A Chinese village in transition: some preliminary findings


Wong, Shan-lam

TitleA Chinese village in transition: some preliminary findings
PublisherSocial Research Center, the Chinese University of Hong Kong
Publication DateNovember, 1975

Rural conditions

Tai Po Tau Village

Abstract/ Concluding Remarks:

The tempo of industrialization and urbanization of the greater society of Hong Kong has its pervasive effects on the institutional patterns of the village. With the expanding economy, the pressure of population growth, the popularization of education, the non-farming job opportunities for both men and women, and the unprecedented advancement in mass communication technology as well as in transportation facilities, industrial urbanism can no longer be confined to the urban sectors of the Colony. It becomes virtually impossible for the rural villages, especially those like Tai Po Tau, strategically located along the major transportation routes and right at the edge of a market town, to escape from the invading force of industrial urbanism.


Having a large heterogeneous group living in the village and a great majority of the economically active inhabitants, both the natives and the immigrants, entering into various kinds of occupational undertakings in different parts of the Colony, the earthbound characteristics and its accompaniments of this traditional village are fading rapidly as no conservative community being caught in the midst of change can resist the incessant impact brought in daily by a huge number of mobile persons who are found in almost every family. Consequently, the value system, production activities, consuming behavior patterns, goal aspiration, power structure, family relationships and life styles of the village community are all being reshaped by trailing after the prevailing culture of the city folks.


A number of forces are in operation conducive to the disintegration of this rural entity. Governmental intervention in reorganizing the power structure of the village has destroyed the local autonomy. The invasion by industry and the encroachment of urban culture coming from many directions has disrupted the village’s traditional earthbound characteristics to an alarming extent. The infiltration of a large heterogeneous population has destroyed its homogeneity. The diversity in occupational employment found mostly in the city minimizes the frequency of face-to-face contact even among next door neighbors. Blood relationship also is not sufficient to sustain kinship solidarity in face of the weakening influence of traditional core values, the fading of earthbound compulsion in making a living and the lack of my felt necessity for depending upon other people in the village neither for group security nor for the individuals’ goal attainment. In other words, when people fail to perceive their roles in contributing to the functional operation of the social network, or to appreciate the need for interdependence, group integration becomes correspondingly low. Such is the case we found in our study.

NoteBibliography pp. 24-27
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