||Using archival data of a North Zhejiang village (Taiping) we examine two important issues of land reform in China in the early 1950s, namely the determinants of class status and the criteria of land redistribution. Our analysis yields two important findings. First, despite the emphasis on “preserving the Rich Peasant Economy”, class status was determined by whether a household had committed “exploitation”— specifically whether it had rented out land to other households—and by the amount of land a household owned. Second, not every household classified as belonging to the “underclass” benefited from land redistribution. In addition to considering the amount of land owned, the beneficiaries had to be those who rented in land from only the landlords and rich peasants; those who rented land from the other social classes were unable to benefit. These findings suggest that land reform was a complex social process, with the Marxian concept of “exploitation” figured importantly both in class determination and land redistribution.