Skills Support Project – Why isn’t China a fascinating country?
In this paper, we shall look at China from different aspects – Economic Growth, the One Child Policy, Culture, Food, and Political System. From all these aspects, we can understand China’s structure thoroughly and distinguish why China isn’t a fascinating country even though it is one of the leading countries in the world.
(1) Economic Growth
Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 until late 1970s, China had lived in a Soviet-style centrally planned economy. Following the death of President Mao Zedong in 1976 and the ending of the Cultural Revolution, Deng Xiaoping carried out a set of economic policies – the ‘Reform and Opening Up’ policy. It made the country moved towards a more market-oriented mixed economy under one-party rule, and turned the country into an economically developed nation. Under the policy, agricultural collectivization was replaced by farmlands privatized, while foreign trade became a major new focus. It also led to the creation of Special Economic Zones (SEZs). State-owned enterprises (SOEs) were restructured and the ones that were unprofitable were closed straight away, resulting in massive job losses. Now the modern China is mainly characterized as having a market economy based on private property ownership, and is one of the leading examples of state capitalism. It is noted the country still depends much on energy production and heavy industries, but private enterprise has expanded enormously throughout the years with around 30 million private businesses recorded in 2008. (a) Reform and Opening Up
Under the reform introduced by Deng Xiaoping, collective farming was replaced by a "responsibility system" which freed farmers to choose what crops to grow and to sell any surplus for profit. Deng encouraged foreign trade and investment through joint ventures with other foreign traders. Deng believed that a freer agriculture, trade and industry would lead the country to a better future. Due to president Mao’s death, the country was no longer under Mao’s communism brainwash and his policies were dismantled - people lived on communal lands could continue to farm collectively and those who wished to farm individually were allowed to do so – on land that was not privately owned. Exhortations about equality were out, and in its place was an emphasis on peasant initiative and incentives. Both collective farms and individual growers were encouraged to make as much profit as they could and to invest in all kinds of local business. People were encouraged to grow what suited them and to trade as they pleased. Under Deng’s Reform and Opening Up policy, manufacturing industries had to face economic realities such as the demand and the prices they should set for their goods. Managers who ran their own industry, minded the quality of their product, kept their own books and worked for their industry's profit, were working better than when the industries were being run by Party committees. Industries could fire people more easily now, making them more efficient and less like welfare institutions. In 1985, price controls were dropped from a range of manufactured goods. Although many of the industry remained state-owned, small-scale, privately own enterprises and joint ventures with foreign capitalists were allowed. Also thousands of privately owned small-scale businesses came into being, which employed millions of people. Individual initiative resulted in such stories - a director of a bankrupt shirt-making factory made the business prosperous by firing inept employees and introducing incentives that linked wages to output. A 34 year-old female engineer and eight other employees who took control of a foundering pharmaceutical company, branched into new products, introduced new manufacturing methods and turned a profit in their first year. In agriculture, the production of grain had risen to almost 300 million tons...
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