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Urbanizing China in War and PeaceThe Case of Wuxi County$
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Toby Lincoln

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824841003

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824841003.001.0001

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A Connected City

A Connected City

Native Place Societies, Migration, and Disaster Relief

(p.108) Chapter Six A Connected City
Urbanizing China in War and Peace

Toby Lincoln

University of Hawai'i Press

The urbanization of Wuxi did more than change the built environment of the city and the countryside. It also connected Wuxi to a wider regional urban system. In the early twentieth century, Wuxi communities in Nanjing, Shanghai and Suzhou established tongxianghui (native place societies). These confirmed the city’s new regional importance, projecting its identity as an industrial center outwards. They were also trans-local organizations, helping individual migrants with problems moving to and settling in their host city. Moreover, they were a source of political capital to help Wuxi and its wider migrant population weather crises, such as floods and the impact of the Japanese attacks on Shanghai in 1932 and 1937. In doing so, they increasingly worked with the Nationalist Government, which gradually developed the capacity to manage crises, although even it needed help in 1937 when the Japanese invaded.

Keywords:   native place society, Nanjing, Suzhou, Shanghai, refugee, migrant

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