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Health care was poor or nonexistent for most peasants, and mortality rates were high.Civil unrest, warfare, and foreign invasions added to the difficulties.After the Communist revolution in 1949 rural conditions stabilized.Private ownership of land was abolished, but each peasant family was given a small plot to farm. The fluctuations in the food supply leveled off and life expectancy increased.
All these things have meant a considerable improvement in the quality of life and greater security for the family as a social unit.
Today some rural families are still likely to have three generations under one roof.
Yesterday, a Guangshan county hospital administrator said there were no deaths, although two of the children were badly injured and had been transferred to better-equipped hospitals outside the county.
MODERN CHINESE SOCIETY AND THE FAMILY [Compton's] Traditionally the family has been the most important unit of society, and this is still true. In rural areas, where about 74 percent of China's people live, the traditional family consisted of the head of the household, his sons, and their wives and children, often living under one roof.
Common surnames gave families membership in a clan.