State and peasants in China

Image: Zhang Kaiyv


A study of the relationship between the State and peasants in the fight against poverty

This article examines the new form of state-farmer relations in the poverty eradication campaign and its implications for rural revitalization, using cases from poor villages surveyed across the country from 2018 to 2020. The study concludes that the attack on poverty eradication fully demonstrates a state-farmer relationship with Chinese characteristics, which is not the interaction and interplay of matters of interest under Western state-society relationship theory, but the “family-state integration” in which the state establishes itself as a family. and the family as a country.

The article is based on the theory of “State-Society” relations in the West. The article describes this relationship through the method of “connection” of developing rural industrial countries with farmers' businesses, the endogenous motivation of state-stimulated farmers to support villages and the construction of rural civilization. The work focuses on the aspect of “family and country as one”, which is conducive to maintaining and preserving the main position of “family” in rural revitalization.

In November 2015, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council promulgated the decision to win the battle against poverty, launching a full-scale “battle” to alleviate and reduce poverty. By the end of 2020, the battle against poverty had won a sweeping victory, with 98,99 million rural poor having been lifted out of poverty under current standards, global regional poverty had been resolved, and absolute poverty had been eliminated. This is a great achievement unprecedented in world history.

Based on this, document No. 1 of the Central Government in 2018 and 2021 proposed “to implement the rural revitalization strategy” and “to fully promote rural revitalization”, pointing out that “to revive the nation, the countryside must be revitalized”. Rural revitalization is a great task to achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. From poverty eradication to rural revitalization, the State has mobilized a large amount of human, material and financial resources to invest in rural areas, with active and extensive participation from all walks of life, and great changes have taken place in the agricultural economy, in rural society and the fate of farmers.

Political, economic and cultural mechanisms and their roles not only provide rich experiences for poverty alleviation and rural development, but also provide an excellent opportunity for us to deeply understand the relationship between state and farmers. Poverty alleviation and rural revitalization are two macroscopically different phenomena, but at the same time, they have social mechanisms that are linked to each other, such as mobilization and coordination mechanisms between the government and farmers with Chinese characteristics. These mobilization and coordination mechanisms are able to occupy such a large amount of development, flow and distribution of resources and achieve remarkable results, and their roots must be deeply rooted in China's deep and ancient social structure.

The analytical framework of this article is as follows: first, let us review the relationship between the study of peasant-state relations and Western theory of “state-society” relations, and examine the biases and shortcomings in the analysis of Chinese reality that this has led to. . Then, we explore the historical dimension of the state-peasant relationship in traditional Chinese thought and point out the characteristics of the family-state relationship contained therein. The manifestation of the family-state relationship in reality is developed mainly through empirical cases in the fight against poverty.

the maintenance of status of the family as the main business entity in industrial development and the way to help families, widows and patients with insufficient endogenous power show two different aspects of the relationship between state and farmers. In the economic and ethical dimensions of the family, the relationship between the state and farmers shows a high degree of integration, which is fully expressed in the practice of eradicating poverty.


Historical dimensions of the relationship between the State and the peasants

Economic and social development after the founding of New China was mainly characterized by government-led development. Since the reform and opening up, a series of reforms have been carried out in rural areas, starting with the system of household production contract liability, and the economic and social landscape of rural areas has undergone fundamental changes under the leadership of the government. In the final phase of the moderately prosperous global society, the state has made poverty eradication a national mobilization “battle”, reflecting the Chinese government’s development goal of “enriching some people and regions first” and ultimately achieving common prosperity, which is itself the embodiment of the characteristics of the relationship between the State and the farmers.

Poverty alleviation in China has always been government-led, which may be the subject of our analysis of the relationship between the state and farmers. On the one hand, the State formulates poverty alleviation and poverty reduction strategies, and overall planning and specific poverty alleviation and poverty reduction measures reflect the State's autonomy; on the other hand, the main body of poverty alleviation and poverty reduction policies are also government organizations at all levels, and the participation of social forces only plays a supporting role. At the beginning of the reform and opening up, the focus was on solving the problem of widespread poverty, and “eliminating development poverty” was the main line of poverty alleviation, and how to deal with the relationship between development poverty alleviation and protection of poverty was the main content of the poverty alleviation strategy.

Guangdong has taken the lead in proposing the "double target" approach, that is, "planning for the family and responsibility for the person", which is a sign that the developed regions have entered a new phase of poverty alleviation, and also highlights the government's position as the primary agency responsible for poverty alleviation. Since 2014, the “Battle for Poverty Alleviation” initiated by the central government has focused on identifying poor families and establishing cards for the impoverished rural population across the country at the end of 2013. All household identification has been carried out through the steps implementation, democratic deliberation, public announcement and examination at every level, and a national information system for poverty alleviation and development has been created for 128.000 poor villages and nearly 100 million poor people across the country.

The information system includes the family, income, causes of poverty and assistance measures of these poor families, which becomes the basis for the government to carry out accurate assistance and management. For poor families with established cards, the State has fulfilled the global task of eradicating poverty with the aim of achieving “two concerns and three guarantees” and uses “five lots” and “six precisions” by mobilizing offensively. The overall task of eradicating poverty has been accomplished.

“Winning the battle against poverty” is a directive issued by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council, which likens the task of the final phase of poverty alleviation to a battle. The last five years of the battle are unprecedented in terms of mobilization, coverage and political intensity. An important feature of poverty alleviation is that the later it happens, the harder it becomes. Since the reform and opening up, efforts to alleviate poverty have become greater over time, but the shrinkage of the poor population has become smaller and smaller, because the remaining poor are the group with the least ability to escape poverty.

For these groups, conventional poverty alleviation policies and measures are often powerless, and neither “blood transfusion” nor “hematopoiesis” will have significant effects. In terms of developmental poverty alleviation and whole village promotion policies at the beginning of the war on poverty, it is difficult for these “difficult families” to directly benefit from poverty alleviation, and the feeling of relative deprivation may increase, so it is necessary to adopt “unconventional” means to solve the problem.

According to China's national conditions, the only way to comprehensively identify the underlying poverty situation, precisely achieve target policies, and completely solve the poverty problem is to rely on state power. Before China started its war against poverty, the domestic economy was in a critical period of industrial and technological upgrading to escape the so-called “middle income trap”. We need to move beyond the perspective of economic development and put poverty eradication into a broader perspective of the relationship between state and farmers, so that we can make a more distinct understanding of the path of poverty alleviation and rural development in China.

In order to discuss the state-peasant relationship based on Chinese society and, to some extent, review the influence of Western theories of state-society relations, a historical dimension needs to be introduced. Most of the relevant discourses in China since modern times have discussed the traditional relationship between the state and the peasants in terms of domination under the influence of western theories, either by considering the state as the agent of the landlord class or as the representative of the patriarchal regime. .

If the discussion is based on traditional Chinese thought, the State-peasant relationship is essentially included in the discussion of the relationship between the family and the State. In traditional thought dominated by Confucianism, the most representative statement on the relationship between the state and the peasants comes from the Shangshu[I]: "The people are the basis of the State, and the State is solid". The Confucian theory of “benevolent governance” developed on this basis can be expressed in the words of Mencius: “A wise ruler should make the produce of the people sufficient to serve his parents and their wives, that they may be satisfied with life in happy years. and free from death in bad years. (…) For a house of five mu, if the mulberry trees are full, 50 people can be dressed in silk; chickens, pigs and cattle, without wasting your time, seventy people can eat meat; respect the teaching of the ziang order, and the justice of filial piety and fraternal duty”.

Both feudal states and empire in the county system were established as the ideology of the dynasty. Whether the people could live and work in peace and happiness became the yardstick for measuring the rise and fall of the state and the clarity of the dynasty. It is noteworthy that the core of benevolent ideology is to establish the status of “family” among people, and “people” as the basis of the state appears mainly in the form of “family” in benevolent ideology. The basic content is to allow people to cultivate their fields and trees to serve their parents, support their wives and support their families with filial piety. The relationship between the State and the peasants is expressed as the relationship between the State and the family, or the relationship between the family and the State.

The relationship between the state and peasants is highly consistent at the “family” level. From the point of view of the people, the State is the expansion of the “family” and is the maintainer of human order with the “family” at its core. “The foundation of the world is the State, the foundation of the State is the home, and the foundation of the home is the body.” The fundamental interests of the state and the family are the same, or there is no fundamental conflict between them.

Em The Fundamentals of Chinese Culture, Liang Shuming summed up the basic features of traditional Chinese social structure in three sentences, “integrating the state into social and human relations, incorporating politics into rituals and teachings, and unifying culture with morality”. The first sentence refers to the concept of the state among people in traditional society. So-called “social ethics” refers to family or quasi-family social relationships and the ethics behind them. Whether human relations are firm or not, and whether ethics are prosperous or not, it is a sign that a country's policy is clear. In traditional Chinese social thought, “filial piety”, as the “essence of virtue”, forms the basis not only of family ethics, but also of the state.

The goodness of the father and the filial piety of the son are the ethic of the family; “State” is seen as an expansion of “family”; “loyalty” is seen as an expansion of “filial piety”. As the saying goes: "A loyal subject comes from the door of a filial son", a person who is not filial to his parents cannot be considered truly loyal and patriotic. A society constituted by a “family” with sufficient supply and moral integrity constitutes the unanimous objective of the State and the peasantry. The family-state relationship is essentially an “ethical” relationship: the state allows people to support their families, parents and children are filial, and brothers and sisters are respectful; the state formed by such families will be permanent and prosperous. The ideal family-state relationship is “family and state as one”. On the one hand, the relationship between the family and the State can be understood in terms of the relationship within the family, where the peasants are the children and the State is the father, and the relationship between the family and the State becomes a derivation and extent of the parent-child relationship within the family.

The State treats the peasants like parents, with parental “unlimited responsibility”, and treats the people as if they were injured, while the peasants treat the State like children, filially obeying their parents, loyal to the king and loving the State. On the other hand, the relationship between the family and the state can be understood in terms of the relationship between the “small family” and the “big family”, in which each person takes care of the “small family” first and contributes to the “big family”. ” reaching out to others. “The State, like the “big family”, needs to take care of the many “small families” just as the “big family” needs to take care of the many “small families”, and there can be no “homeless” people.

This traditional family-state relationship and the concept of the state-family were formed and developed in China's deep and long history, and although they have gone through a century of changes, they still form an important basis for our understanding of the contemporary state-farmer relationship. . The process of change from poverty eradication to rural revitalization, which is examined in this article, clearly reflects the heritage and changes of the traditional family-state relationship in contemporary China. Empirical examination of this relationship also helps us to escape the drawbacks of the Western paradigm's overreliance on “state-society” relations and to develop a sociological analytical framework with Chinese characteristics.


Rural industry: the “coupling” of the State and farmers

From 2018 to 2020, we conducted a typical survey of poor villages in China for three consecutive years, covering 70 villages in 16 provinces in central and western regions, covering various aspects of village infrastructure, public services, industrial development and village assistance, forming a set of village-based cases of poverty eradication. The research in this article is mainly based on the cases of these poor villages.

In the practice of poverty alleviation, as these measures are carried out, there are levels and measures for farmers to move out of poverty. In general, the most effective poverty alleviation measures are building infrastructure and out-of-home employment. Some villages are rich in resources but trapped in poverty due to their remote location and inaccessible roads. A large amount of government investment in infrastructure, especially road construction, will usually have an immediate effect on poverty alleviation in these villages.

Transport not only solves the problem of outside capital, technology and market entry, but also drives the village's workforce out to work. This process can be seen in most of the villages in the case, where investment in infrastructure is the “pioneer” for poverty eradication and is a key feature of the state-led poverty eradication model.

From our 2020 survey of 32 villages in 14 provinces, these villages invested a total of 760 million yuan in poverty alleviation between 2016 and 2019, with an average of 24 million yuan per village. Among these inputs, inputs from the infrastructure category accounted for 40%, inputs from the livelihood security category accounted for 29%, and the category of production and income generation and other inputs accounted for 31%. Among infrastructure inputs, road investment for villages accounts for 58%, with an average of about 5,5 million yuan for villages, which is the highest proportion of inputs. However, while the effect of infrastructure investment and out-of-village employment on poverty alleviation is more obvious, they do not target these “difficult households”.

Farmers who can benefit from facilities and labor are those who have enough family work and the ability to go out to work, while the “difficult families” who can move out of poverty are mostly those who cannot. The sole workers in these households are unable to benefit from these government inputs because they are caring for the elderly or children, or due to illness or disability, and often have to rely on their contracted land to grow food. For this group, the most important step in the fight against poverty is to develop industries in the village, so that these families can have work and earn money without leaving.

Broadly speaking, rural industries include planting, raising, processing of agricultural products, service industry and many other categories. The development of rural industries is different from infrastructure, public services and job formation. It is difficult to depend only on financial and human inputs from the government, and it requires the use of capital, labor, technology and markets in accordance with objective laws. Rural industry is also different from urban industry. In the city, the government does a good job of attracting investment and maintaining a good investment, production and market environment, which can bring about the rapid development of the industry.

In the countryside, even if the government does a good job, the possibility that foreign investment industries can develop healthily is much smaller than in the city. Industrial development also faces obstacles in the rural economy and social structure, so in some places industries will appear “in a hurry and disappear in a hurry” and will be criticized for “forcing people to get rich”.

As for the development of rural industries, the traditional understanding is mainly focused on the “three deficiencies”, namely, lack of capital, lack of technology and lack of market. However, since the launch of the poverty alleviation campaign, the industry's production and market environment has changed a lot, and the flow of government and social capital has changed the “three shortcomings” of rural industry at once. From our survey data, in 2020, the average investment in the village's production and income category is more than 700.000 yuan, in addition to foreign and local capital investment, the situation has been greatly improved.

The biggest bottleneck in the development of rural industries is the lack of labor, which was the most abundant production factor in the countryside in the past. Whether to get out of poverty or to get rich, going out to work is the first choice of farmers. The labor force left behind in rural areas is mostly elderly and women, and there are very few middle-aged young male workers, while rural industries are generally labor-intensive and have high job requirements. Furthermore, the labor force left behind in rural areas mainly comes from poor or economically disadvantaged households, so industrial development is most necessary for them.

This brings a basic contradiction: industrial development requires labor-intensive inputs, and households that need to engage in industry can hardly afford labor-intensive inputs. This requires the “coupling” of the state and farmers to meet the needs of poor families without exceeding their capacity, a process that best demonstrates the changes in the relationship between the state and farmers in the practice of poverty eradication.

Gujia Village in Fuping County, Hebei Province is located east of the Taihang Mountains, at an altitude of about 1.000 meters, with poor transportation and barren land. The village has 147 households and 360 people, with less than 2 mu of arable land per capita and less than 1 mu of irrigated land. 90% of the incidence of poverty in 2013 made it an extremely poor village. After several years of poverty eradication, only four poor families were left when we surveyed the village in 2018. Government infrastructure, public services and worker training have played a huge role in eradicating poverty, but for farmers who cannot leave , the development of local industries is fundamental.

The village task force in Vila Gujia worked with the municipal government to explore the industrial development of the village, and between 2013 and 2016, project development funds allocated by the higher government were used to encourage farmers to plant apples, walnuts, edible mushrooms and raising pigs, sheep, mink and bees respectively, and about 1,2 million yuan of industrial project funds were invested, but these industries were not developed, except for edible mushrooms, which was considered a failed exploration. The success of edible mushroom also does not mainly depend on the strength of the village itself, but depends on the unified planning of the entire county.

Since 2015, the Fuping county government has been exploring the use of government power to develop a county-wide branded shiitake mushroom industry, forming a “high-input, large-scale, and organized” industrial development model. Specifically, the government finance platform invests in the construction of high value-added agricultural greenhouses and support facilities, leases them to large-scale private companies, and then leases them to farmers for individual operation.

In short, it is a model of industrial organization of “government investment, business management and farmer management”, where the government is responsible for capital investment, the enterprise is responsible for technology and market, and a park of greenhouses is assembled in each village, equipped with technical and procurement personnel, and farmers are responsible for mushroom cultivation. In the words of the local government, this model is called “six unified points”, that is, the enterprise is responsible for the shed, variety, fungus stick, technology, brand and sales, and farmers rent the greenhouse separately. There are 40 sheds in Gujia Village, usually a family rents 1,5 greenhouses, and the annual income can exceed 50.000 yuan. During the period of our investigation, Gujia Village was lifted out of poverty in this way and four of the eight returnees from the village are back to work in the greenhouses. Why is this complex organizational model successful?

In this case, the shiitake mushroom industry is a government project aimed at poverty alleviation, so we see that the government investment company is responsible for the capital investment. The construction cost of each shiitake mushroom shed is 250-300.000 yuan, and Fuping County has built about 4.000 of them in the county, with a total investment of more than 1 billion yuan. Each shed is rented to farmers for only 3.000 yuan a year, which is 1% of the cost of building the shed, so it is clear that the government does not intend to make money from the farmers.

However, as the municipality's greenhouses are leased to four large private companies in villages, as long as they function properly, government investment will also bring some benefits. The leading companies are responsible for the so-called “unified six”, the pre-production and post-production links are all contracted and through these processes make a profit. So why is only the production process left to the farmers?

The answer seems obvious: this is the part that farmers have left to earn money. But, as we've seen in urban industries, if these leading companies directly operate the warehouses and hire farmers to come in with labor, don't the farmers receive wages for their work as if they were working away from home? In the practice of poverty alleviation, wages are a more powerful and effective means of getting rid of poverty than operating profitably due to poor households' low business capacity, and it should be more profitable for leading companies to operate directly than to operate lease. So there must be another reason for the production link to be operated by farmers.

The real reason has to do with labor and delivery. The cultivation of shiitake mushroom is a typical labor-intensive industry, and the demand for labor inputs is highly volatile over time. Cultivation of shiitake mushrooms is divided into eight stages, including removing sticks and bags, releasing oxygen, injecting water, dredging shoots, irrigation and ventilation, picking mushrooms, sorting and selling mushrooms, and throwing sticks. Each stick produces five mushroom crops, and each mushroom crop plus the mushroom hatching interval takes about a month or so.

Most of the time in the middle of the production period can be done by husband and wife, but only bud scraping and mushroom picking need to be hired out. It is standard for a family of two to rent 1,5 greenhouse, with about 30.000 sticks and 6-7 mushrooms per stick, so the workload of scraping buds and picking mushrooms is very heavy, and the time critical for be completed only by family work. We saw at the shopping station in the shed area that mushrooms are priced by product, mainly divided into "bright white mushroom", "mixed mushroom", "black mushroom", "vegetable mushroom" and "sliced ​​mushrooms".

The best “white mushroom” is priced at 5,5 yuan per catty, while the worst mushroom is priced at 0,5 yuan, a difference of 10 times. Sliced ​​mushrooms refer to shiitake mushrooms that are not harvested in time and the “umbrella” cover is fully open. It can be seen that whether the mushroom can be harvested in time is the key to mushroom cultivation. All of Gujia villagers who grow greenhouses have headlights and say they stay up all night picking mushrooms, so hiring labor to scrape the shoots and harvest mushrooms is essential and directly related to greenhouse income. More importantly, not only must the work be hired on time, but it must be "high quality" work, if the hired person is lazy or not serious, it is better not to hire.

The farmers' solution to the problem of work is to rely on relatives, neighbors, acquaintances and their extended social relationships. These relationships are not exactly a market employment relationship, but the key lies in the ethics behind them, which are called “help” and “embarrassment” in the farmers' words. The “favor” plays a key role in the process of hiring people and ensuring the quality of work. Farmers who operate greenhouses here have a “phone book” in which they record their social connections and the workers introduced by their friends, and they constantly “check” each other with ethical criteria like “quality”. This solves the difficult problem of solution by purely economic labor relations. Obviously, a leading directly operating company would not be able to utilize these traditional social resources and would find it difficult to control the quality of work.

In response to the government's call for poverty alleviation, a luggage company in Baigou, Hebei Province, built a "poverty alleviation workshop" in Gujia Village, which changed the sewing process from producing bags to giving women left behind from the village the chance to work locally. This workshop was not profitable for the first two years after its renovation, and the main difficulty was managing the work. According to the manager, the women here had bad labor discipline, they suddenly left before the end of the day and the quality of work varied.

They would interpret their management as “disparaging others”, and if they were deducted or fined, they might not come back, and it would affect other women. At the time of our investigation, the enterprise had just turned losses into profits, and the most important change was that the “workshop” had “roots” in the village. The manager told us that these women are not only workers, but also daughters-in-law and mothers of children, and they don't go out to work, so of course they have housework as a priority. Therefore, the work of the poverty alleviation workshop must be adapted to their state, the timing must be flexible, and the management must put them “up front”, and in return, they will regard the undertaking positively.

The case of Vila Gujia shows the process of “connection” between developing industrial countries and farmers. In the cultivation of shiitake mushrooms, the commercial link is left to the family, which helps to solve the labor problem in the village industry; in the anti-poverty workshop, the workforce is considered “family” in the production process, and the flexible production method transforms the workshop into a peasant family “workshop” and, in return, the farmers do not treat the enterprise as “ outsiders” and work more attentively. This “anchoring” is centered on the “family” and supported by family ethics, we can consider it as the “anchoring” between the country and the family. If industrial development does not pay attention to “connection”, it will encounter unexpected difficulties.

Yezhu Village in Jianghua County, Hunan Province is a village with 226 families and 1.016 people. This village is located in the northern foothills of the Great Mountains, and belongs to the karst relief.[ii], with scarce surface water and 1 mu of arable land per capita. the incidence of poverty in 2014 was 33%. We surveyed this village twice in 2018 and 2020, and the village was completely out of poverty at the time of the 2020 survey. Similar to most poor villages, infrastructure and migrant workers play an important role in eradicating poverty, with about 300 of the village's 463 workers working outside the village, which contributed to the shortage of workers remaining in the village. Another important factor that has improved the situation of Vila Nozhu is government investment. In 2016, a foreign businessman focused on transferring more than 1.700 mu of land in the village and built a peach plantation.

This plantation is a centralized business model, with investment, technology, production and sales all managed corporately, employing mainly workers from the village and surrounding villages for production. According to the company owner's estimate, the plantation employs 12 to 14 workers a year at 70 yuan per worker. With this rough calculation, the remaining 100 workers in the village will have an average per capita income of over 5.000 yuan. Entrepreneurs also received some honors for promoting poverty alleviation. However, upon further investigation, we find that the problem is not as simple as the calculation.

2018 is the first fruitful year for peaches. According to the estimate at the time of investment, each kilogram of peach sells for about 6 yuan, and the first fruiting could produce about 600.000 pounds, and the income of more than 3 million yuan could make up for one-third of the nearly 10 million yuan invested in the first three years. But in fact, the final price of 2 yuan per pound sold less than 300.000 pounds of peaches. One of the most important reasons is the continuous and unstoppable illegal picking of peaches after they are ripe. It is said that they are the residents of neighboring villages, and they all come at night to steal, making supervision very expensive.

In addition to theft, another affliction of entrepreneurs is the labor problem. First, it is difficult to organize the workforce. The workforce in the village is already small, mostly elderly and women, and these people have poor work discipline and concept of time, and in between they “leave when they say they will” and “quit when they say they won’t” . Second, it is difficult to supervise the work. The work in Taoyuan is mainly weeding, fertilizing, watering, spraying, pruning, bagging and harvesting, and among them, pruning is a job that requires technology and attention. Although trained, farmers are not serious about pruning. There is no good way to do this, not only not to fire them, but also not to “offend” them, because they are the only low-cost local workforce.

Nozhu and Gujia villages form a stark contrast, opposite each other to illustrate the importance of labor issues. These problems include low quantity, poor quality, difficult organization and supervision of the workforce, which is completely different from the previous situation, when the development of village industries was to find a way out of excess labor. Therefore, the way of solving the labor force problem in the practice of poverty eradication reflects the distinct Chinese characteristics in the new period and the new situation.

Rural industries are mostly labor intensive, but have greater seasonality and volatility than urban industries. In rural China, where there are many people and little land, and where there is a long-standing surplus of labor, farmers have developed a “half-work, half-farm” production and lifestyle that is closely related to this characteristic of rural industries. For example, in the peach plantation in Nozhu Village, the annual employment of more than 10.000 workers is unevenly distributed in terms of time, and most of them are “temporary workers” workers. With the high cost of agricultural supervision, it is especially difficult to organize “day labor” workers.

This is the main reason for the difficulty of most planting and improvement undertakings that seek scale or unification of production links. On the other hand, the reason why rural industries are mainly based on family management and cooperative management is that farmers have formed a set of social relationship structure in their production and long-term living practice, which scholars call “ social foundation” of industries. State capital and business capital are not facing atomized labor, but farmers who are left behind and whose production and life are centered on the family.

Corporate capital, aiming at profit maximization, tries to transform rural industries with the management style of urban industries and economies of scale, but is met with great resistance; while the state, aiming at alleviating poverty, especially for the poor farmers left behind, directs corporate capital to operate upstream and downstream of the industrial chain, leaving the production links midway to farmers for family management . We can see that the State is not relying on the power of capital to develop “modern” industries by flattening the existing economic and social structure in the countryside, but carefully “connecting” farmers with family management at the core.

This “caution” is the best expression of the family-state relationship: on the one hand, the most powerful state that treats the most vulnerable poor small farmers, its basic attitude is “treating people as if they were injured” instead of competing with them. for profits; on the other hand, state power must respect the deep “social foundation” of the countryside. On the other hand, state power must respect the deep “social base” of the countryside, otherwise it will be blocked.

The alleviation of industrial poverty has developed many forms of interaction and cooperation between the state and farmers. The two examples above are of two types, we can summarize them as “government-led” and “company-led”, and there are many other forms such as “cooperative-led”, “skilled-led” and “retail subsidy”. ", and many more. These forms show the “adapted to local conditions” nature of industrial development in alleviating poverty, but most of its successful forms are centered on the operation of peasant families, and the state and social forces deal with capital, technology, market and other linkages where farmers at the upper and lower ends of the industrial chain are powerless. Among them, the relationship between state and farmers is particularly reflected in the type of retail operation subsidized by the government. This type has many variations, and the Shengli village in Molidawa Daur of Inner Mongolia is a typical example.

This village's industry is called "menu-based poverty alleviation" by the local government, and the specific content is "eight kinds and eight foods". The government has established detailed subsidies for eight crops and eight types of livestock and poultry, and poor households can “ask for food” according to their specific conditions. As of July 2020, all 63 poor households in the village have participated in the “a la carte” program, except for migrant workers and 10 people who are completely unable to work.

In 2017, Wang Guicai, a poor householder, had only him and his sick wife at home. He chose to raise “menu” sheep in 2017 and earned 10.000 yuan that year. However, due to the discomfort of his legs and feet and the need to care for patients, he switched to livestock in 2018. He used the loan + subsidy method, with a debt of 22.000 yuan in the first year, a net income of 2.000 yuan in the second year and an income of 16.000 yuan in 2020. The benefits of raising livestock were quickly revealed. It is noteworthy that, for these government subsidies to really work, they need to be adjusted according to the situation of poor families. For example, the initial rule was that only new cattle purchased that year could be counted, and “old cattle” were not eligible for the 1.500 yuan per head subsidy. In 2020, the government made an adjustment, stipulating that as long as the cows are basic cows, they can receive the subsidy every year. In this way, industrial development not only adapts to local conditions, but also to the conditions of the village “families”.

The “interface” between the state and farmers in industrial development is not only in the workings of the industry, but also on a deeper spiritual or ethical level. As we saw in this case, farmers can show some “backward” characteristics, such as lack of contractual spirit, lack of discipline and responsibility, laziness and even theft, which can be seen as a kind of “spiritual poverty”. In fact, some international poverty alleviation organizations in China focus on these farmers' problems and even consider the transformation of farmers' thinking and consciousness as a prerequisite for poverty alleviation. But are these “backward” characteristics really the “spiritual poverty” of farmers?

In the case of Vila Nozhu, the farmers only stole the peaches from the company's field plantation. Not far from the plantation, the village party secretary himself also planted 20 mu of the same peaches and never lost a single one. In the case of the capital sent into the field to plant corn that some scholars have examined, the farmers simply stole the corn from the companies that went into the field, and no one touched the other corn. Peasants are lazy and undisciplined on foreign-capital plantations, but they do their best as helpers, labor exchanges, and socially connected local wage labor.

A peasant woman may not be a good “worker”, but at home she can be a good daughter-in-law who is fully committed to caring for the elderly and children. A farmer may not take the capital contract seriously, but he can make a promise to a friend. The peasant simply “differentiates between inside and outside” and uses different principles of action for different objects, which is precisely a set of higher ethical principles, an ethics of action based on the family and extended outwards according to human relationships. If peasants see it as “inside”, we will see the fragmented and active form of labor organization as in Gujia Village; if they see it as “out”, we see the seemingly clean but ineffective form of labor organization as in Vila Nozhu. The key is how to guide farmers to change and expand the boundaries between “inside” and “outside”, rather than leveling or smoothing the differences between inside and outside.


Third, sincere help: the intersection of country and family

The “hardest battle” to get out of poverty is to develop local industries so that the poor farmers left behind can get out of poverty and become rich, while the “hardest” are those who cannot get out of poverty even if they have industries. This includes two parts of the farmers, one of them are the “widows and widowers” ​​who have no working capacity and rely on state policy to “cover the bottom” to ensure that their political income comes above the poverty line; the other part is the farmers who have work capacity but fall into poverty because of laziness and other reasons, which is called “insufficient development motivation” in political parlance. The removal of these people from poverty not only marks the final victory in the battle against poverty, but also shows the deeper and more subtle process of human communication in the governance of a great country.

Duchai Village, Lankao County, Henan Province, is located on the ancient Yellow River, with high land salinity and low grain yield for a long time. This village has a total of 312 households with 1.298 people and 998 mu of arable land with less than 1 mu per capita. Due to its location in the Central Plains and convenient transportation, Duchai Village's farmers have a tradition of going out to work compared to poor villages in the mountainous areas. 70 households and 225 people were registered as poor in 2014, with a poverty incidence rate of 17%, which is slightly lower than that of mountain villages. The whole village was lifted out of poverty in 2017, and the per capita disposable income of the village's registered poor households exceeded 10.000 yuan in 2019, close to the rural residents of Lankao county.

The reason why Duchai Village has been able to get out of poverty quickly is that, in addition to the large amount of national investment in infrastructure and public services, the most important thing is also to find its own pillar industry, namely melon cultivation, what the locals call “the sweet deal”. From 2016 to 2020, a total of 475 melon greenhouses will be built in Duchai Village. Each greenhouse covers an area of ​​1 mu, costs about 14.000 yuan to build, and produces two crops of melon a year. A husband and wife manage 10 greenhouses, and if they hire as few workers as possible, the net profit can reach 150.000 yuan.

Melon is a typical labor-intensive crop, from planting seedlings in February to harvesting in November, greenhouses need workers every few days, and the technical requirements are not high, as long as they are diligent, resistant to heat and can be competent, work very suitable for women and seniors to perform short jobs. Under the arrangement of the village task force and the two village committees, the village has formed a unified standard market for short-term work, with a standard of 7,5 yuan per hour, which allows you to come and go without delaying the service of elderly and disabled at home.

As there are many greenhouses, farmers who have some spare time can easily find job opportunities. In the 2019 payroll at Cooperativa Duchai Village Shed that we saw, there were 103 people who received income from temporary work in the shed, including 56 poor families and 47 non-poor families, with per capita working time of 81 days and per capita income of 4.860 yuan for poor households and a per capita working time of 55 days and a per capita income of 3.284 yuan for non-poor households. Comparing the two, poor families have to do one month more of temporary jobs in the greenhouses than non-poor families, with an extra income of 1500 yuan.

These numbers show that the melon industry in Duchai Village has a strong “poverty-led” nature. As we discussed in the previous section, in villages like Duchai Village, where it is convenient to go out to work, if you can go out to work, you can get out of poverty, but poor families are less able to go out to work. For those who cannot leave, the more opportunities for casual work, informal employment and short-term employment provided by village industry, the better the “poverty alleviation”. Indeed, the good industrial ecology led by the “sweet business” of melon in Vila Duchai also offers an opportunity to make some poor families with “insufficient endogenous motivation” overcome poverty.

Mao Jifa is a typical “endogenous power is not enough”. He is 63 years old, and in the eyes of the villagers he is “lazy” and “weird”. When he was young he beat his wife because she took their son out into the street to buy a donut to eat, then ran away and followed someone else. After his only son grew up, he left for work and never came home. Although he had the ability to work, but only farming to make ends meet, not working to earn money and not spending money, the family is emptied.

It is said that he often sleeps on the woodpile in the backyard, except in winter, eats accidentally, and never washes dishes. His trait is that he doesn't interact with villagers and doesn't talk to people, so some villagers say he's "mentally ill" and a "fool", which is the standard "label" of some lazy people in many villages. For such a “stubborn” family, county Water Conservation Department resident staff member Zhang Dongli gave him long-term and meticulous care and concern. Although Mao Jifa ignores his wife and doesn't speak to her, she goes home every two or three days and, in addition to bringing food, is cleaning inside and outside, in Zhang Dongli's words, "like cleaning your own house."

When he has his own meals, he always thinks about bringing some of the food to Mao Jifa. For Zhang Dongli, the main objective of the four melon hothouse village activity is to find poor families to perform temporary jobs in the melon hothouse, of which Mao Jifa is its main target. At first, Mao Jifa refused to go, but Zhang Dongli came to the door day after day to clean the house, and he took the initiative to talk with Mao Jifa, until these actions finally led him to go to work in the melon shed of Mao Jifa. Zhang Dongli. When he received the first payment of over 2.000 yuan from the village, he had to give it directly to Zhang Dongli so that she could use it.

Such a “mean” person even made such a move, village people said, he sees Zhang Dongli as his own daughter. Later Mao Jifa did something else that shocked the whole village. At that time, the village of Du Chai organized residents to make collective donations of money, goods, labor, the “three donations”, for the activity in which a huge stone with the name and number will be set up at the head of the village. donations set in stone. No one had informed Mao Jifa about this, but on the day he appeared at the scene, he took out two 100 yuan and two 50 yuan, and donated 300 yuan. The villagers were amazed by this, and couldn't figure out how a lazy man who beat his wife for donuts could become such a person. Our investigation took us to the house of Mao Jifa e. although he still doesn't care much for people, the house is neat and clean, and is now said to be his own cleaning. In addition, he improved the relationship with some residents.

In contrast to Mao Jifa, Liu Ruisheng, who can be called an “endogenous family with sufficient energy”, was 65 years old in 2020, with a four-generation family and a total of nine members. In addition to his partner, he has an 84-year-old mother, a son, a daughter-in-law and four grandchildren under the age of 10. Liu Ruisheng's legs aren't good, his mother is always in bed, his son is too weak and sick to do heavy lifting, and his partner and daughter-in-law are both mentally ill, so the whole family doesn't have a decent workforce. and depends mainly on various political incomes to barely exceed the poverty line.

However, in our interview with Liu Ruisheng and his family, we felt a strong endogenous motivation. Liu Ruisheng has supported his mother for over 30 years, and he has always considered it his responsibility to provide her with a good retirement. Her partner told us that the family mainly depends on her and Liu Ruisheng, doing a variety of temporary jobs to subsidize the family, claiming to be the most capable “big machine”. To protect his son and daughter-in-law “from bullying”, to raise four grandchildren to adulthood, children are the hope of the big family.

When we compare these two families, the situation of Liu Ruisheng's family is undoubtedly worse, but in Liu's family one can feel the vitality and hope. It is the endogenous motivation of the two families to raise the elderly and the children, but in the face of the elderly, the young, the sick and the disabled, it is the poverty alleviation policy that really stimulates the endogenous motivation of the two families.

In contrast, Mao Jifa is not only alone, he also has no contact with the people of the village, and is considered “disabled”. The only opportunity for him to change came from Zhang Dongli's care. The reason this care worked was not because of giving money or goods, but to make Mao Jifa feel the warmth of the family. In return, he treated Zhang Dongli like his daughter in his heart, which is why he made these moves and transformations. He donated money to gain the respect of the village people and started to return to a normal life. Liu Ruisheng and Mao Jifa, two poor families, illustrate an important truth in opposite ways: true endogenous motivation comes not only from the individual's desire to get out of poverty and become rich, but also from the family.

It is the farmers' persistence and desire for “family” that is touched and inspired by national politics and established team members in the village. Without the State, both families will sink; and if farmers do not have “family” in their hearts, the State cannot have real communication and integration with these farmers, much less “inspire” their motivation.

Building civilization in Duchai Village also depends on the family. Among the cadres and residents, the most impressive is the village's monthly “scone party”. The dumpling party is held once a month in the square outside the village hall, and all the people in the village over 60 years of age participate in it, making dumplings together and celebrating the birthdays of the elderly who have birthdays this month. Some of the cupcake feasts also featured birthday cakes. The seniors were very excited about it, and some said it was the first time in their lives that they had such a beautiful birthday.

The monthly “cupcake party” is spread to children who work outside the home and cannot come back through WeChat groups, live broadcasting and other network means, so that children are also very excited, and express their feelings by volunteering for pay for the cupcake party. The dumpling party, with a budget of over 1.000 yuan each time, was initially paid for by the village official himself, and soon became a voluntary round of donations from villagers outside. During our research in July 2020, we saw a “Cupcake Banquet Donation Form” posted on the village office wall, and the list of people on this form was already scheduled until August 2021.

The practice of dumpling feasts is more in line with the Chinese people's family or ethical social structure than other civilization building measures. First of all, birthday celebrations were originally a family affair, but now the whole village celebrates the elderly's birthday in the same month together, which seems to break the boundaries of the family, but actually turns the whole village into a “big family”. family”, extending the ethics and warmth of the family to the village level. Second, with more than 300 million people currently working in China's rural areas, the vast majority of families have members who are “far from home,” and almost all families are incomplete. The practice of the dumpling feast, which adheres to the Chinese tradition of “friendship within and without, mutual help and support in illness”, compensates for the absence of family members to some extent.

In addition, although the dumpling feast is held in the village, the family's warmth is transmitted far beyond the village, but with the footprints of migrant workers around the world, it connects the hearts of people from Duchai villages around the world. While the children work outside the village, their own parents are able to celebrate their birthdays at home in a lively way, and the gratitude thus born by the children is bound to flow out to the village and prefectures and to the country. The channel between family and country is established in people's hearts, and only in people's hearts can it be truly established.

Vila Duchai is a typical example of “stimulating endogenous power” and building civilization in our study villages. In our opinion, civilization building and “stimulating endogenous power” are complementary to each other. These neglectful and eccentric people either lack the love of their families or the respect of the villagers and are actively or passively isolated. There are also families in rural areas that are not directly covered by poverty alleviation policies, which we call “hidden poverty” or “social poverty”. In rural areas, it is common for parents to separate from their children, and separation is often the end of the nurturing process and the beginning of the support process.

Although these families are separated into several families, they are like an extended family, both financially and emotionally. In practice, if children don't take care of their parents, then the parents are trapped in real poverty, whether the family is separated or not. For example, in Mao Jifa's family, his son works outside the home and does not return home or send money, but according to the per capita income of his family of two, he is "out of poverty" since his son leaves to work. On the contrary, if the children maintain the bond, even if the family is separated and the per capita income is calculated per family, the parents will not fall into poverty even if their income is low.

The national poverty eradication policy can only be calculated on the basis of income, and even with a careful and accurate identification process, nothing can still be done about this type of “hidden poverty” or “social poverty”. In contrast, only by promoting the familial and ethical civilization, where affection and respect derive from the human relationships of family, neighbors and friends, can the sun shine on the corners difficult to be covered by policies.

The case of Duchai village shows some other types of poor families in the fight against poverty. Combined with the discussion in Section 2, we can divide poor households into five categories, which are listed in Table 1.

Unlike the general classification method, this method is divided according to the degree of difficulty of poverty alleviation and assistance. The first category, “working outside the home”, accounts for the largest number of poor families, and it is relatively easy for them to escape poverty, as long as the national infrastructure and public services are in place, they can take the whole family out of poverty with one person working. The second category, “local employment”, is the focus of this article in the rural industry section. These poor households need to rely on local industries with strong “poverty alleviation” to increase their income and move out of poverty, and industrial “matching” is the key.

The third category of “policy-dependent” households are generally unable to work and rely primarily on various government policies for income. For this type of farmers, precise identifications, precise policies and precise implementation are needed. The fourth category, “under-motivated”, is the most difficult part of the battle against poverty, and requires the “sincere” help of the village cadres and villagers in order to stimulate their endogenous motivation. The fifth type of “hidden poverty” is caused by poor family relationships, which is difficult to resolve through policy and can only be slowly improved by civilized rural and family ethics.

For the last four types of poverty phenomenon, prescribing the right medicine and curing the disease is not enough to rely on policies alone, and there also needs to be people with good intentions, the more difficult the type, the more attention is needed. As an unprecedented great battle, its core strength and combat team is more than 3 million first secretaries of the country, village cadres, and millions of city cadres and village cadres. The village team comprises the first secretary and other cadres established in the village, usually for three years. In addition to the central government bodies, ministries, companies and institutions directly responsible for the areas where the first secretary is established, provinces, cities and municipalities also follow this model of situation of the first secretaries.

Poverty-stricken counties and towns across the country have corresponding support units. From the point of view of the relationship between state and farmers, the village teams are on the “front line” of the battle, and in fact they are representatives of the “State”, and every action and word has a huge impact on the relationship between state and farmers .

Huayuan Village in Sangzhi County, Hunan Province is a village we investigated in 2018. This village is located in an alpine mountain area with little arable land and poor transportation, with a poverty incidence of 27%. In addition to relying on public service infrastructure and inputs, this village has developed government-subsidized retail industries, including high-quality rice, greenhouse vegetables, fruits and agriculture, similar to “menu-based poverty alleviation”. The village counterpart is the Zhangjiajie Municipal Party Committee Office. 53 cadres from the Municipal Party Committee Office were paired with 63 poor families in Huayuan Village, and these cadres are required to visit the poor families at least once a month to help them resolve their practical difficulties.

This type of “matching assistance” is a common form of help in the fight against poverty, and it is also very representative. This type of help is in fact “formalist”, because “pairing” is officially assigned, and “home visit” is a mandatory requirement, with many “coping” actions for sending money and goods. But in the practice of poverty alleviation in Huayuan Village, villagers tell many stories of this “pairing assistance”, which we call “relationship assistance”.

“Relationship assistance” means that after assistance cadres get to know the farmers, they will use their social relationships to help the farmers get things done. There is a poor family in the village where Yan Laoliu lives, who have a disability in their legs, and one of their long-cherished wishes is to obtain a disability certificate. But as a villager in a remote and impoverished village, he couldn't figure out how to do that. The accompanying cadre, municipal party committee secretary Li Xiaojing, took Yan Lao-liu to the city, where he is more familiar with the circumstances, and the results came within a day of obtaining a disability card. Those were happy things for Yan Laoliu.

The village team leader Xu Wenqiang has been established in the village for a year and a half, his daughter the following year took the high school entrance exams, and he has been applying to be transferred back, which request has not been approved, which It's a big complaint. However, we learned from villager interviews that Xu Wenqiang is an excellent support cadre. He helped two families: one is a widow, he patiently helped the elderly to restore their courage to life; another householder named Zhang Dajin, 42 years old, disabled legs, his wife rented a house in the city to accompany two children to study, the boy is 17 years old, the girl is 12 years old, and has purpura nephritis, the family burden is heavy. Xu Wenqiang constantly uses his social connections to find hospitals and doctors for the girls, but he also uses social connections to help the children's mother find work in the city, to bring hope to the family's life. In Xu Wenqiang's own words, whether he is willing to be seconded to the village is one thing, but helping is another. He stressed that no matter who it is, upon seeing the “purple girl” and her family's appearance, he will move “sincerely”, so helping is “sincerely helping”.

Xu Wenqiang's words revealed the deep and subtle foundation of people's hearts in the magnificent fight against poverty. During the investigation we will see many bureaucratic and formalistic practices, village work teams and poor families are dealing with each other or with the inspections of their superiors, but this does not represent the original intention and essence of the fight against poverty. The “sincerity” of a support team member is based on compassion, which everyone has, and is not contradictory to their dealings with their superiors. The key is that poverty alleviation policies and practices have given this kind of compassion an opportunity to flourish. That kind of “sincerity” moves a long way and can be distinguished from needles and mustards, but the power it contains is like a great river, vast and unstoppable.


Remaining discussion: “one family, one country” and rural revitalization

The relationship between the State and farmers in the fight against poverty is neither one of deprivation and resistance, nor one of play and interaction, nor can it simply be understood as a “supportive” relationship. The political economy view that understands government behavior as the “supporting hand” is still essentially the game of interest issues perspective, and support is for long-term benefits, such as analysis of local government behavior from “ release water to raise fish” and “raise chickens to lay eggs”.

However, what is done in the fight against poverty for the poorest and most vulnerable groups of farmers clearly requires deeper understanding and explanation. Gradually, we realized the deeper implications of the state-farmer relationship in our ongoing field research. We found that, whether in the process of cultivating local industries or in the process of stimulating endogenous power and the construction of rural civilization, the massive financial, material and human resources of the State were not swept away by the logic of capital and the logic of efficiency of “ modernization”. The original social structure of the village is carefully “wired” with family-centered production and the farmers' lifestyle.

In terms of production, be it a large-scale industry with high investment and organization, or a “menu” to combat poverty with various types and small subsidies, farmers are always the main operating body and families are always the unit of production. operation; in terms of life, whether it is a large family full of sick and disabled families, or a small family with separated wives and widows, the help boards always appear as members of the family, helping farmers to light the flame of hope for family life. This must not just be the product of an economic and political operating logic, but rather a historical and social inevitability.

If we have to consider the state and farmers as different stakeholders, the successful “connection” of these two stakeholders is also a result of China's family-based social culture and ethics. In other words, “family” provides a conduit for “connection” between the state and farmers.

In this special channel, the State uses the help and enrichment of the people as a means to establish the dominant position of family management, help small families to achieve food, clothing and an affluent life, and urges farmers to yearn for a better life; farmers receive encouragement from the state, especially from village workers. If you sincerely help, you will treat the country like an “extended home”. As the assistance they receive does not come from relatives, friends and social organizations, but from representatives of the country, or representatives of the “represented country”, the motivation for farmers to be awakened is not limited to their own families, but to other , love their family and country, and form a relationship between country and peasants.

The poor farmers in our case, including Mao Jifa, Liu Ruisheng, Yan Laoliu and Zhang Dajin, have their own misfortunes, but Zhang Dongli, Li Xiaojing and Xu Wenqiang awakened their motivation and hope in their lives, and their commitment to a good life familiar. For these farmers, there is no home without a country, and the loving home is patriotism. The State supports the farmers, “awakens” the farmers and establishes the State as a family, while the farmers will respond to the State to love the State, transforming the family into an integral part of the State. This is a very unique aspect of the relationship between the state and the peasants, which we might call the “one family and one country” relationship. When the State inserts itself in the countryside, not only does it not destroy the familiar social structure of the countryside, but it also gives this social structure a growing impetus, which is the key to revitalizing the countryside.

After poverty alleviation, rural revitalization is linked to it. Rural revitalization has invested many human, material and financial resources in rural areas which are constantly consumed in the process of rapid urbanization, in order to achieve the overall objective of “thriving industry, livable ecology, civilized rural customs, effective governance and affluent life”. . Obviously, it is not a simple “support”, but requires a general understanding and observation from a new perspective of “family-state integration”.

The study of the relationship between the state and peasants in the fight against poverty inspires us that the revitalization of the countryside will definitely embody the Chinese characteristics of “family and state as one” and open an unprecedented path of socialism. China can move forward quickly and steadily on this path because this goal is in line with the Chinese people's aspiration for a better life, which is based on the “family” and ensures the country's prosperity and stability. Fei Xiaotong, a senior sociologist, said in 1996, when the wave of migrant workers was just rising, that he had a vision of the dual role of “home” in China's economic development and social stability, and we quote from this passage to conclude this article.

In recent years, we have seen a huge wave of migrant workers, tens of millions of them from the mainland to the more prosperous cities on the coast, which is also a record population movement, and many people are concerned. But so far it hasn't caused chaos, that's hard for outsiders to imagine. I speculated about the reason for this. I see a stabilizing factor in the fact that almost all migrant workers in emerging cities have a home on the continent. When they receive their wages, they send them home regularly, except for necessary expenses, and if possible, they go home for a few days during the New Year holidays.

If they can't find a job in the city, they have a home to go back to if work stops. If they have work to do, they feel safe, and they don't have to panic when work stops. In the past, I didn't know that the contractual liability system in the countryside would have such strong power to stabilize migrant workers in emerging cities. In other words, I didn't know that the current system in the countryside supports the construction of a modern city. Are we not crossing the river of industrial modernization on the rocks of rural homelessness?

*Zhou Feizhou (周飞舟) Professor at the Department of Sociology at Peking University.

Originally published in chinese voices.

Translation: Arthur Scavone.



[I] The Document Book or Classic of History, also known as Shangshu, is one of the Five Classics of ancient Chinese literature. It is a collection of rhetorical prose attributed to figures in ancient China and served as the foundation of Chinese political philosophy for over 2.000 years. Chapters are grouped into four sections representing different eras: the semi-mythical reign of Yu the Great, and the Xia, Shang, and Zhou dynasties. The Zhou section accounts for more than half of the text. (NT)

[ii] Karst, karst or karst, also known as karstic relief or karst, is a type of geological relief characterized by the chemical dissolution (corrosion) of rocks, which leads to the appearance of a series of physical characteristics, such as caves, sinkholes, dry valley valley blind, karst cones, underground rivers, fluviokarst cannons, exposed rocky walls and lapiás. The karst relief occurs predominantly in land made up of limestone rock, but it can also occur in other types of carbonate rocks, such as marble and dolomitic rocks. (NT)

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