did. What was not possible within
the Maoist framework was the transformation of the notion of
economic calculation into an economistic one of maximizing
profit on the basis of allocational efficiency alone. A change of
the latter kind would undermine the whole basis of planning and
organization. While solutions to economic problems would
neither be easy within the Maoist framework, nor would they
approximate a model of perfect short-term allocational effi
ciency, nevertheless promising, long-term solutions were theo
retically conceivable.
Ultimately the reasons behind the criticisms and the rejec
tion of Maoist policies lay more in politics than in economics.
Three political factors stand out. 19 The first was the nature of the
united front which provided the political foundation for the
Communist Party's victory over the Guomindang in 1949, and
was the political and social basis for the establishment of the
new state in the same year. The second was the set of different
interests, states of consciousness, and socio-economicHealities
experienced by the Chinese working class. The third factor was
the nature of political institutions and practices that had evolved
with Chinese socialism while Mao lived.
The Chinese Revolution had always been a powerful nation
alist movement, all sectors of which had been anxious to "mod
ernize" China. The revolution was part of an historical epoch in
which an expanding western capitalism dominated the globe
and competitive capitalist nation states threatened to tear China
apart. From the beginning, Chinese nationalism assumed two
forms, at times linked closely to each other, at other times
locked in political combat. One form attempted to strengthen
China and protect Chinese civilization, its unique values, in
stitutions, and human relationships, from the depradations and
threat of aggressive and competitive capitalist civilization. The
other was more similar to the Japanese, attempting to learn the
secrets of Western power in order to strengthen the Chinese state
against the particular states which were the agents of capital
ism's global hegemony. As a Marxist highly critical of capital
ism and as a Chinese nationalist, Mao was heir to both of these
forms. Indeed he embodied them in his life and philosophy.
By 1949, these two forms of nationalism were joined
together in a broad united front in Chinese society. For the
powerful political coalition which swept to victory under the
military hegemony of the Chinese Communist Party, the ac
cepted goal was "revolution" and "modernization." The unit
ed front, containing many western-trained intellectuals and im
patient nationalists (scientists, engineers, technicians, profes
sionals of all kinds), was crucial in gaining the urban support
and intellectual resources so important in the first stages of
reconstruction and industrialization.
By definition, however, the united front was filled with
conflicting interests even as it provided a solid political base for
the new state. The state was made up of the Communist Party,
the Army, and the government's administrative apparatus. The
Party served as the key link between state and society. It was the
decision-making core of both the Anny and the Government, as
well as a key communications network in society. The Party was
to assure that the new society moved toward modernization as
well as socialist relations of production (revolution). The united
front was viewed as a transition; it was neither to remain the
societal basis of state power, nor the manpower base ofthe effort
to modernize the Chinese economy. In Mao's tenninology, the
state was to move from" a people's democratic dictatorship" to
a "dictatorship of the proletariat" as the class structure and
composition of the society changed, and as production and
education proceeded.
To continue the revolution, therefore, required an attack on
the united front, or at least on those elements within it that
to countenance further social change even though they
might be more than anxious to build the power of the Chinese
state. Mao's tactics varied from frontal attacks like the "three
anti" and "five-anti" campaigns and the "anti-rightist" cam
paign of 1957 to "protracted war" best exemplified in the
notion of thought refonn and ideological transfonnation. In
contrast to Stalin's almost exclusive focus on strengthening the
Party and the State as personal political weapons, Mao turned to
the masses in order to create a sea of revolutionary conscious
ness and institutions in society that would overwhelm and si
lence, if not drown, his opponents.
Mao was, however, very much a revolutionary in the
Leninist tradition. He never gave up his advocacy of a strong
Communist Party. His concerns as a revolutionary led him to
stress the importance of production relations and consciousness
in shaping the activity of members ofthe Party too, for only then
could they help shape and reinforce revolutionary processes
going on in the society. Nevertheless, there were others in this
powerful political machine far less concerned with revolution
ary. far more taken with Marxism as an ideology
of mdustnalizatlOn and economic growth. In these priorities,
they had potential allies of all kinds in the united front.
While they were alive, Mao and Zhou Enlai were able to
command political coalitions made up of nationalists and revo
lutionary nationalists evep while they continued the protracted
war in society and against the old united front. Both revolution
and modernization proceeded, and as indicated above, the Chi
nese development experience was an impressive one. Under
1 Mao's leadership and with Zhou's cooperation, the Party and
state became powerful agents of social change and economic
! development.
But many of the revolutionary changes in society were
controversial. They attacked the prerogatives and values of
privileged but they also challenged the mitionalist con
sensus of the united front by challenging the priorities of
impatient Chinese nationalists in the government, the Party and
the Anny. Most of these changes entailed a willingness to create
talent and to develop resources where talent and resources were
marginal at best. Many of the experiments in industrial manage
ment and planning took time to perfect, and often this entailed
i some trade-off with the most rapid achievement of industrial
and technical growth even in those sectors which would make
the most direct contribution to the power of the Chinese state.
.. i
The Battle Joined
The controversies, muted at first, gradually emerged more
openly in the mid-1960s debates over "revolutionization" and
"modernization." With the Cultural Revolution, the battle was
joined but the dynamics of that upheaval left the controversies
unresolved. Controversy continued up to the post-Mao "gang
of four" purges. Given the nature of China's political institu
tions and organizations, it was prolonged and intensified, ulti
mately tipping the political balance in favor of the. right.
The intensifying conflict between impatient nationalists
modernize the economy and technology and taking
theIr tactIcal cues from the already modem nations) and the
revolutionary nationalists (anxious to transfonn the nation's
economy and to build socialist institutions that differed from the
already modem capitalist and Soviet models) was the essence of
the left-right split in Chinese politics. But it was only one of the
many conflicts of interest that had emerged with stunning clarity
and complexity by the time of the Cultural Revolution. Conflict
existed not only at the highest levels of state power over China's
future, but at every level of social and economic organization.
China's political institutions and practices, the interac
between grass roots and elite conflict was a cycle of escala
Conflicts at the grass roots were not reflected in representa
tional institutions at higher levels, but most certainly provided
opportunities for political factions within the higher level lead
ership to build support. Such support, based on alliances and
coalitions, temporarily disintegrated once the political battle at
the top was settled. Sometimes this worked in the opposite way.
Grass roots institutions became the arena for elite conflict,
thereby undermining previously existing unanimity or consen
sus at the grass roots. Only when higher level authorities had
agreed on a course of action could conflict be mitigated, and
then either by enforced or negotiated compromises under higher
level guidance, or by having the higher level destroy the organi
zational structures at the grass roots which supported the dissi
dents or which were the arena for paralyzing argument. Both the
maintenance and the establishment of basic level stability was
heavily dependent on higher level unity:
Institutional developments that had emerged in organizing
the economy also played a part in shaping political conflict. As
part of the attempt to alter production relations, production
centers were linked closely to the system ofeducation in order to
provide both a technical and a moral source of learning for
students and workers. The planning system had depended heav
ily on the role of local political authorities. Many links had been
established among enterprises, schools and political authorities
(both Party and government) at various levels. The planning
system had also put a great deal of emphasis on the role of model
units. Models provided standards of political virtue, economic
efficiency, and administrative discipline. They demanded and
reinforced personal rather than mechanical communication and
contact among enterprises, political decision-makers and the
intellectuals. To become a model was itself a major incentive.
Political leaders could build and maintain their reputations link
ing themselves to nationally publicized and recognized models.
The mass media became an important outlet for such pub
licity. Here small groups as well as extended political "fami
lies" made up of university-based intellectuals, factory leaders,
and key political figures competed to convey their images of the
good society. By the nature of the linkages thus formed, plitical
groups contained at least one articulate polemicist or group of
writers able to present the group's case in questions of political
principle. The cohesive organizing force within these groups
was personal relationships and common experiences fostered by
the close links among centers of education and intellectual
activity, units of production, and politicallly influential indi
viduals. Given the nature of these institutional linkages as well
as the highly charged ideological nature of political discourse in
traditional Chinese and Marxist political theory, the interest
conflicts that did exist within the working class were rather
easily transformed into images of major battles between groups
with either "revolutionary" or "counter-revolutionary" con
sciousness. Yet these images of conflict both simplified and
magnified the conflict within the working class, and such polar
izing tendencies spilled over into the participatory institutions
and activities at the grass roots. There, they often led to paralysis
in production and antagonized China's impatient nationalists
(and others who were not all that impatient, but were simply
After Mao's Death
The imminent deaths of Mao and Zhou, whose political
leadership had been able to keep a semblance of unity, now
became the precondition for an intensified struggle 'for power at
the top. The core of this struggle was in the Party, but the whole
State was literally up for grabs. The strains within the old united
front between revolutionary nationalists and impatient national
ists were intensified as political controversy threatened more
and more to disrupt production, education, and routine. Many
people were pushed into an alliance with the impatient national
ists and those within the old united front who had been the
victims and the casualties, but not the fatalities, of Mao's
protracted war. In very short order after Mao's death, this new
political alliance won the battle for state power and began a
series of fundamental changes in China's economic organiza
tions and policies.
Both theory and practice began to reflect a fundamentally
different set of politics from the Maoist approach. On the level
of theory, the development of production forces now assumed
the prj mary position, as one would expect with a victory of the
new coalition the heart of which was the impatient nationalist
group in the Party. In contrast to Mao's insistence on a complex
"trialectic" among production forces, production relations,
and consciousness as the basic dynamic of change within the
socialist stage, the Chinese now argued that the development of
productive forces alone was the primary determinant of produc
tion relations and changes in consciousness. The Chinese also
began to define production relations primarily in terms of own
ership of the means of production. Since, it was argued, China
had already revolutionized production relations by transforming
ownership in both rural and urban sectors, the single overriding
task of the revolution now was to develop production as rapidly
and efficiently as possible. 20
Secondly, because productive forces determined produc
tion relations, and because capitalist countries had developed
production forces to a very high technological level, it followed
that those aspects of capitalist production relations which did
not include private ownership could be directly transferable to
socialist society. Moreover, the specific machines and forms of
industrial organization developed in the capitalist countries were
viewed as universally applicable and desirable, products of
"modern" scientific and technical knowledge in general, and
not products of the specifically capitalist environment in which
they had evolved. 21
Thirdly, since production relations were primarily owner
ship relations, and since ownership was the underlying base of
class, there could really be no legitimate reason why bureau
crats, technicians or managers in a socialist society (i.e., one
where ownership was not private) could be said to form or
contribute to the formation of new classes. Everyone, essen
tially, was now defined as part of the "proletariat," no matter
what his role in the division of labor. Specialists, technicians,
and high level managers, it was argued, performed the most
important tasks in the modernization drive, and although this
group was not to receive unwarranted privileges or income to
distinguish its members from workers, they were to be rewarded
accordingly for their crucial role. 22
Finally, the Chinese stressed the importance of individual
material incentives as the most effective way to induce people to
work hard. As Mao had done, they argued that people had to see
and feel material improvements in their living standards, but
they added that at the pres"nt stage of development of produc
tive forces, people's consciousness required that these improve
ments had to be immediate and linked directly to short-term
individual performance. Otherwise, individuals would feel cheat
ed, and morale-and hence output- would suffer. 23
Much of the ideological change was reflected by and was
itself a reflection of changing policies that were being pushed
and publicized in the major organs of the mass media. In
approaches to planning, enterprise management within the in
dustrial sector, and over-all development strategy, policy shifts
could be clearly discerned. One of the most dramatic shifts was
in the incentives that were to be embodied in the planning
Chinese planners and economists began to stress the im
portance of centralized economic planning and the role of profit
as the criteria for judging an enterprise's economic performance
and for raising output and productivity. Profits were not made
the sole purpose of the enterprise, but they were viewed as the
most comprehensive and important index of performance. There
were eight mandated targets that enterprises had to meet, but the
profit target became the chief incentive-the one that deter
mined the short and medium term prospects for the enterprise
and all associated with it. 24 First of all, the level of profit was to
determine the size of bonuses that would now be given to an
enterprise for distribution to managerial cadres and to workers.
The bonus fund was now linked to the profit target, rather than
the wage bill, and it was to be high enough to become the main
positive incentive for enterprise management. On the other
hand, failure to meet the profit target would entail economic
sanctions, since no bonus would then be available, and in
certain cases where losses were reported, there would be fines
levied and/or salaries reduced. 2S Secondly, the profit target was
to be used to reward and punish enterprises in another way.
Those enterprises which fulfilled or over-filled the profit index
would be given preferential treatment in the form of raw mater
ial and energy supplies allocated by central planners, while
those who fared less well would be given lower priority for
delivery of these vital inputs. 26
These economic rewards and sanctions were to be backed
up by a much stricter and more detailed legal apparatus. Not
only could factory level managers now be subjected to political
and social pressure for failure to meet the targets, but they could
be punished economically and could also be charged with viola
tions of the law.
Obligations involving relationships with the
state and other enterprises were now to be reinforced through the
legal instrument of contracts. Such contracts, however, were no
longer the agreements for cooperation or barter that previously
had been made on a more or less ad hoc, personalized basis, but
were now to be included in the enterprise's annual production
plan which was sent on to higher authority for approval. Elabor
ate and detailed procedures and punishments for violations of
contract were envisioned as a support for this planning system,
and an adequate number of professional legal experts were to be
trained to handle the disputes that arose in courts of law. 28
To ensure that the pursuit of profit reflected operational
efficiency as opposed to imperfections in the fixed price struc
ture or to simple good fortune in having access to modem
technology, it wa:; proposed that pricing policy be readjusted so
that enterprises producing much needed goods could make a
profit. To achieve a "rational price policy," it was proposed
that prices of certain finished goods and raw materials be al
lowed to rise to reflect their demand and their importance. 29
Moreover it was proposed that the national average for the rate
of return on capital be calculated. The profit target would then
be defined in proportion to the value of capital equipment in an
enterprise. If, for example, the national average rate of return on
capital proved to be 20 percent, then an enterprise which had
capital plant worth 100 million Y would have a profit target of
20 million Y, while an enterprise with capital plant worth 200
million Y would have a profit target of 40 million Y. To get the
price of an enterprise's products, the profit target would be
added to the planned costs of production, and then this total
would be divided by the number of products to be produced. If
an enterprise over-filled the profit target, it would be awarded a
bonus, i.e., a portion of its profits which was to be distributed to
both managers and workers. 30
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The stress on profitability not only indicated a new approach
to incentives in the industrial planning system but also a change
in rural incentive policy. Greater emphasis was placed on al
locating work points to individuals on the basis of set task time
quotas and on the role of rural fairs and free markets in supply
ing consumer goods to peasants as an inducement to work
harder. Collective projects above the team level were not to be
pushed unless there was an immediate and visible return to the
team or its members. 31
Changes in rural and urban incentive policies were ac
companied by changes in methods of economic planning and
coordination and also modifications in the policy toward local
industry. After Mao's death, the Chinese once again began to
stress the need for specialization in industrial production. It was
argued that it was easier to calculate profits and prices and for
planners to maximize allocational efficiency over a very wide
geographical area for enterprises specializing in one product
than it was for them to do this for "all inclusive" or "com
prehensive" ones. Specialization was therefore part of the gen
eral push to increase allocational efficiency even if it meant
more need for coordination and more complex transport linkage. 32
All industries were affected by this push toward specializa
tion, but the machinery and machine tool industry was the most
important. In its early and official version, specialization was to
be based on municipal, provincial, or regional planning au
thorities. The level of integration would depend on the degree of
economic development in an area and the proximity of other
complementary enterprises. 33 All-purpose plants below the pro
vinciallevel and in the major industrialized urban centers were
to be phased out or transformed. Local authorities below the
province and outside the major industrial urban centers would
lose almost all control over economic coordination and planning
in the modem sector. 34 The most important enterprises affected
were those making various kinds of machinery for agricultural
use, from sprayer nozzles to tractors. These enterprises, of
which there were many under local authority, were now to be
specialized and brought under provincial, regional, or munici
pal level authority which would handle allocatio'n and supply
decisions.35 All-purpose enterprises in the cities were to be
made part of specialized systems. Increasing specialization in
industry and in agricultural machinery production inevitably
had a subtle impact upon rural economic policy.
Local industry at the brigade and commune level was to
remain an important part of the local economy and a major
concern of local authorities. Organizationally, it was still coor
dinated by county and, to a lesser extent, prefectural authorities,
and it was not to make any material demands on the modem
sector nor hamper the development of state-run industry in any
way. On the contrary, one of the main purposes of local industry
was to continue to support production in nearby town or munici
pal factories by supplying parts, and it was to continue to be
linked to those factories which supplied the brigade or commune
plants with machinery or materials. 36
There was, however, a subtle but important change of
emphasis, especially when the role of brigade and commune
industry is viewed in the context of industrial specialization in
the modem sector. First of all, the amount of state investment in
modem machinery and technology for brigade and commune
industries was to be reduced or eliminated altogether. With the
exception of capital construction for agricultural purposes
(dams, water conservation, irrigation and drainage systems,
land levelling, road improvement, etc.) which could call on the
modem sector for help in the form of equipment and skills,
brigade and commune industry would now develop largely
according to the ability of individual brigades and communes to
finance their own development and technical transformation. 37
Moreover, the industry that did develop was viewed differently.
No longer was it organizationally part of a locally integrated,
comprehensive and relatively self-reliant economic unit. Now it
was seen as part of a more centralized and specialized integrated
system, although it did retain its functions as an absorber of
labor power released by agricultural mechanization. Local in
dustry was to continue to be an important source of rural income
also, but in many cases such income was increasingly to derive
from handicrafts or processed foodstuffs produced for the world
market. 38
Changes in Industrial Management
The changes in rural development strategy and organiza
tion which were projected by new policies were, however, far
less dramatic than those envisaged in policies concerning in
dustrial enterprise management and organization. In general,
factory management went back to the pre-Great Leap system of
individual factory manager responsibility under the leadership
of the Enterprise Party Committee. Revolutionary committees
with workers and managers sometimes rotating jobs were abol
ished altogether, and a factory management committee made up
of factory directors and their immediate assistants was created.
These people were held directly and individually responsible for
the production performance of the enterprise. The director took
responsibility for the enterprise's performance and each vice
director was in charge of a specific function. Directors and
vice-directors each would be rewarded and punished with bo
nuses according to how well their enterprise fulfilled its planned
targets, the most important of which was profit. Since the
directors and vice-directors were almost always members of the
Party Committee of the enterprise, they were responsible for a
strict division of labor inside their enterprise and for fulfilling
obligations embodied in contracts with other enterprises and in
the state plans. Specialization was to increase these external
responsibilities on the factory level leaders, and more impor
tantly was to transform the communications process from a
personal, locally oriented one into a mechanical, bureaucratic
ally integrated one. 39
To go along with their new responsibilities, factory dir
ectors, their managerial assistants, and supervisory-technical
personnel in all phases of the enterprise activity were given
vastly increased authority to oversee production, enforce disci
pline, and ensure quality. Workers' participation in manage
ment was strictly limited to opinions expressed on "Dazebao"
or at workers' congresses or meetings. All previous experiments
in transforming the worker-manager division of labor were to be
ended, with the exception of worker skill-training and improve
ment programs. Although team, shift, and workshop level pro
duction leaders were supposed to be involved in production
operations and were, as before, to be elected by workers, there
was little mention of cadre participation in labor, and much
more pUblicity given to arguments which opposed the practice
or favored its limitation.
A system of individual responsibility
based on a strict division of labor replaced the' 'triple combina
tion teams" and worker-management teams that had existed in
many places.
The incentive system within the factories and in the wider
society reflected and reinforced these management changes.
Individual workers were now to be rewarded and punished in
relation to sections. Much tighter watch was to be kept on
workers in order to gather the necessary statistical data to calcu
late productivity and output norms. These norms were to pro
vide information to factory level leaders for use in their negotia
tions with planning authorities and other enterprises.
was a wage increase, and discussion in the media focused on
increased spending for housing and consumer goods. There was
a willingness to learn "scientific management" from capitalist
industry in order to manage production within the enterprise,
and to process, understand, and present quantitative data to the
higher authorities and to help higher planners in the now admit
tedly more complex job of economic coordination. 43
Finally, there was a dramatic change in policy concerning
e<;onomic relations with the world market. The scale and cost of
China's imports of foreign technology will be increased enor
mously. Previously, imports were limited by a policy which
relied mostly on the import of whole plants paid for out of
available foreign exchange earnings. However, China will now
attempt to increase its exports of all kinds and make them more
competitive on the world market. It will devote a significantly
larger sector of both urban and rural industry to export ac
tivity,44 will enter joint ventures in which foreign corporations
will get guaranteed profits for agreed upon periods of time, and
will allow direct foreign investment on the same temporary
basis. Investment will be especially encouraged in those sectors
which either can contribute rapidly to export earnings on a profit
sharing basis, or which can provide plant and technology which
can ultimately be taken over by the Chinese after an agreed upon
The number of foreign advisers resident in China will
increase, as will the number of Chinese studying abroad. Laws
have been passed to guarantee the security of foreign investment
and to provide the conditions for settling disputes.
Chinese enterprises engaged in manufacture for the world mar
ket will now be able to use the foreign exchange they earn to buy
directly on the world market using the Bank of China as an
intermediary in transferring funds.
Long term credit arrange
ments will be made with p r i ~ a t e foreign banks and perhaps with
governments. In addition to increasing exports of handicrafts,
cultural artifacts, producers goods and textiles, China will at
tempt to earn foreign exchange by rapid exploitation of oil
resources in cooperation with the global majors as well as by
selling oil independently on the world market. The tourist in
dustry is to be promoted, and major first class hotels servicing
Western and Japanese tourists in accustomed fashion will be
built by Western firms under agreed upon conditions specifying
levels and distribution of profit and duration of foreign con
Other facilities to attract tourists and foreign exchange
will be promoted, including hunting and mountain climbing
expeditions. 49
An objective comparison between the economic policies,
organizational principles, and the ideological arguments related
to them that have evolved since Mao's death and those that
developed while Mao was alive can only lead to one conclusion.
At least for the present, the Maoist legacy has been reduced to its
most general and uncontroversial principles, those which em
phasized the importance of rapid economic development, tech
nological modernization, rising living standards for the masses
and efficient organization. Many controversial political con
cepts dealing with Mao's unique and revolutionary approach to
economics and organization have been ignored or rejected.
Mao's conception of micro and macro economic organization,
especially in the industrial economy, his understanding of how
the division of labor in society might be transformed, and his
principles of economic calculation have been rejected. Politi
cally, his concept of class struggle in socialist society has been
greatly modified and, ideologically, his understanding of the
relationships among the forces of production, the relations of
production, and the" superstructure" have all been changed. so
The political implications of all these economic anq or
ganizational changes are clear and can be summarized relatively
quickly. For one thing, they imply the growth in power and
security of bureaucracy with its roots in the mechanism of
economic coordination and supervision at all levels. In spite of
continuing verbal opposition to the evils of officiousness, in
tellectual snobbery, and "divorcing oneself from the masses,"
the post-Mao leadership clearly understands that the new system
of economic management and coordination will require greater
dependence on lawyers, technocrats (planners and economic
administrators) and supervisory personnel within industrial en-
Increased Western and Japanese influence could lead
to a revival of revolutionary nationalism, making the
impatient nationalists now in power look like Western
lackeys. The idea is certainly not a new one in China's
terprises. The leadership also defends this turn of events in
ideological terms, arguing that it is an inevitable and long term
necessity for modernization. 51
Moreover, no longer is this elite's existence made precar
ious by political competition and harassment from local power
brokers or by an insistence that its members perform manual
labor frequently and regularly. Nor is the elite's eventual de
mise, which is still accepted in principle, seen as part of an
ongoing class struggle as it was for Mao. Rather, it is to occur at
the end of the technological modernization and economic
growth process that the elite leads. Its security from arbitrary
and unnerving political intimidation has increased. 52
The changes in economic policy that have strengthened the
organizational position of the bureaucracy have not, however,
weakened the position of the Communist Party. In so far as the
bureaucracy is made up of non-Party people, their security still
depends on favorable Party policy. In so far as members of the
elite become members of the Party, such policy becomes in
creasingly likely. It remains possible that the interests of Party
and non-Party people will diverge. In that case the inter-bureau
cratic conflict might result in stalemate or victory for one side or
the other in which the victor would take on all or most of the
characteristics of the vanquished so that a new bureaucratic
hybrid emerges. It is even possible for the Party to renew
revolutionary attacks on the ideological and institutional roots
of bureaucratic organization. But for the immediate future such
divergence seems increasingly unlikely.
First of all, the Party has officially declared that all mem
bers of society- "mental workers" as well as manual
workers- are to be considered members of the working class.
Not only can all mental workers become members of trade
unions, S3 but they are viewed as an integral part of the class
basis of the Party's political support. S4 By definition, therefore,
it would be politically dangerous to raise the issue of class
struggle as applied to the relationship between workers on the
one hand and technicians and managers on the other since the
latter are mental workers and hence an integral part of the
working class. Anyone who does raise the issue can be declared
a follower of the gang of four; and followers-of the gang are the
class enemies of the contemporary period.
The Party using
this ideological position could thus become a key protector of
potential bureaucrats.
The focus of political debate in China thus promises to shift
dramatically. Criticism within agreed-upon limits and based on
Party-defined principles has always been part of Chinese poli
tics. For Mao, this criticism could be part of the class struggle; it
applied in theory not only to those who opposed bureaucracy but
to Party members as well if they violated Maoist principles and
undermined the on-going process of continuously, gradually,
and relentlessly narrowing class differences. Now, the Party has
redefined principles to sanction the long term existence of
various kinds of class differences and has argued that only
increases in production and technological transformation can
lay the basis for narrowing them. These principles now define
the limits of legitimate criticism, and they pose no necessary
threat to the technocratic elite. The focus of criticism thus shifts
dramatically from those who were the elite to those who oppose
it and wish to transform the structures and practices in society
which give it life. Social and political experimentation iliat
might undermine the struggle for production and technical
transformation is simply defined as counterrevolutionary
From the perspective of China's working class, this shift in
the focus of criticism and the social pressure that results from it
are bound to have unsettling effects, since so many people were
recently involved in precisely the opposite kind of criticism.
Problems with product quality and morale have been noted in
the Chinese media. 55
From a less intellectual perspective, the new system of
factory management could increase the amount of supervision
and control that all workers experience in their work day, and
decrease the amount of worker participation in management that
a relatively few workers experienced on various of "triple
combination" management and technical innovation teams.
Workers' congresses may compensate somewhat for this, but it
should be noted that these had always been at least a formal part
of factory life in many places and hence are not really new at all.
Increasing supervision and control could lead to antago
nism between workers and supervisors and to conflict even
among technical and supervisory personnel because of different
educational backgrounds and self-images. This conflict is more
likely as graduates of regular colleges and universities enter
factories and come into contact with graduates of factory-run
technical colleges. 56 A similar kind of conflict played no small
role in the politics of China's factories prior to the Cultural
Revolution. S7
Unless there is a drastic change in wage policy or unless
factory level management uses its political position to appropri
ate the lion's share of enterprise bonus funds, the incoIIJe gap
between management and skilled workers is not likely to grow
enormously. There is no question, however, that the new incen
tive system will lead to increased stratification within the work
ing class. Thus, even as managers exert more control over
workes and become more differentiated from them in terms of
daily routine, it may be possible to forge strong links ofcommon
interest 5etween management and those workers who define
their interests largely in terms of income. Yet those workers
who do not so define their interests will not be at all happy with
the new system.
The new incentive policies and the new system of eco
nomic coordination will also have important pOlitical implica
tions in the rural areas. It may be more difficult for poorer
collective units to purchase machinery, not only because it may
be difficult to maintain or lower prices if specialized machine
plants are to operate at a suitable profit leveP8 but also because
local agricultural machinery and machine tool factories which
formerly supplied relatively crude but available products to
local markets might now be phased out or integrated into the
specialized coordinative system at provincial or municipal
levels. Yet richer collectives should have little trouble purchas
ing machinery, and the availability of standardized spare parts
and servicing will iI'lcrease quality. Thus, the gap between rich
and poor collectives may have a tendency to widen, and the new
incentive policy in rural areas which links work points to indi
vidual target or quota fulfillment promises to increase this
stratification even within work teams. In general, the emphasis
on efficiencyof investment over a shorter time frame may lead
to an exacerbation of rural inequality as well as to serious
urban-rural tensions in spite of the keen awareness on the part of
the Chinese of these potential problems. 59 Moreover, as China
attempts to increase certain classes of exports, an increasing
number of rural units and individuals may have a growing
proportion of their income dependent on local industry which
manufactures for the world market. Instability in this market
may thus have political repercussions within China.
The increasing involvement with the world market will
also have important political implications in urban China. The
need to increase exports might call for domestic belt tightening
and hence conflict with the incentive system which promises
more consumer goods and higher incomes for workers.
If the
benefits of higher income go only to a very visible few Chinese,
political backlash may be significant. There is little doubt that in
China's major cities, Western and Japanese lifestyles with their
patterns of consumption, transportation and architecture will
become more visible. The whole environment and" landscape"
of the now officially praised "modernity" of capitalism will
most certainly intrude on the consciousness of the people. Yet
there should be no easy assumption that imitation of the West,
even in its Japanese form, will follow. Indeed, increased West
ern and Japanese influence could lead to a revival of revolution
ary nationalism, making the impatient nationalists now in power
look like Western lackeys. The idea is certainly not a new one in
China's history.
There is one other political implication of the new eco
nomic policies and the ideological justifications which have
been advanced on their behalf. The Chinese have begun to talk
about the similarities rather than the differences between capi
talism and socialism. With the important exceptions of owner
ship of the means of production, the institution of national
economic planning, and the political leadership of the Com
munist Party, Capitalism, it is now argued, contains major
lessons for socialist economies, not only in its technology, but
also its micro and macro organization. This similarity lies not
only in the "law of value" in determining prices but to the role
of the profit target in determining investment and development
patterns as well as in evaluating an enterprise's performance and
motivating its personnel at all levels. The similarities extend to
the authority relations and supervisory system that are sup
posedly "determined" by modern technology.
Rather than attempts to minimize and transform and re
strict these aspects of capitalism or to have technology serve
predetermined social arrangements, it is argued that technology
and development determine social arrangements. It is, in fact,
the continued advance of technology and growing economic
complexity that makes the socialist system of ownership and
planning superior to the capitalist one which is entwined in the
coils of private property. Yet as a system of technology and
micro-organization and as a physical symbol of industrializa
tion, capitalism is "modern society." Hence, in this view,
much but not all of the 20th century civilization that has evolved
in Europe, North America, and Japan, a civilization whose
technology and development in general were shaped by and in
turn shaped capitalist institutions and relationships, can and
must be transferred to socialist society.
Mao Zedong, of course, was willing-even anxious-to
learn from any country in order to adapt foreign experience to
building a socialist China. But he was far more critical than the
present leadership of capitalist values, institutions and organiza
tional forms at all levels of society. Nevertheless, the current
leadership's position as outlined above is not a new one, either
in China or in the socialist movement generally. It was, in fact, a
position that Lenin ultimately though uncomfortably accepted
and that Stalin turned into an unchallengeable, ironic definition
of "socialism" when faced with the concrete problems of
industrialization in a hostile and threatening international and
domestic environment. It continues to be the position of the
present Soviet leadership.
Thus, while Mao's unhappiness with the USSR included
not only its international policies, but a critique of fundamental
aspects of Soviet Marxism in theory and practice, the situation
now is different. Both the Chinese and the Russians now agree
that the notion of socialist revolution should be limited to
national economic planning, state ownership, and the "modern
ization" of the economy and technology. They agree that this
"modernization" will lead to inevitable changes in production
relations and human consciousness. They agree that modem
technology and modern industry require an ever finer division of
labor, profit-oriented planning and incentive systems, and a
professional technocracy to run the system. They agree that
planning should be based on centrally calculated maximal allo
cational efficiency and that all investment should, with very rare
exceptions, reflect these "economic laws. "61 They agree that
contemporary western or Japanese technology and micro
management methods reflect the most modem requirements.
Thus, while a Sino-Soviet rapprochement is probably not in
sight for the immediate future, and important differences remain
in the practical economic and political aspects of both countries,
it should be noted that the ideological obstacles to rapproche
ment have, for all practical purposes, been reduced by the
Chinese leadership.
There can be little doubt that the economic policies as
sociated with Mao Zedong raised serious economic questions
and lent themselves to even more serious political abuses. The
critique of these policies articulated by the current leadership in
attacking the "gang of four" should be taken as more than
self-serving polemics. But there can also be little doubt that
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The Spatial Dimension in History
Winter 1979/80 (#21)
Jon Amsden. Historians and the Spatial Imagination
Judith Evans. Setting the Stage for Struggle:
Popular Theater in Buenos Aires
Jean Christophe Agnew. Threshold of Exchange:
Speculations on the Market
Roy Rosenzweig. Middle Class Parks and Working
Class Play: The Struggle over Recreational Space
in Worcester, Massachusetts, 1870-1910
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Betsy Blackmar. Rewalking the Walking City: Social and
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Maoist policies, including the unique and unprecedented exper
iments in agricultural and industrial organization and manage
ment, worked effectively to make China's development experi
ence speedy and equitable when compared to other poor coun
tries. Moreover, these revolutionary experiments had begun to
construct a framework around which the building of a society in
harmony with the classic concerns of Marxism could be seri
ously and practically contemplated, even if the problems they
raised were by no means unimportant ones.
The fact that this Maoist attempt was seriously beset by
problems, was imperfect and at times unjust does not detract from
its positive significance. Nor does it mean that current official
policies which emphasize learning so earnestly from the capital
ist world and changing fundamental priorities and aspects of
planning and organization will be "successfully" implemented
in practice, or if implemented, will be "better" in terms of
over-all development and social justice. There is certainly
enough injustice, waste, and corruption in the capitalist world
and there are enough inefficiencies and mistakes in corporate
planning to make one wonder about the current leadership's
admiration of capitalism. And the new policies carry the poten
tial for a different but nonetheless serious kind of political
conflict within China just as Mao's policies did. Even in terms
of the leadership's own professed obsession with rapid quantita
tive economic growth and technical transformation, these politi
cal factors have already combined with bottlenecks in re
sources, capital, and manpower to necessitate a major revision
and readjustment in the development plans that emerged in the
early post-Mao period. 62
There is, however:one inescapable conclusion to be drawn
from the new economic policies, organizational practices, and
the ideological arguments articulated in the press on their be
half: the technocratic and managerial groups in Chinese society
have gained a significant amount of official political and ideo
logical support. At least for the time being, and in marked
contrast to China before Mao's death, their role and China's
future are being discussed in ways that offer no significant
challenge to the forms of modem civilization that evolved under
capitalism's global hegemony. "*
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I. For a most convenient and authoritative summary of quantitative
performance, see the following: F. M. Kaplan, J. M. Sobin and S. Andors.
Encyclopedia ofChina Today (New York: Harper & Row!Eurasia Press, 1979),
pp. 176-196 and 121-123. Also, see Nicholas Eberstadt, "Why China Failed,"
New York Review of Books (AprilS, 19, and May 13), 1979, for a series of
articles which emphasizes inequalities and general lackluster comparative
performance, but certainly not "failure," of the Chinese economy. For a
detailed quantitative analysis of the Chinese economy, see U.S. Congress, Joint
Economic Committee, Chinese Economy Post Mao. vol. I. Policy and Perform
ance. (Washington, D.C.: 95th Congress, 2nd Session, 1978).
2. For analysis and description of the evolution of the theory and practice
of this approach see Steve Andors, China's Industrial Revolution: Politics.
Planning and Management. 1949 to the Present (New York: Pantheon, 1977).
3. For more detail on Mao's ideas, see ibid.; also, Mao Zedong, Critique
ofSoviet Economics (translated by Moss Roberts, with an introduction by James
Peck), (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1978); also, George Wang, ed.,
Fundamentals ofPolitical Economy (White Plains: M. E. Sharpe, Inc., 1977).
4. Zhang Qunqiao is perhaps the most prominent of those who attempted
this, and has been severely criticized for his analysis. See Zhang's "On exercis
ing All-Around Dictatorship Over the Bourgeoisie," Peking Review (14), 1975.
Also see Charles.J3ettleheim, China Since Mao (New York: Monthly Review
Press, 1978). For critiques oCZhang's analysis, see articles translated in Foreign
Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) from September 1978 to May 1979.
5. For more details on all of these aspects of the Maoist organizational
and planning approach, see Andors, op. cit., esp. chs. 6, 7, 8, 9. See also Peck,
op. cit.; Wang, op. cit.
6. The anti "gang of four" campaign ended in the PLA in December
1978 (see "PLA General Political Department Calls for End to Criticizing
Gang," Peking Radio, Dec. II, 1978, in FBIS, 12 Dec., 1978, p. EI)and in the
rest of society by the time of the convening of the 5th National People's
Congress in the Summer of 1979.
7. For example in discussing the profit target, the new leadership criti
cized Mao as well as the Soviet conception which Mao' also opposed. See Sun
Yehfang, "It is Necessary to Righteously and Confidently Grasp Socialist
Profit," Jingji Yenjiu (9), 1978, and Renmin Ribao (RMRB), O(ct. 23, 1978, in
FBIS. Oct. 30, 1978.
8. Wu Jinglian, et aI., "Establish and Improve the System of Retaining
Earnings for Enterprise Funds," RMRB. Sept. 2, 1978, inFBIS. Sept. 19, 1978.
9. See Li Gung hui, "Persistently Manage the Economy With Economic
Methods," Guangming Ribao (GMRB).July II, 1978, in FBIS. July 20, 1978;
also Ma Biao, "Seriously Enforce the Principle of Material Benefits," GMRB.
Oct. 21,-1978, inFBIS. Nov. I, 1978.
10. GMRB Correspondent, "Resolutely Overcome Egalitarianism and
Seriously Implement the Policy of Pay According to Work," GMRB. Oct. 14,
1978, inFBIS, Nov. I, 1978.
II. "College Graduates to Be Assigned to Key Projects," New China
News Agency (NCNA), Aug. 16, 1978, in FBIS. Aug. 16, 1978; Also "The
Five-Sixths Rule Should Be Applicable to All Scientists and Technicians,"
RMRB. Nov. 13,1978, inFBIS. Nov. 14,1978, andGMRBed., "One Cannot
Be Indifferent to Not Making Use of What One Has Learned," GMRB, July 13,
1978, in FBIS. July 20, 1978.
12. "Accelerate the Training of Middle Grade Technicians," GMRB.
Aug. 19, 1978, in FBIS. Aug. 24, 1978. See also the series of articles on
education which appeared in 1977 and the first half of 1978 in FBIS.
13. Dung Zhirain, "How Did Lenin View the Introduction of Advanced
Technology and the Admission of Foreign Capital," GMRB in FBIS. Aug. 24,
14. Note 9 above; Also, "Ministries Republish 1963 Regulations on
Technical Improvements," NCNA. Domestic, DNov. 24, 1978, in FBIS, Nov.
28, 1978.
15. Hu Qiao-mu, "Act in Accordance With Economic Laws, Step Up the
Four Modernizations," NCNA. Oct. 5, 1978, in FBIS. Oct. II, 1978; also,
NCNA Commentary, .. Organize the Flow of Commodities According to Eco
nomic Zones," NCNA Domestic, Aug. 12, 1978, in FBIS. Aug. 21, 1978.
16. RMRB Commentator, "It Is Absolutely Impermissible to Privately
Divide or Conduct Illicit Sales of Products Turned Out Under the State Plan."
RMRB.July 27,1978, inFBIS. Aug. 4,1978.
17. Ibid., also Hu Qiao-mu, "Act in Accordance with Economic Laws,"
note 15 above.
18. Wu Jia-pei, "Economic Results and Economic Management," Aug.
12, 1978, in FBIS. Aug. 22, 1978; Also, RMRB Commentator, "Overcome the
Mentality of Small Producers and Do a Good Job in Specialization and Coordi
nation," RMRB, Oct. 13,1978, inFBIS, Oct. 17, 1978; NCNA. "First Ministry
of Machine Building Plans Re-Organization," Hsinhua. Aug. 28, 1978, in
FB/S, Aug. 28. 1978. Also, Hu Qiao-mu, "Act in Accordance with Economic
Laws," note 15 above.
19. The following political analysis is developed in detail and documenta
tion in S. Andors, "Consciousness, Conflict and Participation: Problems of
Socialist Democracy in China," paper read at Annual Meeting of APSA, New
York, Sept. 3, 1978. Mimeographed.
20. Wang Xiawen, "The Importance of Studying and Applying Marxist
Economics," GMRB, Aug. 4, 1978, in FB/S, Aug. 15, 1978. Also RMRB
Commentator, "What Attitude do Marxists Take Toward Material Interests,"
NCNA, Chinese Domestic Service, Sept. 12, 1978, in FBlS, Sept. 13, 1978.
This theme is a dominant one in almost all articles on the "four moderniza
tions." See also Ni Zhifu, "The New Great Historic Mission of the Chinese
Working Class," NCNA. Oct. 15, 1978, in FB/S. Oct. 18, 1978.
21. Ma Biao, "Seriously Study the Good Management Experience of
Foreign Countries," GMRB, Aug. 26, 1978, in FB/S, Sept. 6, 1978. Also
Zhang Xuemo, "A Talk on Learning from Enterprise Management of Capitalist
Countries," GMRB, Sept. 23, 1978, in FBlS, Oct. 4, 1978.
22. "Commenting on the So-called 'Expert Line' ", GMRB. Oct. 20,
1978, in FB/S. Nov. 2, 1978; also, Xin Guangmen, "Intellectuals are a Force on
Which the Party Relies," GMRB. Nov. 19, 1978, inFBlS. Nov. 30, 1978; also,
"Red Flag Urges Socialist Democracy in Enterprises," Peking Radio, Nov. 13,
1978, inFBIS. Nov. 16, 1978; also, FangYi, "The Working Class Must Strive
to Master Modem Science and Technology," GMRB. Nov. 14, 1978, inFBlS.
Dec. 4, 1978.
23. "What Attitudes Do Marxists Take ..." note 19 above; also, GMRB
Correspondent, "Resolutely Overcome Egalitarianism and Seriously Imple
ment the Policy of Pay According to Work," GMRB. Oct. 14, 1978, in FBlS,
Oct. 31, 1978; also Ma Biao, "Seriously Enforce the Principle of Material
Benefits," GMRB. Oct. 22,1978, inFBlS. Nov. I, 1978.
24. For a list of these 8 targets see "Standardization, Serialization, Gen
eral Utilization, and the Eight Economic and Technical Targets," GMRB. July
29, 1978, in FBIS, Aug. 8, 1978, P. E4.
25. See Hu Qiao-mu, note 15 above; Sun Yefang, note 7 above, and Wu
Jiapei, note 18 above; also, Ma Zhungqun, "Fully Develop the Initiative of
Enterprises," GMRB. Sept. 9, 1978, in FBlS. Sept. 8, 1978; also Wu Jinglien,
et aI., note 8 above and Deng Chungwen, "Be Bold and Self Confident in
Grasping Profits," GMRB. July II, 1978, in FBIS. July 20, 1978.
26. "State Economic Commission Issues Circular on Product Quality,"
NCNA. Oct. 10, 1978, in FBlS. Oct. 13, 1978; :lIso "New Supply Policy For
Outstanding Enterprises," FB/S. Oct. 13, 1978.
27. Ma Zhungqun, note 24 above; also Kang Shihen, "Speech at 31
August Peking Rally on 'Quality Month' ", Peking Domestic Radio, Aug. 31,
1978, in FBIS, Sept. I, 1978. Also, RMRB editorial, "Boldly Mobilize the
Masses .to Raise Product Quality," NCNA. Peking, Sept. I, 1978, in FBlS,
Sept. 5, 1978.
28. Hu Qiaomu, note 15 above. See also references cited in notes 25, 26
29. Hu Qiaomu, ibid.; also, ''Commodity Prices Bureau Official Explains
Price Policy," NCNA. July 22, 1978, in FBIS, July 26, 1978.
30. Sun Yefang, op. cit.
31. See references in note 22 above. Also, see RMRB. "Special Column:
Support the Peasants, Do Not Defraud Them," RMRB. Aug. 4, 1978, in FB/S.
Aug. 18, 1978.
32. See references in note 18 above.
33. The level at which and area within which specilllization would occur
was and remains a crucial point of debate in China. There are some very clear
indications that the first attempt to achieve a high degree of centralized speciali
zation met with very powerful local resistance. See the references cited ibid.;
this was clearly the indication received from intensive interviews with county
level officials and factory level personnel during the Summer of 1979. There
was no opposition noted, however, to the idea of specialization per se.
34. This was, in fact, an argument used by local authorities. See "Over
come the Mentality of Small Producers ... " note 18 above.
35. See the series of articles concerning the National Machine Building
Conference held in Peking in August 1978 in FBlS. Aug. 28, and Sept. 22,
1978. Also see Li Ming "Shehui Juyi Gongyen Shengchan de Zhuanyehua Yu
Xiezo, "Specialization and cooperation in Socialist Industrial Production,"
(Shanghai: Peoples Publishing House, 1959, 1979).
. 36: Hubei Ribao ed., "We Must Grasp Commune and Brigade Enter
prises in a Big Way," HBRB. Wuhan, Oct. 30, 1978, in FBlS. Nov. 2, 1978;
RMRB ed., "Make a Success of Commune and Brigade Run Enterprises Using
Local Resources," RMRB. Nov.4, 1978, inFBIS. Nov. 13, 1978;RMRB ed.,
"Develop Commune and Brigade Run Industries for Processing of Agriculture
and Sideline Products," RMRB. Dec. 19, 1978, in FBlS. Dec. 20, 1978. The
organization of local industry was also described in interview in the Summer of
37. Ji Denggui Urges Large-Scale Farmland Capital Construction Proj
ects," FBlS. Aug. 21, 1978. Of course, this had always been part of the
approach to local industry.
38. See references in note 35 above.
39. See references cited in notes 9, 15, 18, 20 and 24 above. Also,
"Quickly Raise the Management Level of Enterprises, " RMRB. July 13, 1978,
in FB/S, July 21, 1978. Also, Hu Naiwu, "Strictly Enforce the System of
Economic Responsibility," GMRB. Oct. 7, 1978, in FBIS. Oct. 17, 1978.
40. Ibid. Also, Fang Yi, note 21 above. Also, RMRB Commentator, "The
Five-Sixths Rule Should be Applicable to All Scientists and Technicians,"
RMRB. in FBlS. Nov. 14, 1978. This article advocates that 5/6 of the time of
scientific personnel should be spent on "professional work," 1/6 in meetings or
in manual labor, with the clear indication that manual labor was no longer
41. See note 38 above and note 21 above.
42. Ibid.
43. Ibid.
44. RMRB ed., "There Should Be a Big Growth of Foreign Trade,"
RMRB, Dec. 4, 1978, inFBIS. Dec. 16, 1978. Also, Dung Zhimen, "How Did
Lenin View the Introduction of Advanced Technology and the Admission of
Foreign Capital," in FB/S. Aug. 25, 1978.
45. Dung Zhimen, ibid.
46. See the new Chinese Investment Laws passed by the 5th NPC in July
1979. Beijing Review, #27, July 6, 1979, pp. 32-36.
47. RMRBed., note 43 above.
48. Australian companies have already begun construction of some of
these facilities in the county ofWuxi near beautiful Tai Lake, and other contracts
with other countries are still being negotiated.
49. See the report in the New York Times,
50. Seereferencescitedinn,otes7,15,18,19,20and24above.
51. See note 21 above. Also, RMRB Commentator, "Adapt Our Thinking
to the Requirements of Modernization, " RMRB. Aug. 29, 1978, inFBlS. Sept.
8, 1978.
52. There should be no mistaking the fact that political intimidation in
China while Mao lived was often arbitrary and unnerving and, therefore, often
unjust. For example, see RMRB Commentator, "Stick to Principles of Socialist
Democracy," RMRB. Sept. 28,1978, inFB/S. Oct. 3,1978.
53. "Revised Trade Union Constitution Adopted by the Trade Union
Congress," NCNA Domestic, Oct. 21, 1978, in FBlS. Oct. 23, 1978.
54. See note 21 above.
55. RMRB. "WorkersofCapital Iron and Steel Company Seriously Study
Remarks Made by Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping and Li Xiannian to Foreign
Friends," FBlS. Dec. 8, 1978; Yen Zhang, "Accelerate Our Tempo and Make
Contributionsto the Four Modernizations," Tianjin Radio, Sept. 4, 1978, in
FB/S. Sept. II, 1978; "Kwangtung Industrial Leader Discusses Product Qual
ity," FBIS, Sept. 12, 1978; "Liaoning's Anshan Iron and Steel Company
Pursues Investigations," Shenyang, Liaoning Provincial Radio, Sept. 4, 1978,
in FB/SD. Sept. 12, 1978. Even as late as the summer of 1979, disputes in some
factories concerning major political issues were severe enough to discourage
visits by foreigners. This was the case, for example, with the Peking General
Knitwear Factory, which was a famous Cultural Revolution model. See also,
"To Each According to His Work Principle Discussed at Meeting," Peking
Radio, Nov. 2,1978, inFBIS. Nov. 3,1978.
56. "Guangdong Daily Reporter Criticizes Guizhou Mercury Mine,"
Guizhou Provincial Radio, Oct. 10, 1978, in FB/S. Oct. 13, 1978.
57. See Andors, ot>. cit., Chs. 6, 7.
58. See note 28 above. Transport and administrative costs may rise to
offset or even surpass the savings in efficiency and mass production that, it is
claimed, will come with specialization. See also note 18 above.
59. See notes 22, 23, and 30 above.
60. RMRB ed., "There Should Be a Big Growth of Foreign Trade,"
RMRB. Dec. 4, 1978, in FBIS. Dec. 6, 1978.
61. For a discussion of this position see Harry Magdoff and Paul Sweezy,
"China: New Theories for Old," Monthly Review. (May) 1979.
62. See Hua Guofeng, "Report on the Work of the Government," Speech
delivered to the 2nd session of the 5th National 'People's Congress, Beijing
Review, (27) 1979, pp. 5-31.
A Review Essay
The May Fourth Movement
by Paul S. Ropp*
The May Fourth (1919) Movement, by all accounts, is one of
the watershed marks in modem Chinese history. Within the space
of a few years, Chinese nationalism burst upon the scene with
unprecedented force and rapidity, transforming the Chinese
political landscape for the rest of the twentieth century .. This
surge of nationalism was accompanied by iconoclastic rejection
of nearly all aspects of traditional Chinese culture. This "to
talistic iconoclasm," to use the phrase of Lin Yii-sheng, was
widespread, to be sure, only among the relatively educated elite
members of society. Nevertheless, coming simultaneously with
the rise of nationalism, the extent of such hostility to Chinese
tradition is more surprising than its limitations. As with May
Fourth Chinese nationalism, May Fourth antitraditionalism was
to become a dominant, perhaps even decisive, theme in the Chi
nese communist revolution. As Lucien Bianco has observed,
the May Fourth Movement represented a spiritual revolution
experienced by the future leaders of the Communist Party, who
would try after 1949 to impart that same revolution to the rest of
the Chinese people.
It may seem on the surface that the two main thrusts of May
Fourth thought-nationalism and antitraditionalism-pulled in
opposite directions, the former based on national pride and the
latter on a kind of cultural self-hatred. However, in fact these
two strains of thought were very closely intertwined and mutu
ally reinforcing. It was in large part the humiliations forced on
China by foreign powers which led Chinese intellectuals to turn
against those traditions which had left them defenseless. The
Versailles settlement, which awarded the former German con
*My thanks to Anthony Shaheen and Ernest Young for their helpful comments
on an early draft of this article.
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1977,
335pp, $15.00.
FOURm ERA by Lin Yu-sheng. Madison, WI: Uni
versity of Wisconsin Press, 1979, 201pp, $20.00.
CHIH) by Ye Shaojun. Originally published in 1930;
republished in Beijing, Renmin wenxue chubanshe,
1953, 174pp (in Chinese); translated by A.C. Barnes;
Beijing: Foreign Language Press, 1958, 384pp.
Second edition, 1978, $7.95.
cessions in Shandong to Japan, and which inspired the May
Fourth demonstrations (and thus the name of the whole move
ment), was not unique in humiliating China. But by its timing, it
was uniquely provoking to educated Chinese because they had
been led by Wilsonian rhetoric to expect a better deal from the
Western democracies. Coming as it did on the heels of an
already developing antitraditionalist movement, the Versailles
betrayal further intensified the contempt ofChinese intellectuals
for both foreign imperialists and Chinese tradition.
Two books here under review - Barry Keenan's The Dewey
Experiment in China: Educational Reform and Political Power in
the Early Republic and Lin Yii-sheng's The Crisis of Chinese
Consciousness: Radical Antitraditionalism in the May Fourth
Era both make significant contributions toward illuminating the
complexities and tensions within the May Fourth Movement.
Barry Keenan examines the impact of the American philosopher
John Dewey on some Chinese intellectuals, and he traces the
work and eventual frustration of Dewey's disciples in China, a
frustration resulting in large part from the ultimate irrevelance
of Dewey's American-derived ideas to the situation in China.
Lin Yii-sheng's book, more sweeping in its scope and intent,
argues that such diverse thinkers as Chen Duxiu, Hu Shi, and Lu
Xun, were united in their totalistic iconoclasm toward tradi
tional Chinese culture. Lin's main point, as I understand it, is
that despite their conscious hostility toward Chinese tradition,
their own totalistic iconoclasm was decisively shaped by tradi
tional Chinese assumptions regarding both the organismic unity
of culture, society and polity, and the priority of cultural
intellectual phenomena in shaping all other phenomena in soci
ety. As Lin sees it, these May Fourth leaders were ultimately
trapped by their traditional mode of thinking ("monistic intel
lectualism") .. As a result they were unable to devise more
"lasting settlements" to the problem of modem China's rela
tionship to its own past and the West. More speculatively, Lin
concludes that these same traditional assumptions may well
have been important in Mao Zedong's own voluntaristic reinter
pretation of Marxism.
Many factors contributed to the May Fourth outburst of
anti-traditional and anti-imperialist radicalism. The movement
for the creation of a new vernacular literature and a new culture
had begun at least as early as 1915 with the first publication of
the periodical, New Youth, edited by Chen Duxiu and Hu Shi.
Japanese pressures in the fonn of the 2 1 Demands issued in 1915
provoked the protests in China and heightened sensitivity to
foreign encroachment and to warlord corruption and collusion
with imperialist powers. The Bolshevik Revolution in 1917,
and the new Russian regime's abrogation of the Tsarist unequal
treaties and extraterritorial rights in China, suggested to many
Chinese intellectuals the possibility and desirability of a
Marxist-inspired revolution in a semi-colonial and non
industrial country. Russian actions stood out in contrast to the
behavior of the Western democracies at Versailles. In retro
spect, it is hard to imagine a more receptive environment for the
birth and growth of a Marxist movement than the May Fourth
milieu. Lin and Keenan do not focus on the rise of Marxism in
China, but they do help illuminate the many factors which either
aided the growth of Chinese Marxism, or frustrated the many
opponents of Marxism in China.
Lin Yii-sheng sees the beginning of May Fourth icono
clastic and totalistic antitraditionalism in the collapse of the
Manchu Dynasty in 1911. Lin argues that the conceptofuniver
sal kingship was the lynchpin of traditional Chinese culture,
holding the sociopolitical and cultural-moral orders together in
one closely integrated whole. Thus, when the last Manchu
emperor abdicated in 1911, "the central locus of ultimate
charisma in Chinese society was destroyed ...." (20-21). The
result was rapid disintegration. "Social and moral anomie pre
vailed; a clear definition of ends was no longer possible. Some
people sought sensual pleasure, regardless of principles; others
tilted at windmills. Most people existed in a state of appalling
confusion." (21). Rather than obviating any need to attack
tradition, the collapse of the manarchy, in Lin's view, stimu
lated more radical attacks on tradition than ever before, for it
simply unleashed the evils of the old society from their' 'tradi
tional restraints," as seen for example in the nakedly oppor
tunistic moves of Yuan Shikai, and after him Zhang Xun, to
revive the monarchy.
I see two problems in this analysis. First, the 1911 revolu
tion did not only produce anomie and confusion; it also pro
duced hope on the part of many for a new and better future. In
addition to the negative results which Lin highlights, there was
also an upsurge of activities aimed at the elimination of some old
social evils, including opium smoking, foot-binding and con
CUbinage. If the events of 1911 stimulated hedonism and confu
sion among some, it also stimulated a new sense of public
responsibility among others. Secondly, while the concept of
universal kingship was undoubtedly an important integrative
force in traditional Chinese culture, I doubt that it was quite as
crucial as Lin suggests. In discussing the people who opposed
the May Fourth radicals and upheld Chinese tradition in varying
ways and degrees, Charlotte Furth has observed that' 'in spite of
the heritage of centuries, monarchism has played almost no role
in modem Chinese conservatism. ' '2 If conservatives could de
fend tradition so vigorously without appealing to the ideal of
universal kingship, this would suggest that traditional Chinese
culture was more multifaceted and more enduring than Lin's
analysis admits.
These objections need not invalidate Lin's overall thesis;
indeed they could be used to strengthen it. On the one hand, the
hopes raised in refonners' minds by 1911 were soon dashed by
post-revolutionary chaos, conservative cooptation of the revo
lution, and the subsequent rise of warlordism. This disillusion
ment undoubtedly intensified the anti-traditionalism which then
developed. On the other hand, the enduring appeal of tradition,
even without the ideal of universal kingship, made the task of
the May Fourth radicals all the more urgent.
The heart of Lin's argument, and his most original con
tribution, is his delineation of what he calls the cultural
intellectualistic approach, a mode of thinking based on the
presupposition that ideas are fundamental, and that human soci
ety is the result of conscious human decisions. Lin sees this
cultural-intellectualistic approach penneating the Confucian
and Legalist traditions of China, and he argues that these as
sumptions were also central to 19th century Chinese self
strengtheners and such late Qing refonners as Yan Fu, Liang
Qichao, Kang Yuwei, and Tan Sitong [T'an Ssu-t'ung]. One
could quibble over Lin's rather sweeping characterization of
Chinese intellectual traditions, but he is persuasive in demon
strating the importance of the cultural-intellectualistic mode.
It seems ironic that Lin sees that approach as naive and
rather simplistic because he comes very close to using it himself;
he suggests that the May Fourth radical iconoclasts were in their
own thought "decisively molded" by the traditional Chinese
cultural-intellectualistic mode of thought. It is one thing to
discover congruence between traditional and more recent modes
of thought, and to suggest important influence; but Lin goes
beyond this and asserts that the traditional mode was alone
"decisive." Without anyway to prove it either way, Lin assures
us that social and economic influences as well as Western
influences were all auxiliary.
The relationships between ideas, traditions, events, insti
tutions and personalities are extremely complex. The congru
ence between traditional and May Fourth modes of thought is an
important and original point; one need not weaken it by overstat
ing the "decisive" influence ofan intellectual tradition over and
against all other factors. For intellectuals without political or
military power, it may simply be a necessary shield against
despair to assume that ideas and intellectual change are some
how fundamental. And for a reasonably intelligent and sensitive
person observing the chaos, demoralization, and humiliation
which China was suffering in the first two decades of the 20th
century, it was not difficult to conclude that people's ideas
desperately needed changing, that the Chinese people needed
"awakening" before real progress could be made. These sug
gestions do not disprove Lin's argument, but they qualify it by
noting, albeit superficially, other factors which could have been
as important as traditional modes. Certainly many Westerners,
with little or no knowledge of Chinese tradition, have adopted
the cultural-intellectualistic approach with at least as much
fervor as the May Fourth radicals.
Thus far I have assumed Lin's main point to be true: that
the cultural-intellectualistic approach does indeed characterize
the thought of the May Fourth iconoclasts. It is time to look at
this claim more carefully, though for the sake of brevity I will
not be able to summarize all of Lin's arguments. Rather, I will
point out and evaluate what I see as his most provocative points.
It is undeniable that Chen Duxiu, Hu Shi and Lu Xun,
for all their differences, did give first priority to educational
work (in the broadest sense), and it is true that they were all quite
sweeping in their condemnation of traditional Chinese culture.
Their May Fourth era attacks on' Confucius and Company" are
well known and need no elaboration here. Lin is persuasive in
illustrating Chen's assumption that traditional Chinese culture
and modem Western culture are both monolithic organismic
totalities, As a result, Chen believed all of Chinese traditional
culture was unreformable and should be totally replaced by the
culture of the modem West. He even went so far as to suggest
the eventual abandonment of the Chinese language- not just
the difficult script but the spoken language as well. (He did
admit that spoken Chinese would have to be retained "tempo
rarily"! See Lin, p. 77) Given the intensity of Chen's polemics,
Lin easily demonstrates that Chen saw Confucian culture as the
root of China's problems, and concomitantly, that he saw
China's only hope in the total overthrow of Confucian culture.
Lin admits that Chen occasionally acknowledged the exist
ence of a few positive elements in Confucian culture, and that he
once suggested political development was also necessary to
further social progress. It seems somewhat unfair to Lin, in
noting these qualifications, to argue that they are somehow not
fundamental, and that Chen is simply self-contradictory. For
Chen is only self-contradictory if we accept Lin's sweeping
assertions about him in the first place. Therefore, Chen's rec
ognition of positive elements in the Confucian tradition, and of
the importance of politics, may be more of a problem for Lin
Vii-sheng than for Chen Duxiu. Unfortunately, Lin does not
discuss Chen's tum toward Marxism, which certainly represen
ted an abandonment of the cultural-intellectualistic approach,
though a case can be made that Chen in his Marxist phase
remained a .. total Westernizer, " retaining a holistic organismic
view of culture.
Hu Shi, more clearly than Chen Duxiu, fits precisely into
Lin's cultural-intellectualist framework. He even went so far as
to declare that he would not discuss politics for twenty years
because the educational or intellectual prerequisites 'for any
meaningful political reform would take that long to establish. (I
think he broke his promise.) Although Hu claimed to be a
gradualist reformer, Lin argues that Hu's acceptance of John
Dewey's philosophy was so complete and unqualified that the
outcome of his reform program would have been "total West
ernization," the "Deweyanization" of China. Hu Shi often
attacked all "isms" as too simplistic to solve China's complex
problems, but Lin's analysis would suggest that Hu was at least
as uncritical (or totalistic) in his complete conversion to
Dewey's early philosophy as was Chen Duxiu in his tum to
What is least persuasive in Lin's discussion of Hu Shi is his
explanation of why Hu spent much of his life studying and
writing about various aspects of Chinese tradition, including
philosophy, history and literature. Here, according to Lin, Hu
was simply accommodating his "cultural nationalism," as
suaging his sense ofChinese inferiority to the Western values he
had adopted, and looking for the few bits and pieces of Chinese
tradition onto which modem Western culture could be grafted.
There is some truth in these assertions, but if taken as "the
whole truth, " they tend to obscure the fact that Hu' s research on
Chinese tradition was extremely voluminous and wide-ranging,
often very insightful, and almost always provocative. Granted
that Hu's acceptance of Deweyan philosophy may have been
simplistic and not very appropriate for solving China's prob
lems, I would argue that Hu's scholarship on Chinese tradition
was not just a psychological adjustment or a cover for "total
Westernization;" it may also be interpreted as an honest if not
entirely successful attempt to achieve precisely what Lin calls
for: the creation of a genuinely modern Chinese culture, at peace
with its past and the world outside itself. Hu's political views
may have been irrelevant to China's situation, but his scholar
ship on Chinese tradition was not as irrelevant (or as unsuccess
ful) in the creation of a modern Chinese cultural identity as Lin's
analysis implies. Even the past vehement Communist attacks on
some of Hu' s scholarly views speak of their relevance, and what
is unspoken (and therefore often unnoticed) is the fact that Hu
Shi's most outspoken critics frequently accept many of his
interpretations. I am thinking particularly of Hu's research in
the vernacular literary tradition, with which I am most familiar.
Here, even when Marxists disagree with him, they have im
plicitly accepted his framework and his pioneering efforts to
uncover the heretofore neglected aspects of vernacular litera
ture. At least in this one area, I think Hu Shi came closer to a
creative transformation ofChinese tradition than the term "total
Westernizer" would imply.
In his longest chapter, Lin analyzes the thought of the great
literary figure Lu Xun, showing him to share the cultural
intellectualistic mode of thought and the totalistic anti tradition
alism of other May 4th leaders. Lu Xun first determined to
become a writer rather than a doctor upon deciding that China's
suffering ultimately stemmed from a spiritual rather than a
physical sickness. As is well known, Lu Xun's short stories are
perhaps the most powerful indictments of Chinese tradition
written in the 20th century. Through a careful exegesis of Lu
Xun's early stories, "Diary of a Madman," and "The True
Story of Ah Q," Lin demonstrates Lu's cultural-intellectualistic
assumptions and his tendencies toward a totalistic, iconoclastic
rejection of traditional Confucian culture. Olin also shows, how
ever, that Lu Xun's antitraditionalism was complicated by his
abid,ing attachment to some traditional Chinese values. Pro
found ambivalence can be profoundly disturbing, but it can also
be a powerful stimulus to creativity, It may be Lu Xun's am
bivalence which makes his art so moving.
Near the end of his life Lu Xun seemed to be moving
beyond the cultural-intellectualistic mode; certainly he was in
creasingly frustrated by the apparent impotence of ideas alone to
move China forward. Lin does not discuss Lu Xun' s later years
in these terms, but he does demonstrate how Lu Xun's own
analysis brought him to the verge of despair. While he believed
an intellectual revolution was necessary for China's rejuvena
tion, his own portrayal of Chinese society was so bleak as to
suggest it was incapable of such a revolution, Lin notes that Lu
Xun fought off despair in large part with willpower, though
unlike similar emphases on the human will in Western exis
tensialism, Lu Xun never succumbed to the belief that human
life is ultimately absurd. Lin's analyses implies, and I would
concur, that it may in the end have been Lu Xun' s attachment to
the Chinese past which kept him from completely giving up on
China's future. PeIbaps because Lin Yii-sheng has greater in
tellectual respect for Lu Xun than for Chen Duxiu and Hu Shi,
he seems to show greater tolerance for Lu Xun's ambivalence
toward Chinese tradition. As a result, his discussion ofLu Xun
is more persuasive than his treatment of the other two figures.
Lin's claims for the importance of the cultural-intellectual
istic approach and totalistic iconoclasm of the May 4th Move
ment need to be qualified on two points. First, although Chen
Duxiu, Hu Shi and Lu Xun were each quite different in tempera
ment and style, they nevertheless cannot be said to encompass
all the varieties of thought which flourished in the May 4th
period. They were three of the most extreme iconoclasts the
movement produced, and while influential, their thought alone
was hardly definitive of the movement as a whole. Secondly and
more importantly, Lin's exclusive attention to the early thought
of these men tends to freeze their momentary cultural-intellec
tualistic phase into a state of permanence which it never actually
assumed. Their cultural-intellectualiistic approach and totalistic
iconoclasm were both seriously modified in the years after the
early 1920s, but Lin tends to ignore these subsequent develop
ments or deny their significance.
What I sometimes miss in Lin's analysis is a sensitivity to
the polemical nature of much May 4th writing. Chen Duxiu, Hu
Shi and Lu Xun were trying to arouse people. Their worst
enemy, as they themselves perceived it, was lethargy. To arouse
and awaken people, extreme statements were made without
apology, but they were made deliberately extreme. To take
these polemical statements at face value, while dismissing the
more private reservations or contrary actions as less fundamen
tal, strikes me as one-sided.
In conclusion, Lin sees the cultural-intellectualistic
approach and the iconoclastic totalism of these May 4th thinkers
as preventing them t'tlom making a genuine breakthrough toward
a creative transformation of Chinese tradition into a genuinely
modem and genuinely Chinese cultural identity. He suggests
almost parenthetically at the end that Mao, too, for all his
accomplishments, may have been subject to some of the same
limitations as the May 4th leaders. Here again, one can point out
that for all his calls for cultural revolution, Mao himself was
deeply immersed in some Chinese traditions, as his poetry
amply illustrates. Wang Gungwu has rightly noted that Mao was
every bit as much a Chinese as he was a revolutionary Marxist. 3
What finally emerges from this challenging book is the fact
that the modem Chinese identity is not the one that Lin Yii
sheng would wish for China. He believes that in their totalistic
iconoclasm, modem Chinese revolutionaries have nearly
thrown out the baby with the bathwater. I would agree that the
relationship between China, its past, and the modem West has
yet to be resolved to the satisfaction of China's people and its
leaders. What I object to in Lin's approach is the implication
that the lack of a "lasting settlement" to these questions has
somehow been a function of "shortcomings" in the thinking of
men like Chen Duxiu, Hu Shi and Lu Xun. Because Lin focuses
so specifically on the logic and illogic in the thought of these
men, he gives the impression that they might have found the
"lasting settlements" which eluded them, if only they could
have thought more clearly, or more logically, or more deeply.
Given the incredible social, political, and military pressures
which have been exerted on all thinking people in 20th century
China, I do not see how analysis of thought alone can hope to
account for whatever successes or failures there have been in the
creation of a new Chinese identity. More attention to these
pressures would, I think, give a more rounded and illuminating
view of the leaders of the May Fourth movement.
The Dewey Experiment in China is a workmanlike narra
tive of Dewey's two-year lecture tour in China, and the subse
quent efforts of several of his disciples to establish a Chinese
educational movement based on his ideas. Barry Keenan points
out (as does Lin Yii-sheng and others before, such as Maurice
Meisner and Jerome Grieder) that John Dewey's philosophy of
Shanghai Workshop, 1976. Photo by Paul Ropp.
experimentalism was developed very specifically in the context
of American (U.S.) thought and society. Dewey's educational
philosophy and political liberalism assumed a stable pluralistic
society in which everyone shared a basic commitment to the
American system. In the United States Dewey enjoyed a secure
academic position from which to exert an influence, expound
ing his gradualist refonnism through a variety of forums.
How ironic that Dewey should give his first lecture in
China on May 3rd, 1919. What seems surprising in retrospect is
how many young Chinese at that time took his ideas to heart and
worked to implement them through the tumultuous decade of
the 1920s. Keenan shows that a large part of Dewey's appeal in
China was due to the energetic efforts of several of his key
followers, especially Hu Shi and Jiang Menglin (Monlin), to
interpret his ideas and their possible applications in China to the
Chinese audiences of the time. In addition, Dewey was seen by
his Chinese admirers as something of a sage who embodied
modernity within himself, the "most advanced" thinker from
the "most advanced" country in the world. The enthusiasm of
Dewey's disciples, and their limited understanding of their own
society, made Dewey's experimentalism seem more relevant to
China than it really was.
Dewey and his followers placed unlimited faith in educa
tion to impart science and the experimental method to all
people, and to replace prejudice, ignorance and poverty with
tolerance, understanding and material progress. Dewey was
critical of rugged individualism and laissez/aire capitalism, but
he also rejected revolution, or violent approaches to injustice, as
too disruptive and emotional-even too "unscientific." The
only lasting reforms would in his view have to be slow, through
the gradual socializing and modernizing education of one gen
eration after another, until the whole society could realize the
promise of science, industrialization and egalitarian
In every case Keenan discusses, Dewey's disciples were to
make some early progress only to find their efforts frustrated by
the apparent impotence of educational reform. The administra
tion of Beijing University was "democratized," and a student
government was organized, with results which rather rapidly
exceeded Dewey's goals of moderate reform. Teachers' col
leges in Beijing and Nanjing became important centers of De
weyan influence, publishing progressive educational journals
and training teachers for north and central China. But Deweyan
educators soon found themselves dependent on warlord funds,
while their students became increasingly frustrated by warlord
governments and foreign imperialism, and less and less willing
to confine their energies to the quiet classroom. In the end
Dewey's disciples were caught between student anger and agita
tion against "apolitical" education and gradualist reformism,
and warlord (and later Guomindang) insistence that educational
institutions stay out of politics.
The most creative application of Dewey's ideas in China
was done by Tao Xingzhi (T' ao Hsing-chih), who rather quickly
perceived the difficulties inherent in Dewey's model. In follow
ing Dewey's injuction to experiment, Tao discovered that much
of the Deweyan model would have to be scrapped. Discarding
his scholar's gown and the institutional classroom, Tao began a
mass literacy program for peasants, and after the May 30th
Movement of 1925, * he combined literacy training with com
munity organizing, a "self-defense league," medical work, and
public discussions fostering patriotism and public awareness.
Tao came to ridicule foreign-based educational models as
foreign "eight-legged essays." In 1930 his work in Xiao
zhuang, a village near Nanjing, was forcibly tenninated by
Guomindang troops. It had become too threatening to the rural
status quo.
Keenan concludes his book with a discussion of Dewey's
political philosophy of gradual democratization through univer
sal education, teaching people "how to think." Dewey seemed
to suggest that somehow social problems could be eliminated by
reason alone. As long as enough people learned how to reason,
then all problems could be resolved. Keenan points out the
conservative implications of Dewey's educational and political
strategies, and notes that his ideas were not really successful
even in his own United States, much less in China. While noting
the importance of May 4th nationalism in instilling Chinese
students with skepticism toward such quintessentially American
philosophy as Dewey's, Keenan suggests that the ultimate im
potence of Dewey's disciples lay in their ignorance, and lack, of
political power. Keenan demonstrates in an educational context
what Lin Yii-sheng demonstrates in more abstract intellectual
terms: that the cultural-intellectualistic approach by itself could
not come close to solving the enormous problems facing China
in the 20th century.
Keenan's book paints a clear concise picture of John
Dewey's visit to China and to the educational efforts of his
closest followers. The book includes eighty pages of appendices
listing Chinese translations of Dewey's lectures, the dates and
topics of his lectures and writings while in China, and all the
available Chinese translations of Dewey's works. Keenan tends
to ignore the larger questions regarding John Dewey and China.
These include, among other things, the possible long-range
influence of Dewey's ideas in China; the relationship between
the educational efforts of the Chinese Communist Party and
such rural reformers as Tao Xingzhi and Liang Shurning; and
the possible relationship between Dewey's ideas and the experi
ments in Chinese educational policy in the People's RepUblic.
Keenan has at least laid the foundation for fruitful discussion of
these questions in the future.
In 1928 Ye Shaojun (Yeh Shao-chiin [Shengtao]), who had
worked as a schoolteacher and once been inspired by Dewey's
educational philosophy, began writing a partly autobiographical
novel, Schoolmaster Ni Huan-chih.
Published in 1930, Ye's
novel amplifies the themes of Keenan's analysis, gives a con
temporary Chinese critique of the Deweyan approach from
first-hand experience, and shows how Dewey's ideas were
applied at the rice-roots level of the village primary and middle
school. Because of its relevance to the themes ofthis review, the
story of Schoolmaster Ni-Huan-chi merits a brief retelling.
Ni Huan-chi is a young idealistic educator who holds a
succession of primary school posts in the decade following
1911. Although Ni enthusiastically sees education as the salva
tion of China, he is continually frustrated by lethargic col
leagues who see teaching only as a rice bowl, and by passive
students who have been anesthetized by traditional methods of
rote learning. In 1915 he finds a fellow-believer in education,
Jiang Bingru, the head of a village school 40 miles outside
Shanghai. Jiang and Ni see their school as a microcosm of
*The May 30th (1925) Movement was prompted by the killing of Chinese
demonstrators by British troops.
society, where students can learn by doing, and where the social
distance between classes can be broken down by teaching peas
ant and gentry alike the virtues of self-respect and respect for
others. Jiang Bingru looks forward to a school with "library,
hospital, shops, newspaper office, workshop, fann, concert
hall, stage" (100), where learning combines theory and prac
tice, work and play. 5
Ye Shaojun shows something of the range of attitudes in
the 1920s among educators, from the Deweyan idealists to the
hard-headed cynics, to the more or less incompetent teachers
who simply want to be left alone to dole out education as a
commodity for which they get paid a living wage. Ye also
illustrates the social obstacles to Deweyan style reform, quite
apart from warlord politics. Although Ni and Jiang work hard,
their students seem to tum out little different from the products
of conventional schools. When the school seeks to build a fann
on adjacent wasteland, the villagers are alanned that a few
untended graves are moved, for they fear the disturbedfengshui
and the aroused ghost!> will surely bring calamity to the village.
The rapacious local gentry strongman, Tiger Jiang, exploits
village sentiment for his own ends, attacking the school for
moving graves and claiming the wasteland is really his own, the
"lost deed" having only recently been remembered. The uproar
eventually dies down. Through the personal appeal of one of the
teachers, Tiger Jiang is persuaded to "donate" the land to the
school, which in tum promises to move no more graves. Despite
this resolution, notice has been served that the school exists only
at the mercy of local social and economic interests, and it must
be careful not to oppose too openly local social custom and
Although Ni Huanzhi is delighted with his new assignment
of supervising the school fann, there remains a gnawing uneasi
ness within him. He enjoys his work but sees few concrete
results. Social change remains almost imperceptible. Ni marries
a young idealistic girl who shares his hopes for educational
work, but she immediately becomes pregnant, turns her atten
tion to domestic concerns, and loses interest in larger social
questions. In the end Ni Huanzhi finds disappointment in both
his marriage and his work.
What arouses Ni from his growing depression is the May
4th Movement, through which he realizes that institutional
education alone cannot carry the burden of social change in
China. Ni's activist friend Wang Leshan, who is studying in
Beijing, tells Ni about Dewey's lectures there. Wang notes the
similarities between Dewey's ideas and those of Ni and Jiang
Bingru, but in his view, such ideas "only nibble at the,prob
lem." In the heat of the May Fourth Movement, Ni Huanzhi,
who has in effect been living out the philosophy of John Dewey,
is compelled to agree. Moving to Shanghai to teach in a girls'
school there, Ni is increasingly radicalized by warlord atrocities
and the May 30th Movement of 1925. Ni is by the
contrast between the timidity of most teachers he has known and
the fierce determination of striking workers in Shanghai. Re
flecting on the plight of workers and peasants, who seem far
worse off-but stronger-than people like himself, Ni con
cludes that he, the educator, must first learn from workers and
peasants before he can truly serve the cause of progress in
Despite his increasing attraction to revolution, Ni remains
frustrated because the revolutionaries he knows are not very
interested in incorporating his educational ideas into their larger
political program. Sharing his hopes with his radical friend
Wang Leshan, Ni is buoyed up by Leshan's strength and de
termination, but just at this point Jiang Jieshi's (Chiang K'ai
shek) April 27 purge occurs, destroying many of Ni's friends
and most of his dreams. Wang Leshan is put in a rice sack and
stabbed to death; Ni's favorite girl student is arrested and re
peatedly raped; and Ni himself soon contracts typhoid and dies.
Back in Jiang Bingru's village the gentry bully Tiger Jiang has
joines the Guomindang and is fully in control of the town.
Bingru has decided to move away to some "out of the way"
place, and to start a "new village" where he will lecture on "the
principles. of hygiene and household management. " He knows
that Ni Huanzhi would disapprove of such timid plans, but he
concludes the "people will always have to look after their health
and manage their homes," and this is at least a safe course.
Moreover, in his words which close the novel, "this is the only
road that remains open." (381.)
Despite sentimentality, its awkwardness as a pioneering
work, and its seemingly formulaic plot, Schoolmaster Ni Huan
chih is extremely revealing in it portrayal of the Deweyan
educational movement in China. By capturing something of the
passion, anger and violence of the 1920s in China, Ye reveals in
a dramatic and personal way the rather pitiful impotence of
educational reformers. Jie shows how the political and military
upheavals of 1919, 1925 and 1927 delivered successively more
powerful blows to the plans of liberal educators. Ye' s portrayal
of Jiang Jieshi's 1927 purge is particularly striking (all the more
so in contrast to Andre Malraux's much more famous Man's
Fate). It reveals what a terribly hopeless dilemma this now
One by one, over ten years' time, we have been selling
back issues of the Bulletin. For example, last summer
(1979) we sold approximately 675 back issues. If you
want a list of the available issues, write to us. In partiCU
lar, five (5) early issues which have been in stock for years ,
are now nearly out of print: ,
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created for all progressive anti-warlord forces in China. And
none were brought more dramatically to the end of their chosen
road than those who had worked for a non-violent solution to
China's many problems. The author, Ye Shaojun, allows Jiang
Bingru to survive and express hope for the future, but his plans
are to scaled down as to parody his earlier Deweyan ambitions.
Even though Ye has no answers himself, he shows by the end of
Schoolmaster Ni Huan-chih that the Deweyan educators la,cked
more than political power. They also lacked the political, social
and economic vision, the organizational talent and the determi
nation needed to bring about a meaningful transformation of
Chinese society.
Berkeley Journal
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A Critical Review Vol. XXIV 1980
Prospects for the Left in the '80s
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Jurgen Habermas on Marcuse
Tom Long on Western Marxism in the '70s
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a non-profit association
To reiterate, both Lin Yii-sheng and Barry Keenan have shed
valuable new light on the May Fourth Movement. While some
of their themes overlap (particularly in discussing Hu Shi's
brand of liberalism), the two books themselves are very diffe
rent. One is left wishing that Keenan had been more ambitious
in striving for deeper and broader generalizations, whereas the
opposite problems mars Lin Yii-sheng's work. Lin strives so
hard for deep and broad generalizations that he repeatedly
overstates his case. Together the two books may be said to
demonstrate the elusiveness of the dialectical relationship
between specific historical facts and interpretive generaliza
tions, and the difficulties involved in riding that dialectic skill
fully enough to raise the conceptual level of a field without
doing Violence to the complex facts. Yet the two books also
illustrate the consoling truth that history need not be perfect to
be useful. Lin may not always be right but he is always engaging
and provocative. His reader is challenged to rethink the basic
issues of the May 4th Movement, and to see more clearly than
before some of the continuing intellectual dilemmas in 20th
century China. Keenan sticks too close to the bare bones of his
story for my tastes, but with a more modest goal than Lin, he
fulfills it more easily, and lays out the necessary groundwork
from which the more daring tasks of broad conceptualization
could still be done. I hope he will take up the challenge. '*
I. Lucien Bianco, Origins of the Chinese Revolution. 1915-1949 (Stan
ford: Stanford University Press, 1971), p. 39, n. 17.
2. Charlotte Furth, "Culture and Politics in Modem Chinese Conserva
tism," in Furth, ed., The Limits ofChange: Essays on Conservative Alternatives
in Republican China (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1976),
3. Wang Gungwu, "The Chinese," in Dick Wilson, ed., Mao Tse-tung in
the Scales of History (Cambridge, New York, 'London and Melbourne: Cam
bridge University Press, 1977), pp. 272-99.
4. Yeh Shao-chiin, Schoolmaster Ni Huan-chih. trans. by A. C. Barnes
(Peking: Foreign Language Press, 1958). I am indebted to Harriet Mills for first
bringing this novel to my attention, and for discussing its ideas with me.
5. Jiang's ideas, whether patterned after " Dewey , or Tao Xingzhi, or Ye
Shaojun, sound intriguingly similar to many elements in Maoist educational
philosophy. And one of Jiang's critics in the novel sounds not unlike Deng
Xiaoping: "Provide the right surroundings, they say, make the school into a
society in miniature .... All very nice it sounds too. But if they ever put it into
practice, what I think will happen is this: the standard of education will get lower
and lower, the boys won't be able to write properly or get their sums right;
everybody will be dabbling in this and that and flitting from here to there, trying
their hand at everything and succeeding in nothing. The school will become a
fairground and every boy in the jostling crowd will be a holiday-maker looking
for amusement; they'll come clustering in in the morning and drifting away
again when it gets dark, and all they'll do in between, day after day, will be to
waste everybody's time wholesale." (107.)
Prison Notes
by FangPao
Translated by Moss Roberts
When the time comes for a sentence of death to be carried
out, the executioner stations himself outside the gates of the
execution grounds and sends in one of his henchmen to ask for a
bribe. If the condemned is wealthy, they approach his relatives;
if not, they discuss it with him face to face.
For the most extreme form of execution, they say, "Go
along with us and we will pierce your heart at once. Otherwise
we'll hack off the limbs first, while your heart is still alive. " If
strangulation has been decreed, they say, "Go along with us and
your breath will be gone at the first twist. Otherwise there will
be three twists and other implements applied before you reach
death. "
Only in cases of treason can there be no requests. Even then
they will ransom the head. The rich will pay dozens or even one
hundred pieces of silver for it. And the poor, too, will strip
themselves clean. If there is absolutely no money for bribes,
then the executioners deal with the condemned as they have said
they would.
Those in charge of tying up the prisoners are no different. If
a prisoner does not do what they want, they break his ribs as
soon as they tie him up. Every winter there is a genera) execu
tion. Of any ten men, three or four are marked for execution,
and six or seven are spared. All are bound and taken to the west
market to await their destiny. Prisoners who have the good
fortune to be spared, but who receive injuries while they are
bound, do not recover for months or even come out of it
Once I said to an experienced executioner, "The prisoners
are not your personal enemies; you're simply hoping to get
something out of them. So if they really have nothing to give,
wouldn't it be just human kindness to let them have it a little
easier at the end?"
"The fact is," he replied, "the law is designed to warn
others, and to deter those who come later. Otherwise men would
become more willing to take chances." Those in charge of
confinement and beating said the same thing.
When I was in prison, three fellow convicts were being
tortured. One paid a bribe of twenty pieces of silver, and the
torturers warped his bones slightI y. His pains lasted for a month.
One gave forty pieces of silver, and the torturers bruised his
skin. He was better in twenty days. But the third man gave
eighty pieces of silver and he was walking around the same as
.. Fang Pao (1668-1749), a noted scholar, was imprisoned by the Qing govern
ment in 1711 in connection with a case of pro-Ming sedition.
ever that evening.
Someone said to the torturers, "The prisoners are not equal
in their ability to pay. Since you get something from each, why
must the treatment vary according to how much you get?"
"Who would give more, then?" they said.
How true the words of Mencius: "One must be so cautious
about one's craft. "
In the penal department there is an old-time officer who
keeps false documents at home. If you scrutinize the papers that
come from his department, you can find a great many that have
been altered. Key words have been cleverly added or taken out,
although the men who carry out the orders never seem to notice.
Of course, the officer would never dare alter papers sent to his
superiors or to other departments.
The regulations specify that major criminals, excepting
murderers, are not to be executed as a group. Only one or two of
the ringleaders must die immediately. The others must undergo
the autumn assizes, where their punishment is reduced to exile.
When the sentences come down, they name some who ae
to die at once. The man who will perform the execution waits
outside the gates to the grounds. The moment the orders arrive,
the bound prisoner is brought out; no time is wasted.
There were two brothers who were to be executed im
mediately for embezzlement in the public granaries. When
everything was ready, an officer said, "Give me a thousand,
and rIllet you live." When they asked what his angle was, he
explained, "It's nOI difficult. I have another document with the
identical sentence on it, and I'll fill in the names of two other
men involved in the case who have no families. When the report
is sealed, all I have to do is make a few quiet changes. "
Another guard said, "This may fool the dead, but you can't
fool the higher-ups. If they look into it, we're done for!"
The officer smiled and said, "If they do we're done for and
they will be thrown out of office! For the lives of two men they
are hardly going to give up their posts. So there's never any
danger. "
The exchange was actually made, and two lesser criminals
were executed. Those in charge of the executions asked no
When I was in prison myself, I knew of a certain Mr. W.
whom the prisoners all referred to as one whose "head was
traded for someone else's. ' ,
When prison officers or guards die suddenly at night,
"* people say it is a judgment from the world of the dead.
KELANTAN 1838-1969, by Clive S. Kessler. Ithaca
Short Reviews: Malaysia and London: Cornell University Press, 1978. pp. 274.
US $15.
by Lim Mah Hui
Clive Kessler's book is a breath of fresh air in the world of
pedestrian writings on Malaysian politics and history. Kessler's
work is not that of the typical anthropologist; he is not content
with an ethnographic study of a small village. While dealing
with a particular locale, Jelawat, and a town of 254 households,
the author has managed to link local politics and economics to
national politics, to religion and to history in the most fascin
ating manner. His work also raises critical questions about the
relationship between cultural cum ideational and material fac
tors, and between ethnic and class relations. Each chapter is
well related to other chapters, rich in facts, yet well-organized.
However, it is not easy to cut through the morass of details,
names of people and places to see the broad strokes in the book.
This is made more difficult by the structure of his writing which
is filled with long sentences with innumerable punctuations.
The book is an excellent example of the need for an
historical approach to the understanding of contemporary real
ity. Kessler begins with a particular puzzle, i.e. how does one
understand the politics of PMIP (Pan Malayan Islamic Party) in
Kelantan? In the introduction, he voices his discontent with the
prevailing writings in which most authors explain PMIP in
terms of primordial feelings such as religious fanaticism, and
which are usually ahistorical and non-holistic. Kessler then
seeks to redress the balance by looking at the historical origins
and the social and economic bases for the conflict between
PMIP and UMNO (United Malay National Organization). Three
historical periods can be demarcated in Kelantan politics, namely
the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial periods.
Pre-colonial politics was the politics of court intrigues,
"one long record of plots and assassinations arising out of
quarrels between members of the reigning family." (40) It was a
story of the ruler attempting to centralize his control over the
various chiefs of the state, and of the resistance encountered.
Although the persona dramatis were the princes and chieftains,
the effects of court politics were not confined to the court
circles. It affected the livelihood of the peasants tremendously
as illustrated by the Malay saying: "Gaja sarna gaja berjuang,
pelanduk mati ditengah-tengah." (When elephants fight, the
deer die by the wayside.) Kessler shows that the attempts of
Sultan Muhammad II to centralize the civil and religious ad
ministration led to a dramatic decline in agricultural productiv
ity and in the independence of the peasantry, an increase in
peasant tenancy and amassment of wealth by the aristocrats (64
by P. Ramasamy
Good critical scholarship, like revolution, basically stems
from certain dissatisfactioQs and inertia. In this regard, Clive
Kessler's book is no exception. nrejects the positive reduction
ist tendencies of Anglo-American scholarship and instead opts
to study an Asian setting by examining the dynamic interplay of
the material and ideal existence of human conditions. Specif
ically, this study 1 examines the political success of the PMIP
(Pan Malayan Islamic Party)2 in the rural township of lelawat in
the State of Kelantan, West Malaysia. At the outset, Kessler
abandons the very common theme found in the political litera
ture on Malaysia that the PMIP's success is based on religious
conservatism and xenophobia. Overall, the book is excellent,
well-written, and without doubt adds a new dimension to the
study and analysis of peasant politics in Southeast Asia and
Malaysia in particular. However, as we will observe later, some
problems emerge.
The greatest asset of this book lies in its attempt to establish
the historical linkages between the town and the countryside, a
hitherto neglected aspect in most anthropological and sociolog
ical studies. Thus, the first quarter of the book is geared to the
explication ofKelantan's historical development mainly associ
ated with the town (Kota Bham), which Kessler rightly argues is
crucial to the proper understanding of contemporary Kelantan
ese politics. These historical developments were the pre-colo
nial succession disputes between members of the Kelantanese
aristocracy, the imposition of British colonial rule, and the
subsequent centralization of the state's administrati ve and polit
ical structures. Once deprived of their political power by the
British, the Malay aristocracy turned to impose their authority
on the Majlis (Islamic administration, founded in 1915). The
British control of political power and the aristocratic domination
of the Majlis coincided to impose harsh taxes on the peasantry
which led to the decline of its political and economic indepen
dence. At the same time, the increasing monetization of the
rural economy subsequently laid the foundation of rural class
structure and the existence of exploitative relations.
Next Kessler focuses on the rural township of lelawat to
illustrate the socio-economic transformation that eventually laid
the basis of class structure under colonial rule. Since the aristoc
racy had the necessary political and economic connections
through its accommodation with the British and by virtue of its
control of the Majlis, the township of lelawat came to be
dominated economically by new settlers from the capital of
Kota Bham sponsored by the aristocracy. The arrival and the
Court politics did not affect only the countryside but also
the towns; lelawat is a case in point. The intrusion of the
newcomers from the capital, Kota Bharu was resented by the old
settlers in the town. This conflict continues until today, with the
PMIP representing the interests of the old settlers and UMNO
the interests of the newcomers, mainly the traders and more
recently the salaried officials who are members of the bour
geoisie in the town.
Colonial rule worsened the lot of the peasantry, who were
hit with heavier taxation and compulsory land registration.
Unfortunately, Kessler does not pay enough attention to the
reactions of the classes that were negatively affected, the peas
ants and the imams (local religious officials). Except for a very
brief mention of the Pasir Putih rebellion, one is left without any
understanding of the resistance of the victims.
Colonial rule also effected court politics in another way, by
reducing the civil and political authority of the Sultan which in
tum caused an increase in the Sultan's interests in religion, the
only arena which British colonial rule left untouched. The
MajIis Ugama or Religious Council was created in 1915 which
had the effect of strengthening the power of the Majlis and the
state while weakening the powers of the imams, the local relig
ious leaders. The imams were to become the staunch supporters
Pre-colonial and colonial politics preempted the lower
sections of the population-the peasantry and the Malay
educated and religious intelligentsia-from being legitimate
actors in politics. The introduction of electoral politics after
Independence suddenly opened the flood gates of electoral
power to the previously ignored segments of the population.
Now as never before, the peasants who hold over 80 percent of
the Malay electoral votes have become the center of attraction
for Malay politicians. Not unnaturally, the peasants whose
existence was adversely affected by the colonial and post-colon
ial UMNO rule, rejected UMNO in favor of the PMIP which
expresses the dissatisfaction of the peasantry.
While too many writers simply take the religious and
ethnic expressions of PMIP and UMNO politics as givens or as
explanations, Kessler does a wonderful job of cutting through
the surface of ethnic and religious politics to expose the class
basis for such conflicts. Land, according to him, is the basis of
the struggle for power for some groups and the struggle for
existence for others. In lelawat, 86 percent of the urban bour
geoisie are landed (93) and 75 percent of all houselrolds derive
income from land (99). The two parties reflect different econ
omic and social bases, especially after 1959. UMNO's sup
porters come mainly from the wealthier peasants, new salaried
officials and aristocrats, while PMIP draws its support from the
poorer peasants, the disaffected lower religious officials, and
the Malay-educated intelligentsia. The conjunction of interests
between the two different social classes in the PMIP indicates
that the PMIP cannot be dismissed simply as a product of
religious fanaticism, nor can it be regarded as a "pure" expres
sion of Malay radicalism. It is basically a populist movement
with a coincidence of interests between the leaders (the intel
ligentsia) and the rank and file (the peasants). In so far as both
are disaffected with UMNO, they share the same interest. But
beyond that, their interests diverge. The leaders of PMIP have
shown their opportunistic nature as when in 1972 they joined
settlement of these new people from the capital were opposed
from the beginning by the old settlers. In comtemporary lela
wat, argues Kessler, the new-comers have become the salaried
and the landed bourgeoisie, whereas the old settlers have mainly
remained peasants. When party politics emerged in the 1950s,
lelawat's latent animosities and conflicts were activated be
tween the peasants and the landed bourgeoisie. The former came
to support the PMIP and the latter the UMNO (United Malay
National Organization); thus, the PMIP's election victories in
the 1959 and 1969 state and federal elections may be seen as an
expression of the enduring tensions between the two classes
the peasantry and the landed bourgeoisie-that goes back to the
colonial days and continues to the present day.
The PMIP's victory in lelawat and Kelantan in general was
not due to its religious conservatism or xenophobia but rather to
its appeal to peasants. The peasants voted for the PMIP because
it represented their material and religious interests; the UMNO
was an instrument of the aristocracy. Since the PMIP, through
the state political machinery, had the monopoly of land jurisdic
tion, peasants realized that to vote for the PMIP was to their
interest. And furthermore, the PMIP handed land over to the
peasants under its own agricultural schemes. The peasantry
voted for the PMIP not only because it reflected their material
interest but also because it espoused Islam. To the peasants, the
PMIP represented the highest forms of Islamic action while the
UMNO subordinated religion to the pursuance of material ob
Kessler's thesis of the dynamic interplay of the sub-struc
ture and the superstructure in analyzing peasant support for the
PMIP has certain shortcomings. Of course, one certainly agrees
that his data bn the class composition of lelawat is highly
impressive, for rarely has any study on Malaysia (perhaps with
the exception of Husin Ali's work
) come up with such a
detailed description of class structure. But the mere existence of
class stratification is one thing and conflict emanating from
within this stratification is.another. And since Kessler is basi
cally dealing with showing the link between class conflict among
the peasants and support for the PMIP, one finds little or no
evidence in his argument to establish concretely this important
connection. What he does is to assert this link by giving reasons
for the PMIP's support. Establishing data on the class structure
and then going on to provide reasons for party support is hardly a
method to capture the dynamics of conflict and its conse
quences. One only wishes that Kessler had gone deeper into this
section and come up with much more rigorous analysis.
Class struggle finds multiple expressions in the course of a
nation's history. Kessler's reduction of peasant support to the
PMIP alone can be held to some extent suspect. He definitely
overlooks the historic role of the MCP (Malayan Communist
Party) and its relationship with the Malay peasantry. In recent
years, the MCP has done a remarkable task of finding ways and
means to incorporate the Malay peasantry without which, the
MCP knows, liberation can never be achieved in Malaysia.
Malcolm Caldwell and others have brilliantly argued that the
MCP in recent years, operating from its base in Southern Thai
land, has gained peasant support, especially from the rice bowl
states of Peninsular Malaysia.
Of course, further investigation
and study are needed on the nature and role of the MCP, but it
Lim Mah Hui
with UMNO in the Barisan National (BN), a new party of
smaller opposition parties and the present ruling party. While it
may be true, as Kessler argues, that the alliance of PMIP with
UMNO was a long-time strategy of its leaders, the entry into BN
in 1972 was due more, I think, to opportunistic rather than
long-term, calculated factors. * Furthermore, the corruption and
nepotism that have plagued the leaders ofPMIP are well known
to ordinary people. The opportunism exhibited by the PMIP
leaders may have shown the Malay peasants that the PMIP is a
false start for them in Kelantan. This, perhaps, is the reason for
the disastrous defeat of the PMIP in Kelantan in the 1978
elections. The failure of the PMIP, the dramatic comeback
staged by UMNO in 1978 and the rising tide of religious move
ments, notably the Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM),
raise a number of interesting and significant questions for Kes
sler's work. Hopefully, he will be able to carry his research
further. *
*See Mansor Marican .. The Political Accomodation of Primordial Parties:
DMK (India) and PAS (Malaysia)." Ph.D. thesis. University of British Colum
bia, 1976.
Time Conversion Table (hr.)
Adelaide +2
5.30 Malay Baghdad -4Y2

6.15 Mandarin Bangkok
6.50 Tamil Brisbane
Cairo - SYl

Afternoon and Evening
Chicago +
12.00 Malay Delhi -2
12.45 Mandarin
Hong Kong
1.20 Tamil
5", Jakarta - Yl
2.05 Kwangsi , Q
Karachi - 2Y2
2.20 Teochew
London - Jrl

5.00 English E
Malaya +0
5.40 Hokkien
.. Manila
6.00 M .. lilY
.. Melbourne + 2Yl
6.45 Hakka
New York + llY2
7.00 H.'lanese
.. Paris
7.20 Tamil E' Peking +\12
8.15 Malay
;N .-
+ Y2
9.00 Mandarin
San Franciso + 812
9.35 Tamil
Sydney +2V2
10.20 English
Wellington + 4}S
Note: Adjust to summer tIme where appltcab/e
nonetheless does not mean that one can totally dismiss the MCP.
And finally, Kessler's discussion of the role of the imam
(religious functionary in the countryside) within the context of
power struggle between the PMIP and the UMNO over the
control of the Majlis leaves us with some queries. From the time
of its creation the Majlis was an instrument of aristocratic
control (which later carne to be embodied in the UMNO) except
for a short period between 1959 and 1964, when the PMIP
gained ascendancy. Since the Majlis had been responsible for
reducing the independence of the imam through a series of laws,
one might have assumed that during the short period of the
PMIP's control over the Majlis, the imam would have benefit
ted. For the PMIP, at least, this would have been a logical step
because the imam was the link to the peasantry-the base ofthe
PMIP's support. In reality, however, this was not so. As to why,
Kessler merely says the following: ". . . with its control of the
Majlis under attack, it could neither refuse nor accede to the
demands of imam . .. " (p. 199). It would have been most
desirable had Kessler gone further and cleared up the whole
issue with further substantiation. But he does not, and we are
faced with the following questions: I) What is the real signifi
cance of the role of the imam in the countryside? 2) What is the
imam's relationship with the peasantry? 3) What is the PMIP's
relationship with the imam? 4) To what extent has the former
looked at the latter as a link in mobilizing peasant support? And
5) What is the role of the PMIP's elites in the Majlis? Further
investigation and study of Kelantan's complex social, econom
ic, religious and political change will perhaps elucidate the
above questions.
Whatever the book's limitations, it is a highly welcome
contribution to the study of peasant politics in the Third World.
Kessler's historical investigation of Kelantan and the subse
quent account of the interaction between religion and class
structure in influencing politics is worthy of appreciation. Un
questionably, Kessler has engaged in a very difficult endeavour
and has given us a perspective from which future studies on
peasant politics can embark. Scholars interested in Malaysian
politics and who liave been accustomed in the past to a bour
geois interpretation of politics might find in Kessler's book a
radical new approach. *
I. I am grateful to Professor Sam Moumoff of McGill University for his
critical comments.
2. Today the PMIP is popularly known as the Party Islam or PI.
3. See Husin Ali's Malay Peasant Society and Leadership (Kuala Lum
pur: Oxford University Press, 1975) and Social Stratification in Kampong
Bagan: A Study of Class. Status, Conflict and Mobility in a Rural Malay
Community (Singapore: MonographS of the Malaysian Branch Royal Asiatic
Society, 1964).
4. The arrival of Malay: Model of a Neo-Colony (volume two) edited by
Caldwell and Amin will perhaps throw further light on the Mep's relations with
the Malay peasantry.
by R.S. Milne and Diane K. Mauzy. Vancouver: Uni
versity of British Columbia Press, 1978. pp. ix, 405.
Preface, Bibliography, Index.
OF NEW STATES, by Stanley S. Bedlington. Ithaca
and London: Cornell University Press, 1978. pp. 285.
Foreword, Abbreviations, Suggested Readings, Glos
sary, Index.
by Lim Mah Hui
The books by Milne/Mauzy and Bedlington have much in
common. They cover the same terrain, use identical methods of
analysis and share similar paradigms. Both the books are con
cerned with political events and development in Malaysia and
Singapore, beginning with a brief introduction to Malay history
that one can find in any standard history text but concentrating qn
the period after independence in 1957. While Milne and Mauzy
focus on Malaysia (although Singapore is included in the analy
sis until its exit from Malaysia in 1965), Bedlington's study
includes Singapore as an independent nation after the separation
from Malaysia as well as a brief section on the Sultanate of
The two books are written by political scientists using a
standard descriptive method. Events are chronologically and
faithfully narrated. As such one can neither find much to dis
agree with nor much to be excited about. They are valuable in so
far as they provide the reader useful descriptive material on
political development in the societies studied, but they contri
bute little by way of a comprehensive and satisfactory explana
tion of social history and social change. Nevertheless, behind the
descriptive information are a set of implicit assumptions and
paradigms which guide the authors of the two books in their
attempt to explain what they perceive to be the major problem in
Malaysia, and to a lesser extent in Singapore, namely, the
existence of ethnic conflicts in society and the obstacles faced in
nation building. In the words of Milne and Mauzy:
Much ofthis book has been concerned with problems arising
from ethnic division in Malaysia. Plainly, the road to build
ing a Malaysian nation will necessarily be a long one. (p
And Bedlington:
... both [Malaysia and Singapore] have embarked upon
ambitious programs of rapid social and structural change
known collectively as state building. In Malaysia and Singa
pore, this process centers upon domesticization (if not the
eradication) of an abiding set of ethnic conflicts and will be
thefocus ofthis study. (p. 19)
If the two books are to be evaluated in terms of the main
objective which they set for themselves, i.e. the explanation of
ethnic conflict in society, they do not receive high ratings. Their
analyses hardly go beyond a mere description of events that lead
to ethnic conflicts. On the rare occasion where some attempts
are made to explain the problem in terms of a theoretical frame
work, we detect the use of three commonly used paradigms, the
pluralist paradigm, the cultural paradigm and consociational
politics paradigm.
The pluralist paradigm is used to explain the origins and
persistence of ethnicity. Some attention is given to economic
facts, but for the most part, cultural, linguistic, religious and
racial differences are seen as fundamental in the creation of
ethnic divisions and antagonisms. Hence Milne and Mauzy
depict Malaya as "an extreme example of a plural society"
where such ethnic divisions are regarded as "natural" and not
the result of any colonial policy (pp. 23-24). While it is oversim
plified and to some extent erroneous to explain ethnic division in
Malaya as a conspiratorial divide-and-rule policy of British
government, it is equally erroneous to ignore the negative con
sequences of colonial rule which objectively allocated different
economic functions to the different races.
The economic backwardness of the Malays is often ex
plained in predominantly cultural terms. Bedlington sees the
modernization ofcertain cultural and religious values among the
Malays (without causing total rootlessness) as the fundamental
issue facing them; whereas "there is no such problem with the
Chinese, at least as it relates to value change, for the community
has made the transition from traditionalism to modernity with a
minimum of social upheaval. " Instead the "Chinese problems
lie in other areas, ambivalent political attitudes toward the
Malaysian state being of the greatest saliency. "(p. 125)
Finally, consociational politics-elite bargaining and
compromise among the different ethnic communities-is seen
as the way in which ethnic conflict has been contained. How
ever, the frequent outbreak of ethnic violence in these two
societies has posed a challenge to this paradigm. While Bedling
ton is not too clear as to what alternative paradigm he upholds,
Milne and Mauzy take the view of writers like Huntington and
Esman who see demobilization, the limitation of political par
ticipation and the existence of authoritative institutions as nec
essary for political stability in such societies (p. 382).
The theoretical weakness of Milne and Mauzy's book is
somewhat compensated for by the rich detail that they provide
on Malaysian political development, particularly after the May
1969 riots. In this connection, Chapters 5, 7 and lO are the most
significant in the whole book; the authors present up-to-date
information on die events leading to and the the consequences of
the May 1969 riots, the most significant watershed in con
temporary Malaysian politics. Among the most important rev
elations are: the changes brought about in the leadership and
policies of the ruling party, particularly the United Malay Na
tional Organization (UMNO); and the schisms besetting UMNO
beginning with the replacement of the Tunku Abdul Tahman by
Tun Razak as the Prime Minister and continuing with the strug
gle between Tun Razak and Date Hussein Onn on the one hand
and Dato Harun, the Chief Minister of Selangor state on the
other hand. The New Economic Policy with its proliferation of
state enterprises has also produced conflicts not only with non
Malays but also conflicts with small Malay businessmen who
feel disadvantaged.
Chapters I to 4 offer a very straight-forward description of
Malaysian history up until 1969. In fact, the first three chapters
contain material taken from Milne's earlier book with the same
title. Three other chapters are organized around particular top
ics. Chapter 6 deals with Federal-State Relations, showing the
disproportionate power of the Federal government vis-a-vis the
state, both de jure and de facto. In Chapter 8, the authors
describe the workings of the formal organs of the Malaysian
government which include the legislature, the cabinet, the Mon
archy, the civil service 'the .local government and the judiciary.
Chapter 9 surveys the changing foreign policy of the Malaysian
government, from one that was strongly anti-communist under
the Tunku Abdul Rahman regime to one that seeks detente with
communist regimes and is more informed by realpolitik. Do
mestically, however, since the regime continues to define its
main threat as coming from the communists, it suppresses that
The last chapter of the book is certainly a disappointment.
It makes no attempt either to summarize the major arguments or
to give a coherent picture to the book. Instead it is a rambling
discussion of a potpourri of topics ranging from the political
style of incumbent leaders to the question of national unity and
Bedlington offers essentially a similar menu to the readers.
It is less comprehensive in its discussion of Malaysia but makes
up for it by including Singapore and Brunei in his analysis.
There are four sections to the book. Part I deals with Malaya,
Singapore and the British Borneo territories that shared a com
mon history until 1945. It focuses on the impact of British
colonial policies and the rise of political consciousness among
the different ethnic communities in these territories. Nothing
new is offered in this section.
The remaining three sections of the book examine Malaysia,
Singapore and Brunei respectively, each section dealing with a
particular country organized under the topics of Recent History,
Contemporary Setting, Political Process and Major Problems.
(The section on Brunei, however, does not have such detailed
discussion.) In Chapter 2, the recent history of Malaysia is seen
Bus Stop. Kuala Lumpur
primarily as the emergence of ethnic consciousness, a result of
specific political events such as the Malayan Union proposal of
1946, the Federation of Malaya Agreement of 1948, the Emer
gency Period (1948-60) and the fonhation of Malaysia and its
breakup (1963-1965), all of which are related to ethnic divis
ions and considerations in one way or another.
In the discussion of the formation of Malaysia, Bedlington
has some new insights to offer based on his personal experience
as a British civil servant in Malaysia. Bedlington gives evidence
to challenge the putative view that Malaysia was formed basi
cally at the initiatives of Malay and Singapore, a position held
strongly by Milne and Mauzy who wrote:
Anti-imperialists have labeLLed the Malaysia scheme a
"British plot, " but this seems to be a gross exaggeration.
Britain was naturaLLy concerned . . . But the immediate
occasionfor the Malaysian proposal was the case put by Lee
Kuan Yew to the Tunku, and the actual proposal was the
Tunku's own, deriving from UMNO views held for some
time. (p. 57)
In contrast, Bedlington shows the significant if not promi
nent role Britain played behind the formation of Malaysia. It is
worthwhile to quote at length the British role in this episode
from Bedlington:
The concept ofMalaysia was first given a public airing
by the prime minister of Malaya, Tunku Abdul Rahman, on
May 27, 1961 ... This speech made it appear that the
impetusfor Malaysia came from the Malaysians themselves,
but my impression, based on conversation with senior British
officials at the time, that it is more probable that the
British government persuaded the Tunku to promote the idea
ofMalaysia ... (p. 103-4).
After this initial impetus which coincided with Malaya's
and Singapore's own motives, the British mounted campaigns
to implement the proposal. A commission led by Lord Cobbold,
then governor of the Bank of England, travelled throughout
Sabah and Sarawak in 1962 to ascertain the wishes of the local
population. Of this commission, Bedlington writes:
Despite its "joint" nature, the commission was, as I
personaLLy became aware, a British contrivance, activated
and organized by British officials. Prior to (and indeed
foLLowing) the visit of the commission the population of
Sabah and Sarawak was subjected to sustained pressure by
British colonial officials . .. to accept merger with Malaysia.
British officials ofaLL government departments were instructed
to leave their offices, eschew paper work, and tour their
respective areas of responsibility, "selling," as it were,
Malaysia to the peoples therein. (p. 105)
The material in Chapters 3 (The Contemporary Setting)
and 5 (Major Problems) tends to overlap, dealing with the issues
of economic inequality, national identity, and education. Chap
ter 4, on The Political Process, covers in a condensed fashion
what is found in Milne and Mauzy's discussion of the various
aspects of politics in Chapters 6-9 of their book.
The same organizational structure is followed in studying
Singapore. While Bedlington finds the problem of ethnicity to
be less pressing in Singapore, the country is beset, first, by
economic vulnerability because the nation is completely depen
dent on the international economy for her survival, and, second,
by the problem of creating a national identity which it histori
cally never had.
A striking feature of Bedlington's as well as Milne and
Mauzy's book is the absence of any conclusion at the end of
each chapter or an overall conclusion tying the main arguments
of the book together. This, I believe, is a consequence of the
highly descriptive approach adopted by the authors which does
not lend itself easily to a directed and major thrust other than
what has been narrated. If theory is not a strength of these
books, they at least serve as a useful source of quick reference
for the beginning students of Malaysian politics. "*
IN lH.-all:eT,-IIQi!,
"U..I,..IDNS DCi a4A5 AND
NOT ONe CESNT ft'fI: 1l-IS
A general note about typographical and other mistakes in
the Bulletin: We are always glad to acknowledge any errors that
are likely to confuse or mislead. In all such cases, we request
your indulgence and wish to explain that we have neither proof
reading staff nor time or funds to mail galleys to authors who
frequently are scattered all around the world.
Errors appeared in "The Utilization of 'Surplus' Labor in
the People's Republic of China" by Jean W. Adams, Vol. 11,
No.4, Oct.-Dec. 1979, pp. 51-63.
I. On page 52, right column, 4th line from top, the minus sign
should be a "less than" sign (i.e., <). Thus, the sentence
should read as follows:
When the marginal product of some family workers is ap
proximately zero, <APt; the essential point is that
the family members who are surplus workers live, in effect,
on a subsidy when their own individual contributions to
output are less than their individual levels of consumption.
2. Throughout the first section of the paper, all the notations
using subscripts and superscripts were printed incorrectly.
There should not be a line between any of the subscripts
For example, APt.
3. On page 60, left column, second full paragraph, two lines
were omitted. The sentence should read as follows:
However, such industries are important in that they typically
produce inputs used for both capital construction projects
(such as shovels. wheelbarrows, baskets, cement, bricks.
and small irrigation pumps) and for current agricultural
production (such as chemical fertilizer, small walking trac
tors and transplanters, and simple hand tools).
4. On page 52, right column, first full paragraph, end of 3rd
line, several words were omitted. The phrase should be as
. . . rather than a wage that exceeds only their own current
contribution to production
5. On page 58, right column, middle oflast paragraph, .. state"
should be "stated. "
6. On page 63, footnote 30, a phrase was omitted. The footnote
should read as follows:
This statement is qualified because production teams may
have an opportunity from time to time to slightly diminish the
sizes of their work forces, for example, by recommending
some of their members for permanent work in commune or
county factories as the demand for labor in these activities
* * *
In Ben Kiernan's article, "Vietnam and the Governments
and People of Kampuchea," Vol. II #4, 1979, there are two
corrections. We regret having added in the editorial process the
phrase "and became critical of' to line 2 of the essay. The
intention was to clarify his conclusions at the outset, but IJen has
correctly pointed out that a) it suggests that he had not been
critical before (which is not true) and b) that he is critical of
Kampuchea when in fact he supports that country and its people
but is critical of the Pol Pot regime. Also in column 2, page 20, a
line was dropped in the typesetting of the article. That first
paragraph in the column should begin as follows:
Also in early 1978. a number ofdisturbing facts about recent
Kampuchean foreign policy became known: premeditated.
systematic aggression against Vietnamese villages from
early 1977, a period which also saw Kampuchean clashes
with Thailand and Laos.
In Anthony Barnett's article "Inter-Communist Conflicts
and Vietnam," Vol. II, # 4, Oct.-Dec., 1979, the word Kam
puchea was used instead ofCambodia. Some readers have noted
that in the original version in Marxism Today. Cambodia had
been used. The copy-editing change was made here solely for
consistency-the other two articles in Vol. II, #4 and two
others earlier in Volume II had all used Kampuchea-but,
given the controversy over the name, it might best have been left
as Cambodia.
In "Japanese Corporate Zen" by Daizen Victoria in Vol.
12, # I, 1980, Page 68, endnotes 18 and 19 were left blank. Our
intention was to write in the appropriate kanji/characters, but we
forgot to do so.
Finally in Vol. 12, # I, 1980, page 37, we printed a map of
South Asia that is out-of-date in certain respects: states in the
northwest and northeast of India are now different; the Maldive
Islands are independent, etc. While we regret the errors, we are
consoled by the fact that a map supplied us by the Embassy of
India in Washington, D.C., is also not faultless.
A Focus on
The Philippines