Author Archives: Henrike Rudolph

[Review] 李小尉《新中国初期的中国人民救济总会研究》(Li Xiaowei: Research on the People’s Relief Association of China in the Early Period of the PRC)

Li Xiaowei 李小尉, Xin Zhongguo chuqi de Zhongguo renmin jiuji zonghui yanjiu 新中国初期的中国人民救济总会研究 (Research on the People’s Relief Association of China in the Early Period of the PRC), Beijing: Renmin chubanshe 人民出版社, 2020. ISBN 9787010221021, 441 pages, 90 RMB.

Reviewed by Henrike Rudolph (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen)

In the 1930s and 1940s, refugees flocked to the larger cities of war-ridden China in search of safety, a steady income, or at least something to eat. Many returned to their villages or found work in the expanding industrialization programs after 1949. Others, such as disabled veterans, orphans, and impoverished peasants, still roamed the streets when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) took power. In the existing scholarship, we find diverging assessments of the extent of the problem and the need for state relief programs. While some scholars claim that urban poverty was a problem quickly solved by expanding industrial employment,[1] others argue that it severely affected the consolidation of the new regime.[2] Officially, social relief (shehui jiuji) targeted only those who fell through the cracks of the proposed production unit and commune system because they could not work and had no family to support them. However, especially in the early 1950s, large parts of the population were still affected by devastations of war or natural disasters and looked to the government for assistance.

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A Reader’s Guide to the Shanghai Library and the Shanghai Municipal Archives

by Henrike Rudolph (Research Assistant, Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg)

Shanghai has been an important center of political and cultural life throughout the 20th century and is, therefore, quite naturally a popular destination for researchers working on Republican China and PRC history. However, one can’t help but feel that Shanghai’s popularity among historians also has something to do with the convenience and friendly service culture of the Shanghai Library and the Shanghai Municipal Archives. Not only do they have very impressive collections, the staff at both institutions are also exceptionally helpful (especially in comparison to other local archives or libraries in China) making it just a great place to do research.
This is a short visitor guide for those not yet familiar with these institutions so that you will not waste any time and can get your hands on documents and books as quickly as possible.

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