The wide range of spatial variations has led to the adoption of diverse schemes for regionalizing China. Scholars of regional change generally take two stances in defining their ‘regions’. Some like Lewis Mumford and G.William Skinner have emphasized the resilience of natural regions. Skinner, in particular, has undertaken meticulous and fundamental research to uncover the details of Chinese macroregions. Most social scientists, however, have tended to use the term ‘region’ loosely. For them, the ‘region’ is merely a taxonomic category for dividing up the national space. There would be different types of regions depending on the criteria used. A region can be an area with distinct natural boundaries or simply an administrative unit such as a province or a county (see provincial government). Or it may be a broad geographical area containing a population whose members possess sufficient historical, cultural, economic and social homogeneity to distinguish them from others. In this essay, we use the term ‘region’ in a somewhat narrowly defined sense to refer to relations that span provincial boundaries in China. Since the CCP came to power, state policy has played a major role in the regionalization of China. In the early 1950s, the CCP drew on its lineage of decentralized military base areas and set up six large regions-the CentralSouth, East China, the Northeast, the Southeast, North China and the Northeast (Inner Mongolia and Tibet were administered separately). These large regions, headed by an illustrious group that included generals such as Lin Biao, Liu Bocheng and Peng Dehuai, not only were a layer of government administration but also overlapped with Party regional bureaux and military regions. Regional leaders were allowed considerable scope for local experimentation and soon gained much leeway in governing their territories. The centre laid down policies in fairly general form and left it to the regions to determine the pace and means of policy implementation. Each region was supposed to attain self-sufficiency in the production of key minerals and industrial products so that it could survive independently in the event of foreign invasion, a scenario that was not far-fetched in light of the Sino-American confrontation on the Korean Peninsula (see Korean War).