Seniors’ organizations in China’s new rural reconstruction: experiments in Hubei and Henan
WANG Ximing (Translated by Matthew A. HALE)
NSC (the Chinese government's campaign to 'construct a New Socialist Countryside') aims to increase agricultural productivity, improve the rural environment, and promote peasant welfare (fuli).1 In order to achieve this goal, peasants must get organized. Since most young peasants leave the countryside to work in the city, elderly people have become the main agents of production and life in the villages, so peasant organization must involve the organization of the elderly. Experiments in NSC demonstrate, moreover, that the development of seniors' associations and the mobilization of seniors' abilities in rural governance (xiangcun zhili)2 are good starting points for NSC. NSC should, therefore, draw lessons from the experiences of seniors' associations in NRR (New Rural Reconstruction) experiments. This article describes the development of five seniors' associations in NRR experimental sites in Hubei and Henan as examples of how NSC might develop seniors' organizations and mobilize seniors' abilities.
Wang Ximing (王习明) is an assistant professor of rural sociology at Southwest Jiaotong University, director of its Western China Center for Rural Studies, and author of Senior Welfare in Rural Governance乡村治理中的老人福利 (2007) and Rural Governance amidst Social Transformation: A Study of Jing Village, Sichuan 社会变革中的乡村治理：四川井村调查 (forthcoming).
Matthew A. Hale is a student of anthropology at the University of Washington, translator of several articles by Chinese scholars, and co-editor of two issues of Chinese Sociology and Anthropology, on New Rural Reconstruction and the central China school of rural studies.