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Panda NationThe Construction and Conservation of China's Modern Icon$
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E. Elena Songster

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199393671

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199393671.001.0001

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Nation Building and the Nature of Communist Conservation

Nation Building and the Nature of Communist Conservation

(p.34) 2 Nation Building and the Nature of Communist Conservation
Panda Nation

E. Elena Songster

Oxford University Press

Through a thorough examination of government policies from the 1950s and 1960s, this chapter demonstrates a shift in the Chinese governmental view of nature. Nature had been seen alternately as either a hurdle to overcome or a well of resources and hidden knowledge. Following the Great Leap Forward (1958-9) and subsequent famine, government officials acquired a new perspective of nature and, for the first time, saw nature simultaneously as a means of generating revenue and a place in need of protection. I position these policies in the context of broader communist ideological rhetoric to illustrate that government officials and scientists engaged in rigorous dialogue and expressed varied views on the place of nature in communist thought. The rhetoric in China’s nature protection policies offers striking parallels to the arguments posed by Progressive-era American conservationists.

Keywords:   Nature protection, Conservation, Communist ideology, Great Leap Forward, Famine, Hunting, Precious species, Protected species, Harmful species, Nature reserve, Zhu Kezhen

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