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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: October 2019

4 - Repertoires of Land Reform Campaigns in Sunan and Taiwan, 1950–1954


Because the Chinese Communist Party had implemented land reform in the countryside and the Guomindang had signally failed to do so prior to 1949, the PRC in Sunan and the ROC in Taiwan staked much of their legitimacy on successful implementation of land reform in the early 1950s. Both presumed that land reform was popular and necessary as a base for development in the future and social justice in the present. But in neither Sunan nor Taiwan was land reform particularly popular or demanded from below; land reform was imposed from above by outsiders. In Sunan, land reform proceeded according to categories of exploiting and exploited classes developed in North China that had little to do with rural realities. In Taiwan, tenancy was already in steep decline, but the Guomindang felt it necessary to demonstrate that their peaceful and gradualist version of land reform was sharply different from the violent and extreme expropriation across the Strait