Reform Transformed the Countryside

Expert Name: 
Time Period: 
Winners and Losers
Video Info
Video URL:
Video Still: 
Homepage Thumbnail: 
Homepage Rollover: 
Video Thumbnail: 

Economic reform brought them from a primitive economy into the modern economy.

Home Page
Show Quote on Homepage: 
Flagged As Main Period Video: 
Video Transcript: 
<p>I was stunned to see the poverty in the countryside of China, and such a low standard of living. And the agricultural technology was not so different from what I saw in the museum. The tools they used were so backward...the economy, and the farmers barely made enough to keep their family going. It's just so poor. Their families and their village, and the area, so under-developed, it's really an education. And Mao Zedong sent us to the countryside to receive reeducation from the farmers, and I think that is a very valuable education for me, but at a very heavy cost. So, ten years, I didn't study high school. I didn't get a chance to study high school. I just graduated from elementary school and was sent to the countryside, away from my parents, from my sisters, on my own. So, that was an extraordinary experience for me, but I learned a lot about what the real China looked like and how people lived in the small villages. And after that, I went back from time to time to visit my family, friends and their children and grand-children. And just a few months ago, I went back again. Of course, after thirty years of economic reform, the living standard now is much higher than thirty years ago when I lived there. They made tremendous progress. In Yenan, when I was there, no running water, no electricity and people in that village never saw trains or airplanes. They had no idea whatsoever about the modern world. And today there is running water, electricity, school, hospital. Economic reform brought them from a primitive economy into the modern economy. And the rural economy integrated so much with towns and cities. So farmers' income is ten times as high as what they received thirty years ago. And the farmers all use televisions and mobile phones now. But when I was there, there was no phone, no video. So, it's very hard to imagine and the shock[ing] contrast between now and then.</p>
Location Name: 

Xu Xiaonian talks about visiting the town to which he had been sent for his reeducation after 30 years and his astonishment at how different the rural lifestyle is now.