Dr. Zhang published in the Journal of Asian Studies

Book review of Red China’s Green Revolution: Technological Innovation, Institutional Change, and Economic Development under the Commune, by Joshua Eisenman.

Dr. Li Zhang

Journal of Asian Studies, volume 78, issue 3 (August 2019), pp. 646-649.

(…) While making an important contribution to the study of the commune from the 1950s through the early 1980s, the book abstains from drawing implications for contemporary agricultural and rural development (again, see Schmalzer for a good counterpoint). Now that the inefficiencies of individual household production, low rates of investment in the countryside, and dramatic rural exodus are threatening national food security and social stability, the CCP has grown concerned and initiated various reforms to address these problems, which Eisenman demonstrates were previously addressed successfully through collectivization. Yet the government’s reduction of taxation on peasants and increased funds and social programs for “poverty alleviation” and “rural vitalization” are being promoted alongside a dramatic surge of capitalist social relations in the countryside, including wage labor and the effective privatization of farmland through the transfer of land use rights from poor peasants to wealthier farmers, urban investors, and agribusiness corporations. Eisenman could, and perhaps should, contribute more explicitly to a timely critique of ongoing capitalist transformations in China’s countryside.


The review can be found here.