China's Opening Door

September 8, 1978

Report Outline
Policy Changes in Post-Mao Era
China since Communist Takeover
Outlook for Big Power Relations
Special Focus

Policy Changes in Post-Mao Era

China's Priorities at Home and Abroad

A century ago, the European powers were busy carving out economic spheres of influence in China. To ensure that China remained territorially intact and “open” to all outside interests, the United States, in 1899, asked the European governments to agree to an Open Door policy in China. The Chinese, who never forgot the humiliation they suffered at the hands of foreigners, now are beginning to open a few doors of their own. The leaders who came to power after Mao Tse-tung died on Sept. 9, 1976, seem determined to modernize China and bring it out of its relative isolation.

Mao's successor, Communist Party Chairman and Premier Hua Kuo-feng, has paid dutiful lip service to Maoist theory and practice. But Hua's insistence on the need to upgrade agriculture, industry, education, defense and particularly science and technology is in many respects a reversal of Mao's doctrines of “uninterrupted revolution” and “self-sufficiency.” Hua told a national conference on finance and trade in Peking on July 7, 1978, that China should “learn everything that is advanced from other countries.”

The Fifth National People's Congress (NPC), held in Peking from Feb. 26 to March 6, 1978, adopted an ambitious eight-year development plan. Among other things, the plan called for a tripling of steel production, a 40 percent increase in grain production, an annual industrial growth rate of 10 percent a year and the development of over 100 large industrial projects.

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