Will the Boat Sink the Water?: The Life of China's Peasants by Chen Guidi, Wu Chuntao | | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
Will the Boat Sink the Water?: The Life of China's Peasants

Will the Boat Sink the Water?: The Life of China's Peasants

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by Chen Guidi, Wu Chuntao
     
 

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The Chinese economic miracle is happening despite, not because of, China's 900 million peasants. They are missing from the portraits of booming Shanghai, or Beijing. Many of China's underclass live under a feudalistic system unchanged since the fifteenth century. They are truly the voiceless in modern China. They are also, perhaps, the reason that China will not

Overview

The Chinese economic miracle is happening despite, not because of, China's 900 million peasants. They are missing from the portraits of booming Shanghai, or Beijing. Many of China's underclass live under a feudalistic system unchanged since the fifteenth century. They are truly the voiceless in modern China. They are also, perhaps, the reason that China will not be able to make the great social and economic leap forward, because if it is to leap it must carry the 900 million with it. Chinese journalists Wu Chuntao and Chen Guidi returned to Wu's home province of Anhui, one of China's poorest, to undertake a three-year survey of what had happened to the peasants there, asking the question: Have the peasants been betrayed by the revolution undertaken in their name by Mao and his successors? The result is a brilliant narrative of life among the 900 million, and a vivid portrait of the petty dictators that run China's villages and counties and the consequences of their bullying despotism on the people they administer. Told principally through four dramatic narratives of paricular Anhui people, Will the Boat Sink the Water? gives voice to the unheard masses and looks beneath the gloss of the new China to find the truth of daily life for its vast population of rural poor.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
What's most surprising about this expos of the Chinese government's brutal treatment of the peasantry is not that it was banned in China, but that it got past the censors in the first place. The authors-a husband and wife team who have received major awards-recount how, in the poor province of Anhui, greedy local officials impose illegal taxes on the already impoverished peasantry and cover their tracks through double-bookkeeping. Outraged peasants risk their freedom and sometimes their lives by complaining up the command chain or making the long and costly trip to Beijing, but for the most part the central government's proclamations against excessive taxation don't effectively filter back to the local level. The authors criticize the central government for its own heavy taxation and underrepresentation of the peasantry, though in much more measured tones than they fault the local officials. "Could it be that our system itself is a toxic pool and whoever enters is poisoned by it?" they ask. As Westerners look toward China as the world's next superpower, this book is a reminder that the country's 900 million peasants often get lost in the glitter of Shanghai's Tiffany's. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
This engrossing book is a dramatic sketch of a huge problem. China's successful foray into globalization succeeded in lifting perhaps 400 million Chinese out of poverty but also created a gulf between the prosperous and the poor villages. Chen and Wu, a husband-and-wife journalist team, set out in 2001 to survey the countryside in their home province, Anhui, which is neither rich nor extremely poor. The results, first published in a suppressed but widely read Chinese book, are devastating. Zhu, herself a longtime advocate of democratic reforms, here fluently translates four of the authors' stories. One exposes a local tyrant who, with no restraints from the Party, systematically overtaxes and bullies the villages. Others feature a courageously resisting farmer and an official who still honors Mao Zedong's slogan "Serve the People." Farmers (here for some reason called peasants) were classically the "water" supporting the rulers, or "boat." This book asks whether China's farmers can survive the onslaught of their new rulers. The authors do not offer a systematic analysis and do not seem entirely aware of the history of China's rural reforms, but their book is required for specialist collections and recommended for larger public libraries (books with the same title were published in the 1930s and should not be confused with this one).-Charles W. Hayford, Northwestern Univ., Evanston, IL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781586485399
Publisher:
PublicAffairs
Publication date:
04/24/2007
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
440,303
File size:
621 KB

Meet the Author

Wu Chuntao was born in the Hunan province of China in 1963. Her husband, Chen Guidi, was born in 1943 in the Chinese province of Anhui. Both come from peasant families. Wu and Chen are members and respected writers of the Hefei Literature Association.Mr. Chen received the Lu Xun Literature Achievement Award—one of the most important literary prizes in China. Both authors have received awards from the journal Contemporary Age for groundbreaking reportage.

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