Revolution in a Chinese Village: Ten Mile Inn: International by David Crook, Isabel Crook, David Crook

By David Crook, Isabel Crook, David Crook

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Sample text

While the peasants were squeezed to the limits of endurance and beyond, the tax collectors themselves paid nothing. Thus many landlords, the very people who could have afforded to pay most, got off scot free. This resulted in the government’s gaining a maximum of unpopularity and a minimum of taxes. Those in authority, from the Central Government in Nanking all the way down the scale, understood very well the weakness of this system which alienated them from the people. Still they retained it in order to be sure of support from at least one part of the population—the landlords and rich peasants who benefited from it.

Often, however, they were hauled into the courts by some landlord or rich peasant. Then, in the helplessness of their own illiteracy, they almost without fail fell into the clutches of some unscrupulous petition-writers. Fu P’ei-chien was the most successful of these lawyers in the whole of Ten Mile Inn, for he excelled in dragging out proceedings indefinitely and in subtly extracting bribes from both sides. With such attributes Fu P’ei-chien naturally qualified for a leading position in the village.

As for Fu Hsin, he was able to increase his land-holdings in Ten Mile Inn from sixty to well over a hundred mu of fertile land. Soon afterwards he built the most impressive home in the village, surrounding a great paved courtyard. At the northern end, up a short broad flight of steps—facing the southern sun— was the imposing main hall. This was intended to become with time the ancestral hall of the newly-prosperous scion of the ancient Fu clan. ) After establishing his position as the wealthiest member of his 19 PILLARS OF THE OLD SOCIETY clan, Fu Hsin had himself appointed a pao-head.

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