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Why The Star Shines Over China Episode 4: Reform and Opening-up,a Brilliant Stroke

2021/8/12 23:25:17

Reform and Opening-up,a Brilliant Stroke

In December 1978, the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) was held, ushering in the historic policy of reform and opening up.

It has been proved over the following 40-plus years that reform and opening up is a vital step to seal the destiny of contemporary China.

The reform firstly started from the countryside.

In 1978, Xiaogang Village (in Fengyang County, Chuzhou City, Anhui Province) suffered a severe drought.

To go through it, Yan Junchang, the leader of the village's production team, called together 18 householders to sit around a kerosene lamp and hold secret discussions on dividing the farmland among themselves.

The 18 farmers put their fingerprints in red ink on a crumpled written agreement.

The content of this contract was very simple.It read,“We allot farmland to households under contract.Each householder must give their signature or fingerprint here.

If it works, each household must ensure the fulfillment of contracted grain to the state and promise not to ask for assistance from the government for grain and money.

If we fail, we —the village leaders —are ready to be put in jail and other commune members pledge to take care of all of our children until they are 18 years old."

As these farmers were scared and heavy-hearted, this historic contract was written in a scrawled way. There were even some wrongly written characters.

They did not expect that this contract made against the backdrop of hunger inadvertently became a manifesto of reform in rural areas.

Before long, China's rural reform kicked off nationwide.

The household contract responsibility system was widely introduced throughout the country.

The practice has proved that the implementation of the contract responsibility system has enabled the broad masses of Chinese farmers to obtain the right to manage land, which greatly aroused their initiative and developed rural productivity.

The per capita GDP of the United States was 41 times that of China in 1965, and reached 76 times that of China (US$127) in 1978. The gap was still widening.

European countries had established their highway networks, while in China there was no highway at all; in Marseille of France, the annual output of 3.5 million metric tons of steel at the Salmer steel plant only required about 7,000 workers, while nearly 67,000 workers just produced 2.3 million metric tons in the Wuhan iron and steel plant.

What a huge gap between China and the West!

Based on a series of investigations and discussions, the CPC Central Committee decided to open up to the world for better development.

In July 1979, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council decided to implement special policies and preferential measures to facilitate foreign economic activities in Guangdong and Fujian provinces, based on the favorable conditions that both provinces were adjacent to Hong Kong and Macao, and had a large number of overseas Chinese.

In May 1980, China planned to set up special economic zones in Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Shantou in Guangdong Province and Xiamen in Fujian Province.

In the following years, China opened up 14 coastal cities such as Dalian, Qinhuangdao, Tianjin and Yantai, opened up in two steps the Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta, Xiamen-Zhangzhou-Quanzhou Triangle in southern Fujian, Liaodong Peninsula and Jiaodong Peninsula,set up Hainan Province and established the Hainan Special Economic Zone.

However, at the critical moment of national development, some people questioned whether the reform and opening up should be surnamed socialism or capitalism, and began to waver in their adherence to the Party's basic line.

Such a misunderstanding seriously hindered the deepening of reform and opening up. Especially the severe criticism of the market economy made people worry about the danger of turning back to old approaches.

At this crucial moment, Deng Xiaoping visited southern China and delivered important speeches in early 1992, answering many questions that had long plagued people.

He stressed that we should not waver in our adherence to the basic line, and that planning and market forces are both means of controlling economic activities. He proposed that the essence of socialism is to achieve common prosperity by liberating and developing productive forces, and we should seize the opportunity to improve ourselves .

In October 1992, the 14th National Congress of the CPC was held. The Congress established the guiding position of the theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics, made it clear that the goal of China's economic system reform is to build a socialist market economic system, and required the whole Party to seize the opportunity, accelerate development, and concentrate on economic construction.

Marked by Deng Xiaoping's talks during his southern tour and the 14th National Congress of the CPC, China's reform and opening up as well as socialist modernization has since entered a new phase of development.

The direction determines the path, and the path determines the future.

Since the reform and opening up, the Chinese people have made fundamental achievements under the leadership of the CPC, that is, creating and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, said in 2013 that the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics has not come easily. "It has been forged through more than 30 years of reform and opening up, through more than 60 years of continuous exploration since the founding of the People's Republic of China, through the profound summary of more than 170 years of development of the Chinese nation in modern times, and through the inheritance of the over 5,000-year-oldChinese civilization. It has a profound historical origin and an extensive practical foundation."

Now, what matters most is to unswervingly follow this path, keep pace with the times to expand this path, and continue to open up the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. 

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