The Death of Woman Wang Themes

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The Poverty of T'an-ch'eng

T'an-ch'eng County is a civilized society, with organized economic activity, houses with rooms, taxation, a central government and a system of law. Yet, the massive poverty of the majority of its inhabitants is evident. From historical record, a much large population lived in the county fifty years before 1670, and was able to farm a much greater area. Now, in the 1670s, as reported by Magistrate Huang, the population tends to feel like the world is coming to an end, and needs to be publicly reassured that civilization in continuing. Maintaining an area in the face of natural disasters can be difficult, but what is even worse is the level of fighting. Rebellions and banditry are recurring features of life in T'an-ch'eng and Shantung Province.

Below the level of outright organized murder and looting, the richer part of the population is often engaged in looting the...

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This section contains 928 words
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