The Transformation of Famine Relief in Modern China

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Abstract

Once afflicted by frequent episodes of famine, China—particularly the Chinese state—is growing in importance as a player in the overseas aid and development sector. This chapter examines four famines in modern China to shed light on the changing nature of state involvement in the country’s disaster relief during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, while also demonstrating the breadth and diversity of relief agency in the country’s past. It makes the case that disaster-relief principles and methods inherited from China’s early modern period were active well into the twentieth century before the social and cultural ruptures of the Chinese Nationalist and Maoist revolutions. It also argues that the statist model of today’s People’s Republic is not an essential characteristic of Chinese relief organization. Rather, the extent to which the Chinese party state will continue to assume a dominant role in the country’s reemerging civic and charity sector is, as in earlier times, a function of the political developments and struggles that lie ahead.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFood Insecurity
Subtitle of host publicationA Matter of Justice, Sovereignty, and Survival
EditorsMolly Anderson, Tamar Mayer
Place of PublicationAbingdon Oxon UK
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter9
Pages144-165
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9781138358850
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameCritical Food Studies

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