Since 1978 dramatic changes have occurred in Chinese rural societal policies with respect to the three levels of collective agricultural production; the parameters for family sideline occupations and village markets; and the extension and allocation of private plots. In general, these changes reflected a distinct retreat from the former emphasis on collective production. The author describes the changes that have taken place in rural societal policies and discusses the difficulties that have arisen in implementing the new policies. He also comments on statements by the current leadership used to support and justify new policies.

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