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Model Rebels

The Rise and Fall of China's Richest Village

Bruce Gilley (Author)

A portentous tale of rural rebellion unfolds in Bruce Gilley's moving chronicle of a village on the northern China plains during the post-1978 economic reform era. Gilley examines how Daqiu Village, led by Yu Zuomin, a charismatic Communist Party secretary and president of the local industrial conglomerate, became the richest village in China and a model for the rural reforms of the 1980s and early 1990s. A growing campaign of political resistance led to increasing tensions between the villagers and the Chinese state, and eventually, in an event that made headlines around the world, an armed confrontation between the village and higher authorities backed by paramilitary police brought Yu Zuomin and his village crashing down.
Bruce Gilley is a contributing editor to the Far Eastern Economic Review in Hong Kong and the author of Tiger on the Brink: Jiang Zemin and China's New Elite (California, 1998).
"Bruce Gilley offers us a riveting tale of local resistance and a timely reminder that great wealth can trigger defiance rather than acquiescence."—Kevin O'Brien, author of Reform Without Liberalization

"This engrossing narrative explains how Yu Zuomin, a dedicated communist, took advantage of China's market reforms to lead his historically poverty-stricken Daqiu Village to astounding and ostentatious wealth. Bruce Gilley portrays Yu as a new kind of peasant rebel. He in sightfully draws out the way in which the Party-run Chinese media first lavished praise on Yu and then, when he overstepped his bounds, demonized him."—Thomas Gold, author of State and Society in the Taiwan Miracle

"The meteoric rise and fall of China's most famous village, Daqiu, and its audacious former boss, Yu Zuomin, provides a cautionary tale of the perils and pitfalls of 'getting rich quick' in post-reform China. In this outstanding book, Bruce Gilley turns a powerful microscope on Daqiu, skillfully rendering its story as a first-class political thriller. Gilley writes so well, his arguments and exposition are so clear, and his case study is so fascinating that the reader is apt to devour it in a single sitting—as I did."—Richard Baum, author of Burying Mao: Chinese Politics in the Age of Deng Xiaoping

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