THE PEASANT, THE URBAN WORKER, AND THE RESIDUAL MIDDLE CLASS
Although Chinese industrialization efforts date at least from the turn of the century and have been intensified by the Communists, 80 per cent or more of the Chinese mainland population still lives in villages and is primarily engaged in or directly dependent upon agriculture. In considering Chinese life at the village level under Communism, then, we are dealing with the impact of Communism on almost 500 million people. Since the planned increase in industrial working force is likely to be matched by a rise in rural population, even complete success in the present Five Year Plan for industrialization is unlikely to change significantly the primarily rural pattern of Chinese society in the near future.
The Communist regime's policies of land redistribution, grain collection, and collectivization have been applied against a deeply rooted economic, social, and political village structure. Although a discontented peasantry is in a poor position to revolt against a totalitarian control system, the future of Chinese Communism may well be determined indirectly by the forces set in motion in the last five years in the Chinese villages. For Asia's problem is fundamentally the problem of an impoverished and overpopulated agricultural sector; and the Chinese Communists propose to solve the problem by industrialization. But Chinese industrialization as now planned hinges on an increase in agricultural output, both to feed a rising population and to finance requisite machinery imports; and other Communist efforts at collectivization, in the Soviet Union and eastern Europe, have yielded sluggish or even declining output, a result of the human response of the peasant to collectivization. A similar result in China may yield mass