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Encyclopedia of World Cultures by David Levinson

By David Levinson

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The Khitan developed their own writing system and encouraged an economy based on a mix of agriculture and pastoralism. Except for adherence to Buddhism, they resisted Sinicization. " The Chinese-led Song dynasty that eventually wrested control of north China from the Liao divides into two periods. The Northern Song (960 to 1126) ruled from Kaifeng but only briefly reunified inner China, which soon fell to the northern nomads. Ruzhen (}in) and Mongols (Yuan) ruled the northern tier and North China Plain, whereas the Southern Song (1127-1179) reestablished a capital at Hangzhou and tried to consolidate rule of the south.

However, irrigation farming and wet-rice agriculture are also found among some of the minorities, particularly the Dai, Bai, and Naxi. In recent years, cash crops have been encouraged by the state, particularly tobacco, rubber, sugar, tea, coffee, and tropical fruits in the most southern areas. Until the 1950s, slash-and-burn agriculture was practiced in the uplands, where the population depended on oats, buckwheat, potatoes, maize, and other "rough" grains supplemented by hunting and forest gathering.

During the years of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) brigades were restricted in their economic activities and the general conditions in the countryside failed to improve. During these years of experiment with various forms of collective work in agriculture, there was some growth of the urban centers. The rural population fell from close to 90 percent in 1949 to 80 percent in 1961. But in the late 1950s, the government began to strictly supervise movement from the rural areas into the cities.

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