China's Second Revolution: Reform after Mao

China's Second Revolution: Reform after Mao

China's Second Revolution: Reform after Mao

China's Second Revolution: Reform after Mao

Synopsis

China has, since 1976, been enmeshed in an extraordinary program of renewal and reform. The obvious changes-- the T-shirts, blue jeans, makeup, and jewelry worn by Chinese youth; the disco music blaring form radios and loudspeakers on Chinese Streets; the televisor antennas mushrooming form the urban apartment complexes and suburban peasant housing; the bustling free markets selling meat, vegatabels, and clothing in Chin's major cities-- reflect a fundamental shift in the government's policy toward the economy and political life.

Excerpt

His volume is an overview of China's "second revolution"--the sweeping political and economic reforms undertaken in the post- Mao era under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping. The reforms are unsurpassed in scope and complexity, involving nothing less than a fundamental reshaping of Chinese society. Almost every institution in the country--from stores to farms, factories to universities, and military units to Party committees--has seen tremendous changes in personnel, structure, and operation. The ways in which goods are allocated, people employed, prices determined, policies adopted, leaders selected, projects financed, students trained, and foreign trade conducted have all been redefined. These changes are not only momentous for China but may also affect the reforms being implemented elsewhere in the communist world, as well as profoundly influence China's economic relations with the West.

Since China's second revolution is still under way, it cannot be analyzed with the certainty that hindsight would provide. Indeed, the production of this book has closely paralleled the cyclical evolution of reform in post-Mao China. The project was designed during the campaign against "spiritual pollution" in the winter of 1983-84; the principal research was conducted as the Chinese announced their urban economic reforms and their Seventh Five- Year Plan in 1984-85; the first draft was prepared while leaders in Peking grappled with the serious economic problems confronting them in 1985-86; and a second draft was begun just as student protests swept China's larger cities in late 1986. Moreover, the book appears as the Thirteenth National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party is convening--a meeting that could well be a major turning point in the history of the reform program. Each twist and turn in the tortuous course of reform has underlined the inherent problems in trying to reach a balanced assessment of the accomplishments and shortcomings of a reform process that will take decades to complete.

Despite these difficulties, the importance of the post-Mao reforms warrants an effort at a comprehensive overview and analysis. The fall of 1986 marked the tenth anniversary of the death of Mao Zedong, and the summer of 1987 the tenth anniversary of the political rehabilitation of Deng Xiaoping. Given that China's second revolution is therefore more than a decade old, a mid-course assessment of the Chinese reforms is long overdue, even though the story continues to unfold.

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