Dazhai Revisited

  • William Hinton
Keywords: History


Dazhai is a mountain village in Shanxi Province that Mao Zedong chose as a model of rural development, primarily because it practiced cooperation and self-reliance. This small community of eighty families turned a barren, gully-scarred mountainside into rich, terraced farmland with irrigated yields that rivalled Iowa's. Dazhai peasants planted apple, walnut, and mulberry trees, raised silkworms, honey bees, chickens and fat pigs, built a brick kiln, a bean noodle plant, a bauxite mine, and used the income from their crops and shops to build solid, stone housing for every family, educate both children and adults, and provide medical care for all.