Phase 1: Posing Real Questions

Updated 7 years 9 months ago

For my inquiry project, I am focusing on how Liberation affected Xizhou and its people. In Phase 0, I explored possible topics and eventually chose one. During Phase 1, I will be posing real questions on my topic, local history. 

What I Already Know

Liberation was on October 1, 1949, when CCP leader Mao Zedong formally announced the formation of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). This marked the end of a 13-year civil war between Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Nationalist Party (also known as Kuomintang). The Land Reform Law was passed the next year. The law confiscated land from wealthy landlords and redistributed it to people who owned little to no land and also supplied peasants with machinery and livestock. In the following years, government launched campaigns such as the Three Antis Campaign against corruption, waste, and bureaucracy and the Five Antis Campaign against bribery, non-payment of taxes, fraud, taking government property, and spying. I have learned some of these things from family discussions over dinner. Those family discussions included talks about the long conflict between the Communist Party and Nationalist Party and of the parties' leaders Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek. I also did a little research about the Chinese Civil War and Liberation prior to picking my topic, so I would have an idea of what Liberation was and the events that led up to it.

What I Want To Know

I would like to know how people felt about the change of government. Was anyone against the Communist Party? How did the villagers feel about the Land Reform and the Antis Campaigns? How did they feel about China becoming involved of the Korean War? How was Xizhou's businesses affected by Liberation? I want to know if family life was disrupted by the new laws that were being created at the time. Were families relocated because of property redistribution or collective farming? Did the New Marriage Law have a negative effect on family life? I will have to learn more about how people in Xizhou earned a living (were they farmers, traders, artisans etc.) to understand how Liberation affected them and the town.

Background Knowledge

To read more about my project, feel free to visit Phase 3 where I have been gathering information about the Liberation.

Big Questions

I am creating 10 Big Questions to push my research forward while I am in Xizhou. These questions might change during my time there, but these will serve as a guide for my project. Here are my questions and possible answers:

1. How did new laws and campaigns affect Xizhou? Which one had the most significant effect?

I think that the Land Reform would have had the largest effect on Xizhou because family property there would have been redistributed to other peasants. Propaganda would have been put up in the village by the government because of the new campaigns.

2. Did China's involvement in the Korean War affect the people living in Xizhou?

I predict that some of the older men in Xizhou were soldiers and some might have served during the Korean War. Other people might have had relatives that were killed while serving. The people probably had to produce more weaponry which could have created more jobs.

3. How did the majority of Xizhou view Chairman Mao and the Communist Party?

I imagine that they liked him and the Communist Party to a certain degree because China was more stable under him than it was beforehand. 

4. How did the majority of Xizhou view Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalists?

I think that people did not like the Nationalists because towards the end of the Chinese Civil War, the Nationalist Party had become quite corrupt.

5. How did the aftermath of Liberation affect trade in Xizhou?

I think that after Liberation, China was focused on becoming more modern and industrialized which might might have caused less interest in trade.

6. How did life in Xizhou before Liberation compare to life afterwards?

Before Liberation, China went through the Second Sino-Japanese War (part of World War II) and the Chinese Civil War. During that time, people probably felt afraid and unsafe. After Liberation, I imagine people felt relatively safe since it was the end of the Civil War, though that was most likely short lived because China joined the Korean War a year later.

7. Did the quality of life improve after Liberation?

Since Liberation ended a long period of fighting, I would like to think that the quality of life improved for the majority of the people.

8. How did Liberation leave a lasting effect?

Some of the elderly people probably still remember that time and the changes it might have brought. It probably changed their perspective on different issues, having lived through revolutions and wars. There might be some propaganda still up from that part of China's history.

9. Did Liberation improve Xizhou's standard of living?

From what I know so far, I do not think it improved or worsened Xizhou's standard of living.

10. How did Liberation change women's rights and role?

An example of Liberation changing women's rights is the New Marriage Law. The New Marriage Law made it easier to for women to divorce their husbands and banned arranged mariages as well as the bride price, and the practice of having multiple wives.

In order to make the most of my time in Xizhou I have to learn more about specific events that might have affected the people there. In Phase 2 I will be reaching out to experts and possible sources in Xizhou.

Hey, I'm Marie! I was so lucky to live in Xizhou, even if it was only for a month. It was a lovely place with spectacular scenery and wonderful people. I don't think I could ever forget the things I experienced or the people I met while living in there. I honestly hope that I left a positive impact on Xizhou, because Xizhou definitely left a positive impact on me.