Deng Xiaoping, the famous politician and revolutionary of the modern history of China. From 1778 to 1990 he was the supreme leader of the People’s Republic of China. Deng Xiaoping was born in Guang An, a small city in Sichuan province. In 1920, he was only 16 years old and became one of the Chinese worker-students in France, three years later, he joined the CCP (Communist Party of China). In late 1927, he went back to Shanghai, China, he was the underground worker. Later when he became the leader of China, he created the new theory “socialism with Chinese characteristics”, which is combined with socialism and market economy, as same as “open door policy”. This policy is in order to “liberating the productive forces”1. Under the lead of Deng, the GPA, and the standard of living had a huge increase in two decades. Deng also proposed the “Tiananmen Square protests” in 19889, and then facilitated “Hong Kong reunification”. Meanwhile, in 1978 and 1985 he became the “Time Person of the Year”
The first reform of Deng was in Agriculture. During the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution”. China was in a socialist economy, and public ownership was the main stream. Agriculture and industrial were both destroyed, there is no perfect system in China, the Chinese economy was almost breakdown, people even did not have enough food to survive, everything should be reset. In this situation, the socialist economy seemed not suitable for China. Consequently, Deng as the leader decided to learn from Western countries, and Japan. Firstly, in agriculture, he separated “People’s communes” which was public ownership in food to private ownership and people can trade anything they want not by food distribution. “Under the new policy, peasants were able to exercise formal control of their land as long as they sold a contracted portion of their crops to the government”2. Because of this issue, the harvest increases almost a quarter from 1975 to 1985, which became one of the main factors of the success of the economic transition.
The second reform of Deng was in industry3. Deng introduce legislation to “dual price system”, which allowed the SOE (state-owned enterprises) to sell goods more than plan quota. This was not allowed during Mao’s era. “The reforms consist of such activities of creating inputs and output”4 Meanwhile, “Industrial Responsibility System” was another important system that had major impact. Deng proposed the populace could manage the companies through the contracts, which improved the enthusiasm for production in SOE, and also helped the economic transition.
The third and the most well-known reform of Deng was the “open door policy”. The “open door policy” is the policy that allowed foreign investment and implemented market economy in socialist way, which was the huge change of economy. Since Kuomintang, the government before CCP, there was no foreign investments. In the late 1970s, Deng decided to “open the door”5. However, Deng knew that there was a huge gap between market economy and managed economy, so this was unsuited to allow foreigners to invest in all areas or set up factories wherever they wanted, or these may cause unexpected disorderly competition and chaotic market. In this case, Deng decided to create “special economic zones” where are the coastal areas with suitable environment, adequate raw resources, and convenient transportation to attract foreign investments. Meanwhile, the policy in these zones were different from the rest of China, which seemed like market economy in socialist way. Although, before Deng, the market economy was treated as evil and not allowed, Deng had different ideas. He said “Planning and market forces are not the essential difference between socialism and capitalism. A planned economy is not the definition of socialism, because there is planning under capitalism; the market economy happens under socialism, too. Planning and market forces are both ways of controlling economic activity”6. Afterwards, there are 4 coastal areas became the “special economic zones”, one of the famous area is Shenzhen, where is the city near Hong Kong. Later in 10 years more and more cities implement the new policy, finally the whole country was in the “open door policy”, which helped Chinese economic increase sharply
Because of Deng, China has entered a new stage of economic development, not only GDP but also the living standards of people have been improved. Without Deng, without the “socialism with Chinese characteristics”, nowadays, China could not be the second-biggest economy, people could not have the living conditions as today. These are the reasons why Deng Xiaoping is the famous politician and revolutionary of the modern history of China.
1 Sullivan, Lawrence R. China since Tiananmen: Political, Economic, and Social Conflicts. Armonk, N.Y: M.E. Sharpe, 1995. 150
2 H., Hunt, Michael. The world transformed : 1945 to the present. p. 355. ISBN 9780199371020. OCLC 907585907. 355
3 Liou, Kuotsai Tom. “strategies and Lessons of China’s post?mao Economic Development.” Review of Policy Research 16, no. 1 (1999): 186.
4 Liou, Kuotsai Tom. “strategies and Lessons of China’s post?mao Economic Development.” Review of Policy Research 16, no. 1 (1999): 186~187.
5 Liou, Kuotsai Tom. “strategies and Lessons of China’s post?mao Economic Development.” Review of Policy Research 16, no. 1 (1999): 183-208.
6 F_493. “‘Market fundamentalism’ is unpractical.” ‘Market fundamentalism’ is unpractical – People’s Daily Online. Accessed January 30, 2018. http://en.people.cn/90780/7719657.html.