Identify and discuss two or three major challenges the Chinese reformers faced since 1978.

Essay by tinytinCollege, UndergraduateB, March 2007

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The establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949 had been a significant year in the history of the Chinese. China has been experiencing tremendous change since then. Unlike that of traditional China, there were fundamental changes in the social structure and stratification in Communist China. Socialist doctrine was implemented and a leftist policy obsessed with ideology control and mass line was stressed before 1978. But there was a shift of policy direction in the late 1970s, and a more open policy was employed. Economic reform which aims at the development of "socialist market economy" was enforced by Deng Xiaoping. As a result, the average living standard of vast population have been improved, in which, officially around 200 million people escaped "absolute poverty", i.e. they have enough to eat. Moreover, China's GDP increased from $43.6 billion to $904 billion between 1979 and 1997. Exports increased at a rate of 52% annually (Tomlinson 1999).

All the figures are positive which reflect a promising future of China economically. However, new challenges such as declining of political control and increasing social problems were growing serious everyday. Some people may even argue that the Chinese Communist Party has become the victim of its own economic success (Ferdinand 1996).

The ruling of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) originally was a top-down model, in which policies were centrally planned and being carried out by the cadres, who were appointed by the Party. Policies such as mutual-aid team, collectivization and communization were carried out in the 1940s and 1950s. Thus, the contemporary China was a highly political centralized state. However, after the drawbacks of the "ten bad years" and the Cultural Revolution, reality demanded an economic reform. After the death of Mao in 1976 and the downfall of "Gang of Four", the final obstacle to economic...