Change of the Traditional Chinese Family Under the Communists

Fauteux, Richard
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
Throughout it’s history China has been periodically convulsed by uprisings and revolutions. Some were religious in nature and some were not. But most were anti-governmental in character. Those few that did succeeded in overthrowing the central government, while creating a new ruling elite, did little or nothing to alter the basic social structure of the country. Changes and innovations have been introduced but never suddenly. Those sudden and radical changes that were introduced usually fell to the powerful forces of tradition. “hence the frequent assertion that, for some two millennia, no major social revolution had successfully introduced extensive alterations in the basic pattern of Chinese society.” It was not until the Republican Revolution of 1911 that the recurring cycle of dynasties was broken. But again the same basic pattern of events occurred. The central government was replaced but no real effort at social restructuring was made. To be sure the Nationalists passed laws initiating social change, such as laws reforming the traditional marriage. There was however no real effort to spread these changes into the rural countryside. By and large the general rural population remained ignorant of any Nationalist laws concerning the traditional society. The changes that did occur were evolutionary in nature. That is to say, the changes were slow and gradual and not due to any governmental policy. It was only along the urban westernized elites that these alterations of traditional society took place.
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