The Chinese Family in the Communist Revolution

The Chinese Family in the Communist Revolution

The Chinese Family in the Communist Revolution

The Chinese Family in the Communist Revolution

Excerpt

WHEN THE famed Communist general Ch'en I led his victorious troops into conquered Shanghai in the early spring of 1949, he told the apprehensive citizens of that city that China was going to see the "first real change" in two thousand years. Epitomizing the principles and programs of the Communist regime in China, his statement marked the distinction between the present Communist revolution and the political changes of the past.

In the past two thousand years of recurring dynastic cycles, of alternations of order and chaos, there had been a general continuity and consistent development of the institutional framework of Chinese society. There had been changes and innovations from time to time in Chinese history, to be sure, but they were generally limited in institutional scope and spaced at rather long intervals which allowed them to be gradually assimilated by the traditional institutional system. When any sudden change took on too drastic and extensive a character, it usually soon succumbed to the forces of tradition. Hence the frequent assertion that, for some two millennia, no major social revolution had successfully introduced extensive alterations in the basic pattern of Chinese society.

In the modern scene, the immediate vital effect of the Republican revolution of 1911 was limited mainly to the disintegration of the traditional system of central political control; there was no sweeping introduction of any new pattern of society. The subsequent four decades of the Republican period brought a gradual disintegration of China's traditional institutions and a rather chaotic beginning of a new social pattern, but these came largely by the spontaneous process of social . . .

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