Urbanization has become a core strategy for the Communist Party of China (CPC) to reinforce its authoritarian rule over China. Its roll-out is replete with tensions, however, because the extent to which urbanization can replicate spatial egalitarianism, the foundation of CPC sovereign rule following its victory in the Chinese civil war (1946–49), remains unclear. To advance research on these tensions, this article first presents a genealogy of the multiple conditions that underpinned large-scale peasant mobilization to drive landownership redistribution. Rarely discussed in urban and regional research today, the logic and implications of landownership redistribution are crucial for comprehending and conceptualizing Chinese urbanization. Specifically, the genealogical analysis demonstrates how peasant mobilization engendered a de facto CPC-peasantry social contract that consolidated CPC rule. Rather than dissolve unproblematically as the Chinese political economy evolves into an urbanizing era, this contract has engendered path-dependent effects that constrain attempts at urban-rural integration. The article then adds a fresh historical-geographical dimension to existing research on Chinese urbanization and regime durability by introducing a new research agenda to examine why contemporary peasant mobilization across China not only differs from but is also shaped by the peasant mobilization of the late 1940s.