North China famine revisited: unsung native relief in the warlord Era, 1920-1921

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This paper makes the case that in China's most severe food crisis of the first quarter of the twentieth century -The great north China famine of 1920-1921 -considerable life-saving relief was generated by three largely-neglected segments of Chinese society: Buddhist and other native charity efforts working along parallel social channels to the better-publicized missionary and international relief groups; the Republic's much-maligned military establishment; and officials and residents of the stricken communities themselves who were operating largely 'below the radar' of the distant, mostly city-based chroniclers of the famine whose voices have been privileged in the later history-writing process. Despite the recent fall of the Qing and the beginnings of a fractured era of warring between provincial governors, this paper suggests that communities in the increasingly neglected periphery of 1920 north China were significantly more viable and attentive to social welfare needs than has been previously recognized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)820-850
Number of pages31
JournalModern Asian Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2013
Externally publishedYes

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