With few exceptions, the study of rural society in modern China usually focuses on a particular area. This tradition of local study has dominated the field of social and economic history and has also restricted scholars for many years. Up to now, the two most studied rural areas have been the North China plain and the Yangzi delta.1 One obvious reason for this is the availability of source materials: these two areas happen to be the richest in this regard. A more substantial reason is the importance of these two areas in modern Chinese history. The North China plain was the major base of the Communist forces during the War of Resistance against Japan (19371945) and the Civil War (1946-1949). The Yangzi delta, on the other hand, was the core area of Nationalist control before and after the War of Resistance, and also the core of Japanese occupation during the war. In addition, these two areas exemplified two different rural economies: the North China plain possessed a relatively self-sufficient agrarian economy, whereas the Yangzi delta had a highly commercialized one. Scholars have also been interested in exploring the political implications of these two very different rural economies.