Class in China: Stratification in a Classless Society

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[T]he book is splendid. Wortzel combines his expertise in Sinology with his meticulous attention to epistemology and methodology in studying the class structure and stratification in Maoist China, accomplishing the rare feat of freeing himself from ideological bias and parochial ethnic subjectivity...It is indeed refreshing to read Wortzel's realistic book. Journal of Third World Studies Although the hierarchy of class is said to have been replaced with distinctions between the friends and enemies of Communism, Larry Wortzel argues that the Chinese Communist Party has in reality evolved into a ruling class which serves its own interests. Drawing on literature from dissident Marxists and using analyses of writings from underground journals and the Beijing publication People's Literature, the author examines perceptions of social stratification and finds that the determinants of social and economic standing now appear to depend on lines of management and authority, residence in urban or rural areas, and Party membership, especially when combined with positions of authority This work presents one of the first comprehensive analyses of the class system in socialist China as it exists in practice rather as conceived in theory.