Sunday, December 27, 2009

All under Heaven

To answer whether there’s anything “socialist” left after the reforms, we need to clarify the major trends of the reforms. As shown in the documentary “All under Heaven,” we could see the process of decollectivization and marketization, which basically turned back to the time before those radical Maoist reforms. In this sense, the “socialist” experiments were gone. However, the “socialist” political structure was still there. Farmers still worried whether the policy would change again, as they have never been constant. Local cadres still need to balance between the government orders and local wealth, just as the one in the documentary said “to play tricks.” Besides these political elements, all traditional cultures, values and rituals sustained, as they did for thousands of years. It’s such a precious documentary to hear what Chinese farmers really thought about the reforms and their life changes. They were practical, frank and never lie. The documentary was shot in such a transiting time (1979-1981), which gave us a glimpse of what has been changed (back) through the reforms, and what has remained through all times.

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