“An Example of the Chinese Tenant-Peasant’s Life”
This episode is an appendix to episode 51, and consists of a booklet written by Mao Zedong describing the life of a tenant-peasant in Hunan. This episode should help you to concretely picture peasant life in Hunan during the period we have been discussing in the podcast, while also giving a short example of Mao Zedong’s practice of social investigation.
Most of this is Mao running down the income and expenditures of a tenant-peasant, and just the last few minutes of this recording are Mao giving his conclusions. If you’re good at hearing lists of expenses and income and extrapolating in your mind what that meant for someone’s life concretely, then this piece will help you. If that’s not you, this might get pretty dry pretty fast. Feel free to skip this episode if it’s not working for you.
Some units of measurement used in this document:
1 mu = .167 acre
1 dan = 100 liters
1 dou = 10 liters
A note to the text indicates that the use of the terms dan and dou is not consistent throughout the text.
1 jin = .5 kg
1 fen = .01 yuan (yuan, or Chinese dollar, is the unit of currency, so 1 fen could also be translated as 1 penny)
3,300 cash = 1 yuan
1 sheng = 1 liter
liang = tael (traditional unit for counting silver)
string = 1000 copper coins strung together through the holes in the middle of the coins
1 zhang = 10 chi = 141 inches
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