Title

Reproduction and State Building Along China’s Frontiers

Document Type

Article

Publication Title

China Information

Department

History

ISSN

0920-203X

Volume

21

Issue

3

DOI

10.1177/0920203X07083322

First Page

423

Last Page

454

Publication Date

9-1-2007

Abstract

This article analyzes population resettlement to western China during contemporary times within a historical framework that emphasizes gender. During the 1950s most relocatees to Qinghai were men, following the historical pattern set by Qing policies. Empirical data also show that the PRC government explicitly recruited women for relocation to border and remote areas. Women were moved to western regions as somewhat gender-neutral workers and also to serve in their traditional roles as wives and mothers. In both roles, women were a crucial component in state-building policies in border and remote areas. In fact, because sovereignty could not be permanently established without a naturally reproducing population, one can argue that reproduction was, and is, a basic component of state-building—an assertion that gets little attention in analyses of social and political change in border regions. This article describes the consolidation phase of territorial expansion as a feminine or yin process that relied upon incremental, organic growth, or "soft" assertions of power. Government documents, published materials, census records, and journalistic reporting are used to demonstrate these patterns and processes.