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Assess the view that ideological modification is the major reason for the success of

Chinas economic reforms.


Before China could open up in 1978, Deng understood the socio-political realities at
the point in them in the immediate aftermath of Maos decades of rule and
indoctrination. While ideological modification itself did not bring in any quantifiable
economic credits for China, it is instrumental in allowing all the other measures of
reforms to take place. Hence this essay seeks to argue that ideological modification
is the most important reason for the success of Chinas economy as without it,
economic reforms that were necessary for survival could not have taken place,
much less success.
Chinas economic success would not have been possible without rural reforms which
in turn resulted in ample supply of food and man power for subsequent urbanization
and industrialization. In 1979, Deng modified the agricultural system. The
government allowed farmers to sell produce from private plots so as to lift a large
number of peasants out of poverty. By 1984, more than 99% of production units had
adopted the Household Production Responsibility System. Further liberalization of
the grain market began in 1993 and more than 90% of all agricultural produce was
sold at market determined prices that signaled the transformation of Chinese
agriculture from a command and control system to a largely free-market sector. In
1997, the Four Separations and One Perfection policy was introduced to further
the independence of agrarian economy from governmental interference and to
strengthen grain market mechanism. Such agrarian reforms provided China with
sufficient food supply which in turn resolve the food security problem and allowed
other market reforms to be carried out.
Industrial restructuring which resulted in greater efficiency in productivity is also
responsible for Chinas success. Enterprises and factories were allowed to keep
profits, use merit pay and offer bonuses and other incentives, which greatly boosted
productivity. There was a shift from central planning and reliance on heavy industry
to consumer-oriented industries and reliance on foreign trade and investment. 12
state companies to control imports and exports and SEZs were also set up along the
southern coastline in 1978. In 1985, SOEs were allowed to sell their products in the
market and the prices were freely determined. Modern corporate system was
introduced to the SOEs in 1993. Industrial restructuring improved the efficiency of
firms and allowed the production level to improve by leaps and bounds, thereby
attaining success.
Allowance of privatization is also crucial in causing Chinas economic success as it
resulted in greater productivity and profitability in Chinas economic activities. In
1997, private ownership was elevated to an important component of the
economy. In 1999, Private ownership was incorporated into the Chinese
constitution. Large numbers of workers were laid off after 1995 as a result of
privatization of the SOEs and restructuring of the Chinese economy. In 1993, the
CCP introduced a broad program to restructure, sell off or declare the bankruptcy of
thousands of state-owned industries whose heavy losses and inefficiency
threatened the countrys economic expansion. Under the slogan of grasp the large,
release the small tens of thousands of SOEs were privatized. In 2003, the
privatization drive was accelerated further when some large SOEs were put on block

and foreign and private investors were allowed to buy majority stake in them. At the
same time, tens of thousands of new private and quasi-private enterprises were set
up. Privatization led to greater productivity, profitability in Chinas economic
activities and hence consequentially led to Chinas economic success.
With the opening up of coastal regions to foreign trade investment, Chinas
economy soon generated growth in revenue, resulting in its success. China
established Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Shantou in
Guangdong Province and Xiamen in Fujian Province, and designated the entire
province of Hainan as a special economic zone since 1980. These areas enjoyed
special privileges such as lower corporate tax rates and private ownership that
boosted economic growth. In 1984, 14 more coastal cities were opened up to China.
In 1992, Deng took his famous Southern Tour to ring endorsement to privatization
and free enterprises and encourage foreign investors to bring their money to China
by selling on the point of Chinas large market. With China soon becoming the
worlds largest FDI destination at that point in time, economic development soon
picked up and took flight.
Nevertheless, the aforementioned measures would not have been possible without
the policies justification provided by ideological modification. The process of
reforming Chinas moribund economic system and opening up to the outside
world was carried out under the auspices of socialism with Chinese
characteristics and Deng insisted that the reforms were not capitalistic. To detach
himself from theoretical arguments which he perceived as meaningless and divisive,
preferring to let the positive outcome speak for themselves, Deng often use the
adage seek truth from facts to support his economic reforms. Without ideological
modifications, Deng would not have been able to carry out his other reforms and
economic success could not have been achieved.
Ideological modification is also the most important factor as it provided China sociopolitical stability that is the vital groundwork for its economic success. In the 1980s,
Deng said to get rich is glorious and later added let some get rich first. Many
Chinese have taken this maxim to heart and have become very rich. In 1992,
Dengs concept of Socialist market economy was adopted by the 14 th Party
Congress. Operationally, the market was now the mainstay of the economy with the
socialist pat confined to the public ownership of certain modes of production such
as the SOEs. Deng wanted economic parestroika but not political glasnost and
followed East Asian tradition of development first, democratization later. As such,
using socialist market economy with Chinese characteristics as the goal of
economic reforms, economic development was able to be achieved without
upsetting socio-political stability.
Ideological modification is the most important factor leading to Chinas economic
success as it silences powerful opposition against Dengs reforms within the CCP. In
the Period of Reform and Opening up, Deng needed great political skill and patience
to get his reforms past hardliners in the Chinese Politburo. Opposition forces were so
strong that there was always a belief that Dengs reforms could be reversed any
moment without ideological modification as the strong backing for the reforms.
Mantras like Seek truth from facts, Socialism is not about being poor and Any
cat that can catch a mouse is a good cat were followed closely to conjure the

appearance that reforms were in tandem with Maos teachings and to subliminally
shift the mindset of the party members and the masses. China is an ideological
state. Without ideological modification to get the hardliners to be tolerant of the
reforms, Deng would have faced insurmountable resistance in carrying out his
market reforms and success today would not have been possible.
In conclusion, ideological modification provided the crucial groundwork for the other
causes to take place. Change in ideology was instrumental in legitimizing Dengs
measure at effecting the market reforms like rural reforms, industrial restructuring
and opening up to global trade and investments such that Chinas economy can
attain success today. Hence, ideological modification is the most important cause of
Chinas success.