The policing of a South Chinese county, 1929-1949
Date of Issue2015
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Centre for Chinese Language and Culture
In 1927, when the Nationalist Party under Chiang Kai-shek established a republic, they also established a list of urgent duties. One was to reform the government structure from top to bottom so as to show the rest of the world its capability to govern the country in a modern way. While big cities were the showplaces for modernization and state-building, down at the county level, Chiang Kai-shek proclaimed Zhongshan in Guangdong the “model county.” To maintain this honor and its benefits, the local authorities made special efforts to restructure the government; reforming and retraining the police force was one important aspect of this attempt. While it is commonly held today that in the 1930s and 1940s county governments in the Pearl River Delta had disintegrated and were dominated by “local bosses,” this article uses previously inaccessible local records to examine Zhongshan County government and reform to answer one particular question: whether Zhongshan was successful in forming a modern police force. It examines a number of problems related to inefficiency and ineffectiveness in government administration, but at the same time also discusses why many civilians were welcoming, rather than suspicious, of the police. The answers to these issues suggest that the overall structure and management of the Zhongshan government (and even social integration) was to some extent consolidated in this period.
International journal of Asian studies
© 2015 Cambridge University Press. This paper was published in International Journal of Asian Studies and is made available as an electronic reprint (preprint) with permission of Cambridge University Press. The paper can be found at the following official DOI: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1479591414000217]. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic or multiple reproduction, distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.