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Guilty of IndigenceThe Urban Poor in China, 1900-1953$
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Janet Y. Chen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691152103

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691152103.001.0001

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(p.213) Epilogue
Guilty of Indigence

Janet Y. Chen

Princeton University Press

This concluding chapter tells the story of the encounter between agrarian revolutionaries and the urban poor and shows how the methods the Communists adopted drew on institutions and ideas that had developed and changed over a half century. Although the perspective of government authority dominates the source base after 1949, some recently declassified archival materials make it possible to look behind the curtain of propaganda. The chapter reveals how, fused to socialist ideology, the marriage of detention and compulsory labor became a potent combination aimed at harnessing the productivity of “social parasites” for the benefit of New China. And as old Nationalist winter shelters became new Communist detention centers, the urban poor found that in the People's Republic, as before, there would be no place for those who were guilty of indigence.

Keywords:   social parasites, agrarian revolutionaries, urban poor, Communists, socialist ideology, detention, labor, People's Republic

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