BEHAVIOR IN PRE-1966 CHINA
I have described in the previous chapters the class system, the caste hierarchy and the interaction of class and caste in pre-1966China. In this chapter, I compare middle class families with their lower class counterparts in the upper and lower castes respectively, examining the impacts of the post-1956 occupational ranking and political status on family life, educational achievements and patterns of behavioral development on the eve of the Cultural Revolution.
In pre- 1966China, workers, poor peasants, lower middle peasants, cadres, soldiers, and red experts were all designated as members of the upper caste and were in theory the "masters" of the state. Nevertheless, they belonged to different classes and did not enjoy the same amount of economic benefits and social privileges. The upper caste middle class families and their lower class counterparts experienced different life paths and exhibited different norms and political orientations.
There are differences in material life between middle and lower class families in any society and so were there in Mao's China. Before the Cultural Revolution, the daily routine of most upper caste lower class children was to get up, eat, go to school, come back, eat again, go out to play, go home for dinner and finally go to bed. The Lunar Chinese New Year was an exception because the children could celebrate the holiday with fireworks and enjoy better meals. The regular daily diet of lower class families was simple, containing only meager amount of fish, meat and vegetables. Some lower class people were very poor and ate rice with salt or soy sauce regularly. Many male workers and peasants could only afford purchasing inexpensive low-quality liquor and