Li Lifeng, Nanjing University
Abstract: Following the founding of the People’s Republic, successive mass movements spread like wildfire across China’s urban and rural areas, setting the tone for the nation’s domestic politics until the late 1970s. Mass movements had already been adopted as an unconventional political strategy during the revolutionary era and continued to be practiced as an effective strategy of mobilization and governance long after the revolutionary victory. The mass movements of the CCP were characterized by mobilized political participation of the rural populace, direct intervention of the party-state in rural society, and the ubiquitous class division and class struggle. Taking advantage of mass movements, the party-state was able to mobilize the masses and realize rural governance more effectively and quickly, although they had difficulty in routinizing or institutionalizing their accomplishments. Conflicts naturally arose between the dynamics of social transformation and the normality of social operation since mass movements weakened the functions of the routine administration and increased the costs of governance.
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