In 1976, at the death of its longtime leader Mao Zedong, China was in a state of economic stagnation and social chaos. Mao's radical policies and continual political campaigns, including the disastrous Cultural Revolution, had taken a heavy toll on the Chinese people. By the end of the decade, however, a more moderate, pragmatic leadership under Deng Xiaoping had come to power and put China on a course to recovery. In the four decades since then, China's economic growth has been nothing short of amazing. China is now one of the world's leading manufacturing centers, and an estimated 400 million of its people have been lifted out of poverty. Still, problems remain. Among them are a growing gap in living standards between rural and urban areas, rampant corruption, and a repressive government that has resisted political reforms. This volume provides a comprehensive view of China's historic reforms. It not only details what has been accomplished so far, but also offers a glimpse at what the future might hold for the world's most populous nation.
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