The People's Republic of China: Who Should Own the Land
A document-based teaching unit
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This highly participatory unit gives students the opportunity to analyze the issue of proportional land distribution in China since 1940 by role playing each of the four major social classes of China in the 1940s and dramatizing the wide disparities in land distribution. They read primary sources depicting the impoverished state of Chinese peasants in 1947 and follow Mao Tse-Tung’s sweeping land reform movement by reading “Stone Village,” a fictionalized account of the violent turn that land reform often took. Students analyze an article in the Beijing Review, written by a farmer who became wealthy as a result of the “Family Responsibility System.”
Lesson 1: Whoever Owns the Land, Eats
Lesson 2: Eating Bitterness, Speaking Bitterness: Gaining Peasant Support for the Communist Revolution Through Land Reform
Lesson 3: The People’s Communes: Two Points of View
Lesson 4: The Family Responsibility System: The Return of Individual Household Management
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