Making Capitalism in Rural China

Making Capitalism in Rural China

Michael Webber

This stimulating and challenging book explores the duplicitous nature of development in China. On the positive side, it brings longer and healthier lives; fewer children dead before they are five years old; more comfort and security from famine and disaster; more education; more communication; more travel; less war. But from another, darker perspective, development brings violence to some people – those who are in the way of the new things, those who cannot adapt to the new ways – and it threatens old knowledges, habits and societies as it disrupts old power structures.

Chapter 5: ‘May God Bless Our Injured Land...’

Michael Webber

Subjects: asian studies, asian development, asian geography, asian urban and regional studies, development studies, asian development, development studies, geography, human geography, urban and regional studies, urban studies

Extract

5. ‘May god bless our injured land . . .’1 A little after I first surveyed Beidaolaban, in August 2002, I was taken north onto the steppe to visit an old Mongol herder, Sang Jie, who lived in the village of Mandula. (Figure 5.1 locates the places referred to in this chapter.) Mandula is defined administratively as a village, but most people are herders, living in dispersed houses, 1.0–1.5 km apart, on rolling grassland. We spent a few days talking to a dozen families in the area about herding. When we left we drove east through Xisuqi county, where we dropped in on an old, widowed Han farmer for lunch. He was too poor to entertain us, but he did complain about news he had received about having to move off his land, go to a village 50 km away and raise a few cows. ‘How can I live off three cows?’ he asked. Ten km further on, a Mongol family were in their summer yurt: grandmother, mother, father and two young Source: revised from http://www.nmgch.gov.cn/smap.aspx?qid=4. Figure 5.1 Inner Mongolia: landscapes and places 125 M2819 - WEBBER TEXT.indd 125 20/12/2011 08:38 126 Making capitalism in rural China children. While the grandmother served milk tea, the father complained about a threatened ban on grazing on the grasslands. Sheep cannot live in pens, he argued; what did he know about raising dairy cattle anyway? A few weeks later I spent some days in the mountain range north of...

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