A Hundred Million Lives on File?––Confidential Records and Social Control in Mao Zedong’s China

Project: Research

Layman's description

The research project “A Hundred Million Lives on File?––Confidential Records and Social Control in Mao Zedong’s China” sought to throw light on the “dossier dictatorship” imposed on ordinary citizens by the Chinese Communist Party at the height of the Cold War.

The original aim of the project “A Hundred Million Lives on File?––Confidential Records and Social Control in Mao Zedong’s China” (as launched in late 2003) was to throw light on the system whereby the Chinese Communist Party exercised social control in the 1950s and 60s by maintaining extensive confidential records on ordinary citizens’ actions and utterances, private and public. Drawing upon the contents of a massive cache of original discontinued confidential files and dossiers, it resulted initially in a few shorter articles and an anthology (in Swedish) of autobiographies lifted from such files/dossiers, entitled “Nine Lives: Life Stories Written at the Request of the Authorities.” In due course, the focus of the project began shifted, however, away from the Maoist dossier dictatorship to the surveillance state and in particular the phenomenon of the agents (teqing) extensively employed by organs of public security. The most important product to date of this latter phase of the project is the book Spying for the People: Mao’s Secret Agents, 1949–1967, due to be published by Cambridge University Press in late 2012. It tells the story of the domestic covert operations of Mao’s public security organs through a detailed examination of the cultivation and recruitment of their agents, their training and operational activities.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date2004/01/012011/12/31

Participants

Related research output

Michael Schoenhals, 2013 Jan 23, 中华读书报, p. 10-10.

Research output: Contribution to specialist publication or newspaperNewspaper article

Michael Schoenhals, 2013, Mass Dictatorship and Modernity. Kim, M., Kim, Y-W. & Schoenhals, M. (eds.). Palgrave Macmillan, Vol. #2 in book series "Mass Dictatorship in the 20th Century". p. 53-70

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter

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