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State-Building after Disaster: Jiang Tingfu and the Reconstruction of Post-World War II China, 1943–1949

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 December 2018

Rana Mitter*
Affiliation:
University China Centre, University of Oxford, UK

Abstract

Post-World War II reconstruction in Europe and Asia is a topic of growing interest, but relatively little attention has been paid to the relief and rehabilitation effort in China in the immediate post-1945 period. This article reassesses the postwar program implemented by the Chinese Nationalist (Guomindang) government and the UNRRA (the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration), not just in terms of humanitarian relief, but also as part of a process that led to new thinking about the nature of the postwar state in Asia. It focuses on the ideas and actions of Jiang Tingfu (T. F. Tsiang), head of the Chinese National Relief and Rehabilitation Administration that worked with UNRRA. Chinese ideas for reconstruction in China were simultaneously statist, international, and transnational, and were shaped by high modern ideas drawn from Soviet and American examples. They were also influenced by China's poverty and wartime vulnerability, which made locally directed solutions more relevant in areas such as public hygiene. Success was unlikely because of the incipient Chinese Civil War and the huge demands of reconstruction on a state that was near-destitute, with a destroyed infrastructure. Nonetheless, its characteristics still bear examination as a first, tentative chapter in a longer story of post-imperialist and Cold War state-building that would shape countries in Asia and beyond.

Type
Moral Codes of States in Transition
Copyright
Copyright © Society for the Comparative Study of Society and History 2018 

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References

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2 Ibid., 531.

Ibid

3 I use this Romanization because it is widely recognized, but for other Chinese names, I use the now standard pinyin system.

4 The classic statement on this is Shumacher, E. F., Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered (London, 1973)Google Scholar.

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11 See articles in the European Journal of East Asian Studies special issue on relief and rehabilitation in wartime China, 11, 2, (Dec. 2012).

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25 UNA S-0528-0053, China Weekly Reports, 1944–45, E. T. Nash report on “UNRRA and Its Plans for China,” 21 Aug. 1945.

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39 Ibid.

Ibid

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41 Jiang Tingfu, “The Situation in China,” speech to Republican Club, Washington, D.C. ([?], 14 Jan. 1949), in MHD, vol. 21, 511.

42 Ibid.

Ibid

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44 Jiang, “Problem,” 531.

45 Ibid., 532.

Ibid

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Ibid

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Ibid

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49 Ibid., 399–400.

Ibid

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52 See essays in European Journal of East Asian Studies 11, 2 (2012).

53 Rogaski, Ruth, Hygienic Modernity: Meanings of Health and Disease in Treaty-Port China (Berkeley, 2004)Google Scholar; and Ferlanti, Federica, “The New Life Movement at War: Wartime Mobilization and State Control in Chongqing and Chengdu, 1938–1942,” European Journal of East Asian Studies 11, 2 (2012): 187212CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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55 Ibid.

Ibid

56 Ibid.

Ibid

57 Ibid.

Ibid

58 UNA S-0528-0053, China Weekly Reports, 1944–45, report by Price, UNRRA China Office, “Immediate Problems of Relief and Rehabilitation,” 23 Aug. 1945, 1.

59 Ibid.

Ibid

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Ibid

61 Ibid., 8.

Ibid

62 UNA S-0528-0053, China Weekly Reports, 1944–45, report by William J. Green, “Food Production in Liberated Areas in Kweichow and Kwangsi Province,” 25 June 1945, 11.

63 UNA S-0528-0058, Honan, 1944–1949, famine report by Raymond T. Moyer and Mildred Bonnell, 3 Nov.–6 Dec. 1945.

64 Ibid.

Ibid

65 Ibid.

Ibid

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70 Ibid., 3.

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76 Ibid., 406.

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77 McCord, “Welfare Survey.”

78 UNA S-0528-0009, Famine surveys, report by Enid Fisher, “Welfare Survey, Hengyang Area, Hunan Province,” n.d., ca. 1946.

79 Fisher, “Welfare Survey”; Matthews, “Welfare Survey.”

80 McCord, “Welfare Survey.” One li is about 500 meters.

81 Moyer and Bonnell, “Report,” 1–2.

82 Ibid., 2.

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83 UNA S-0528-0032, Lund to Edgerton, “Taiyuanfu-Shansi: Confidential,” 10 Dec. 1946.

84 UNA S-0528-0032, Grant cable to UNRRA Shanghai, 27 Nov. 1946.

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86 Zhang, Jiang Tingfu, 255.

87 Shenbao, 12 July 1946, cited in Zhang, Jiang Tingfu, 257.

88 Zhang, Jiang Tingfu, 258.

89 Woodbridge, UNRRA, 409, 412, 452–53.

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97 Jiang, “The Asian Half of the World,” speech at University of Washington, 16 Feb. 1950, MHD vol. 21, 544.

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