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The Three-In-One Mode Derailed: Multilateral Interaction in Guangdong’s Deworm Campaign Against Snail Fever

Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

After founding the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) reluctantly realized that its traditional way of governing – relying on revolutionary cadres to directly mobilize the masses – was no longer sufficient for its new identity as the ruling party of China. As a result, the Party made a compromise between its Marxist ideology and the actual need to utilize technocrats. It did so by forming the “three-in-one mode.” This mode comprised of the CCP, the technocrats, and the masses, and was applied to various fields, including industry, agricultural production, literature, and education. The mode’s success in practice was also credited by Chairman Mao as the key to eliminating snail fever, a symbolic health campaign in Maoist China. Utilizing newly available primary sources from Guangdong, one of the endemic provinces, this thesis provides a critical reexamination of the mode’s actual practice in the deworm campaign. It argues that practicing the three-in-one mode was a crucial part for the Party to construct the socialist state, but it encountered dilemmas when it tried to simultaneously utilize and control various insubordinate agents and failed to keep compromise between upholding its political agenda while not intervening in scientific pursuits. As this thesis shows, facing these challenges, the Party consolidated its leadership position and overcame inertia in local society by politicizing the campaign, thus derailed the mode from its initial design and brought notably high costs to the campaign starting in late 1958.

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