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Outside China, little is known about the process and implications of the Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside (UMDC) Movement, a Chinese state policy from 1967 to 1979 in which more than 16 million secondary school-leavers in different cities were relocated to rural areas. The Movement shaped the lives of these young people and assigned them a shared group identity: Zhiqing, or the Educated Youth.
This book provides new research on Zhiqing, who were born and brought up after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China and regarded as a lost generation during the Cultural Revolution. Presenting a remembrance of their tortuous life trajectories, the book investigates their distinctive identity and self-identification. Unlike earlier historical approaches, it does this from a social psychological perspective. It is also unique in its use of first-hand materials, as individuals’ memories and reflections collected by in-depth interviews are compiled and presented as Zhiqing’s self-portrait. This innovative research offers an informative and profound induction of the topic and also contributes to the development of contemporary Chinese studies by laying the foundation for a specialized Zhiqing study.
Combining rich empirical research with a strong theoretical perspective, this book will be invaluable to students and scholars of Chinese history, sociology, anthropology and politics.