Who Owned More Land? Reappraising Landownership in Pre-1949 China—A Case Study of the Jianghan Plain

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On December 25, 1947, when Mao Zedong analyzed the national situation and the tasks awaiting the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), he said: “Although the proportion of landlords and rich peasants in the rural population varies from place to place, it is generally only about 8 per cent (in terms of households), while their holdings usually amount to 70 to 80 per cent of all the land.” Mao gave this address to encourage his comrades to keep working hard for a nationwide victory, as he continued, “Therefore the targets of our land reform are very few, while the people in the villages who can and should take part in the united front for land reform are many—more than 90 per cent (in terms of households).”

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