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Beijingfuturesdreams, 2008

Friday, June 27, 2008

Post-Mao in the PRC (People's Republic of China)

Deng Xiaoping

Mao's death tempered the cult of personality that enveloped the man, and the Communist Party of China (CPC) for nearly 30 years. When the political dust had finally settled in 1979, one of Mao's strongest rivals, Deng Xiaoping, had consolidated a powerful cadre intent on the nurturing of a modern China to blossom. Economic reform and an outreach to the international community are widely regarded as the legacy that Deng Xiaoping has left on the People's Republic of China (PRC).

The economic reform platform promoted by Deng was based on four key sectors: Agriculture, Industry, Science and Technology, and the Military. By reforming the economy as a "socialist capitalist economy," a newly structured series of state-owned enterprises, often built from the local level upwards, was made possible. By encouraging local arms of the government to act in their own best interest and share profitable plans with the nation at large, economic development first built a strong foundation on which to reach upwards.

Deng Xiaopeng was also very active in building positive relations with the international community. This new policy of openness, coupled with the Special Economic Zones (SEZs), channeled vast amounts of foreign investment into China's developing economy. New trade partnerships, and a policy of increasing transparency helped to establish China on the world stage. Additionally, he helped to negotiate the peaceful return of Hong Kong and Macau from foreign control.

Jiang Zemin

Beginning in 1990, Jiang Zemin served in the highest positions of the Chinese government. During his tenures as President of the People's Republic of China, the General Secretary for the CPC, and Chair of the CPC and PRC Military Commissions, Jiang was oversaw the continued implementation of economic reforms cross the nation.

Though critics are divided in addressing Jiang's personal contributions to Chinese policy and development, the nation was changing rapidly due to the reforms in place. Some say that Jiang's largest contribution to China was stability and adherence to the measures implemented by Deng Xiaoping and his economic reform specialists. Maintaining an average growth rate of 8%, the economy was able to weather even the Asian Financial crisis (ca. 1997), and exceed many global expectations.

Other analysts decree that while China's economic growth was continued during this time period, Jiang and his fellow party members may have failed to address some of the imbalances that grew out of Deng policy. It is further asserted that some of these initial discrepancies have since grown to be major schisms in the Chinese social fabric, and could undermine the developing nation in the future. Economic disparity between the Eastern seaboard, and western provinces, the growing gap between rich and poor segments of society, political corruption, and environmental disregard are now coming under discussion within the CPC and state policy makers. It has yet to be seen what the newest leadership will do to address these problems.

Hu Jintao

Beginning in 2003, the CPC and the PRC began another power transition at its highest levels. Jiang, peacefully stepping out of the Presidency and General Secretary of the CPC, promoted Hu Jintao as the new President of the PRC, and leader of the Communist Party. Some believe that Jiang's intention has been to divert media attention away from himself as social problems come to light within the PRC.

Hu Jintao was able to consolidate the three main power positions of the PRC as of this year; President of the state, General Secretary of the Party, and Chairman of the CPC Military Commission. He is now regarded as the premier political director for the PRC, and speculation abounds concerning the uncertainty still enshrouding China.

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