It all began when angry villagers accused the Party secretary of turning off the electricity to an ice lolly (binggunr or popsicle) factory whose owner had refused to pay bribes. The lolly maker had not been paying his rent but that was no reason, they said, to melt his stock and to cause the bank to foreclose on the village's most profitable enterprise.
We should like to thank Thomas P. Bernstein, Donald Clarke, Daniel Kelliher and Lei Guang for their helpful comments on an earlier draft. For generous financial support we are indebted to the Henry Luce Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Ohio State University. O'Brien would also like to thank the Ford Foundation and Pacific Cultural Foundation for supporting his field work in 1992 and 1994, while Li would like to acknowledge the China Times Cultural Foundation and the Sun Yat-sen Culture & Education Foundation for sponsoring his dissertation field research in 1993. Essential assistance in the field was provided by many individuals, including Yang Aimin and Fu Xizhong at the Hebei Academy of Social Science, Gao Shan and Li Changqing of the Hebei People's Congress, Wang Zhenhai and Yao Dongfang at the Shandong Academy of Social Science, Bai Yihua and Wang Zhenyao of the Ministry of Civil Affairs, Mi Youlu and Wang Aiping of the Xiangihen luntan editorial board, Zhang Houan of Huazhong Normal University, and Che Mingzhou and Zhu Guanglei of Nankai University.