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Genealogy of the Liberated Area Type Colleges in China
During the Sino-Japanese War, there were many institutions training various kinds of cadres in the so-called liberated areas, particularly in Yan'an. These institutions can be divided into two groups in terms of content or scope of curriculum, i.e. one represented by the Chinese People's Anti-Japanese Military and Political College (Kang-da in short in Chinese) and the other represented by Yan'an College (Yan-da). The former mainly aimed to train cadres of the People's Liberation Army and the latter aimed to train specialists of broader fields including economics, literature, art, science, technology and so on. Such institutions not only existed in that period, but continued to be run in the subsequent period of war against Kuomintang or the Nationalist regime and even in the early days of the People's Republic. Some of them were gradually adapted and involved in organizing the academic system of the new state.
This paper coins such institutions with a general term of "liberated area (LA) type colleges." This paper traces the development of some examples of LA type colleges, both Kang-da type and Yan-da type and considers how they underwent changes to meet the social demands and how some of them finally became full-time ordinary universities and colleges constituting a part of a new system of higher education. Some of these institutions were originated in the old liberated area or Sino-Japanese War period and others in the new liberated area or the Kuomintang-Communist War period. Therefore, they are classified into four categories as follows:
Category I includes Military and Political Colleges in Northeast and South China regions which were direct successors of Kang-da.
Category II includes Military and Political Colleges in the Northwest and North China regions, which were established in the new liberated ares.
Category III includes North China College, South China College and Northwest People's Revolutionary College, which were a blend of institutions originated in the old and new liberated areas such as Yan-da, North China Associated College, Beifang College or Northern College, etc.
Categoty IV includes Northeast Administration College, Nanfang College or Southern College, People's Revolutionary Colleges in North China, South China and Southwest regions as well as Fubei, Funan and Guangxi provinces, born in the Nationalist-Communist War period.
It is significant to see when and how the duration of study was prolonged, curriculum was enriched, and admission requirements were fortified in analyzing the process of transformation from LA type into ordinary universities and colleges. However, the situation of each institution in terms of such criteria varied so greatly, as scrutinized in this paper, that it is almost impossible to generalize the transforming process of LA type colleges. Conversely speaking, it may be possible to say that LA type colleges without any uniformity or standardized principle reacted very flexibly to changing wartime and social conditions. It should also be noted that they continued to maintain student provision for fees and commodities necessary for life and study on campus. Amongst others, the most important influence that today's ordinary Chinese universities and colleges inherited from LA type colleges is the central theme of higher education, that is, the education of socialist ideology and politics. While the ordinary universities and colleges before the liberation had not accumulated experience in this field at all, LA type colleges were characterized by this kind of teaching.