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Property Inheritance and Old-Age Support in Peasant Families with Only Daughters in Rural North China, 1949–2014 (华北乡村有女儿无儿子家庭的财产继承和赡养, 1949–2014)

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Based on the civil judicial archives of Changli county, Hebei, from 1949 to 1976, the judicial archives of the town of Li (Lizhen), Changli county, from 1992 to 2014, and seven re-investigations of Houjiaying village, which had been surveyed by Japanese Mantetsu researchers in the 1930s and 1940s, this article examines the changing patterns of property inheritance and old-age support of peasant families with only daughters in rural North China from 1949 to 2014, focusing on how the practice of inheritance rights for daughters was gradually formed by the rigid enforcement of the one-child policy and the promulgation of the 1985 Law of Succession. The proportion of peasant families with only daughters has rapidly risen from 15 percent to 20–30 percent due to the enforcement of one-child policy in the 1980s, which led to the abolishing of the old adoption (of a son) system and uxorilocal marriage, both of which had been practiced in the Mao era. Property inheritance in peasant families with only daughters also experienced a huge change from the Mao era to the Reform era. During the Maoist era, parents of peasant families with only daughters always adopted a son or took a son-in-law into their family to inherit their property and support them in their old age. They did so because of the subsistence pressure in families without enough adult male labor to earn sufficient workpoints. During the Reform era, parents of families with only daughters leave their village to live with their daughters in one or another of two patterns. In the first, the parents live with one daughter for the rest of their lives and the daughter who supports them inherits their property. In the second, all the daughters take turns providing support and all eventually inherit equally. This trend shows that because daughters are involved in supporting the parents in old age, the tightly intertwined relationship between property inheritance and old-age support remains unaltered in peasant families with only daughters. 本文使用了河北省昌黎县法院1949–1976年间的民事档案、昌黎县李镇1992年至2014年间的司法所档案,及对李镇侯家营村——满铁重点调查的六个村庄之一——的七次田野调查,探讨了1949年至今华北乡村有女儿无儿子家庭财产继承和赡养的演变。在比例上,因为计划生育政策的严格推行,华北乡村有女儿无儿子家庭从民国时期的15%增加到了当代的20–30%。 从集体化时期到改革开放时期,在财产继承模式上,华北乡村有女儿无儿子家庭的财产继承也经历了巨大的转变,在集体化时期,此类家庭中父母普遍同时采用招赘女婿和过继两种形式,让女婿或继子继承财产。在改革开放时期,在有女儿无儿子家庭中形成了所有女儿均分继承或由一个女儿继承所有财产。在赡养模式上,集体化时期由于以工分为核心的分配体制,使得家庭劳动力特别重要,招赘女婿和过继在社会后果上都增加家庭的男性劳动力,因而可以说是应对生存压力的重要途径,所以集体化时期流行的是赘婿或继子赡养;而改革开放时期华北乡村有女儿无儿子家庭则普遍由所有女儿均承担赡养义务或由一个女儿赡养,父母选择何种方式则和财产继承模式相关。 (This article is in English.)

Affiliations: 1: Caijing《财经》Magazine


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