Phase 3: Interpreting Information

Updated 4 years 11 months ago
Information From Local Contacts: I spoke to a future village chief who was just recently elected.  As we hiked up the mountain, he explained how village governance works.  Here is his insight.  His governance consists of ten people who govern a village with a population of 365 people.  Most of his work consists of solving the villager's problem and trying to help them improve their living standards.  Everything that is built new in this village often goes through the governance first for their approval (ie: if theres a villager who wants to build a house, then the governance will go and survey the building site and check his/her credentials, paperwork, and if he or she has adequate funding and builders).  He also makes new laws and rules.  Additionally, the governance is also striving to change the villagers' general point of view.  Before, the villagers' point of view was to amass, accumulate more money.  Now, the government wants the change that focus.  They want to improve their standard of life (ie: better health care, education etc.) Xiao Du also confirmed my prediction that the village governance was decided by a popular vote.  He said before, it was inherited.  The village chief's son would be the next village chief after the current one steps down or passes on.  He explained that that system wasn't fair and it didn't give everyone a fair chance.  Now, he said that this current system is better.  Xiao Du was elected in an election in which all citizens 18 and older could participate in.

I also talked to Mr. Duan, a former soldier and government. He worked as an approval official, giving approval for many things ranging from marriage to travelling.  He said that the village governance only has a few main roles.  Firstly, it gives permission for the villagers to do many important activites.  Almost everything villagers build and do goes through the governance.  Secondly, the governance strives to improve the villagers' way of life.  The villagers have to pay a "rice tax" which is derived from the amount of crop harvested. It collects taxes and after a portion of the tax money goes to the Dali government and the Chinese Communist Party, the Xizhou government pays its' workers wages and also uses the remaining money to improve its' citizens life such as repairing roads and refurbishing common areas such as Si Fang Jie.  Additionally, the government never makes any rules.  It only carries out the rules implimented and created by the upper levels of government. Mr. Duan also mentioned that corruption has steadily increased since the Mao Ze Dong era to now. 

I also talked to a general manager too.  He said that the Xizhou Government is divided into two main parts.  There is the regular government office, which oversees the daily operations of the various departments of government, which include human resources, social security ministry, civil affairs, statistics office, archives office, education, administrative logistics, science/technology, culture, health, land and resources, and lastly, environmental protection.  Overseeing the entire government office is the Communist Party , the Party members and the discipline inspection and supervision department.  These two departments make sure that the government office is doing things in line with the "big" Chinese government and acting as a "police" for the government, making sure that there is relatively no corruption.

Information from 3-to-5's: Most of the information I gathered from my Three-to-Five conversations was directions to local village buildings.  Through research, I have pinpointed two important government facilities, one in the outskirts of the village near the Linden Center (source: Linden Center Staff), and one in the center of the village past the main artery road (source: shopkeepers).  

Background Information (from Phase 2): I already know that there are many different types of governments in the world right now. From the a monarchy in the Middle Ages to a representative democracy in this current world, many governments have evolved over time. I think the most current types of government in the world today are communism (i.e.: Russia, North Korea), democracy (i.e.: USA, Canada) and socialism (i.e.: France). I learned these things over time, through formal and informal education. Throughout elementary and middle school, I've learned in class about governments and governance. Governments are linked closely to politics and through following the news, I've learned how governments are run.


Answers to Previous Questions (from Phase 2): 

1. The leaders of the village are called "village chiefs".

2. Leaders were elected from clans and leadership was possibly passed down from one generation to the next.

Another possible answer is that the village leaders were elected by a vote.

3. The leaders are doing a good job governing the village and they are governing the village fairly.

4. The leadership is either passed down to the next generation or the leader's term is up and an election decides the next leader.

5. The type of government might be a system that resembles Communism self government.

6. A few departments may include:

Money/Funds management

Law Making 


7. The most powerful position of government is the village chief

8. Some leaders may misuse their power and may take bribes or misuse village funds

9. The village peoples' morale may be high and the village might be in good upkeep

10. The governance has a good amount of control over the village and keeps everything in order.

Then respond to the following questions:


4) How is this relevant to my question?

The information provided by new village chief is relevant in many ways because it answers many questions I posted in my phase 1.  His insight easily answered more than half of the questions.  Additionally, his insight answered many questions about the village chief that I came up with.

The information provided by the Mr. Duan is relevant to my questions because it gives a large overview of what role the village governance has . Moreover, the information also provides key information into the job of some of the lower positions of government.

The information provided by the manager is relevant because it explains the general structure of the government with the Communist party and the government office.

5) What parts of this information move me toward an answer?

Parts of this information the new village chief gave me that move me toward an answer include how village leaders are decided, and what the leader's job/s are.

Most of the information Mr. Duan gave me that move me toward an answer include what jobs the village governance has.

Parts of the information the manager gave me move me toward an answer inclued what departments the village governance  and the layout of the general governance.

6) How does this new information agree to what I already know/believe?

This new information the new village chief provided agrees with what I already know by confirming that the village leader is the village chief, and that the village governance makes laws.

The knowledge Mr. Duan gave me agrees with what I know up to know by proving that the village governance collects taxes from the villagers and uses it to improve their quality of life.

This information agrees to what I already know by confirming that there are multiple departments in the village that manage different parts of function in the government.

7) What parts of this new information disagree with what I already know/believe?

The new information the village chief said disagrees with what i already believe by saying that the village leader is decided by a popular election, not inherited by lineage or clans.  Additionally, he said that the village governance often solves problems, contrary to what I believe.

The insight Mr. Duan conveyed disagrees with what I currently know by stating that the village governance does not make any new rules or laws, and only enforces them. 

This info disagrees with what I know by asserting that the Communist Party oversees all of the activities the governance does and acts as a "police".  I didn't know that all of the actions the village government do are monitored by the Communist Party.

8) What new questions does this new information raise? 

The information the village chief told me also raised a new question.  The first major question is how will the governance change the villagers' point of view?  How does the village chief 

A new question Mr. Duan raised are who is allowed to get permits and passes to other places?

A brand new question the manager raised is what does each department do?

9) Look back at your 10 questions from Phase 1. Do you see any that have already been answered? Have these answers led to new questions?

Most questions raised in phase 1 have been answered and these answers definitely have led to new questions.

10) Please update your Phase 1 question to reflect your current set of questions being investigated. Make note of "old questions" that have been answered as well with a note to "See Phase 3 for details"

11) Read the instructions for Phase 4. When will you know you are ready to move to that phase of the process?

I know I will be ready to move on to phase 4 when my major questions have been answered and I have acquired enough information.  


Hey I'm Jason and I'm in Xizhou! I am studying village governance by interacting and communicating with the local people and the local officials. I also enjoy playing basketball and listening to music. Currently, I am enjoying the Microcampus experience and having fun! Feel free to check out my blog posts and inquiry project.