Mao's China and After: A History of the People's Republic / Edition 3

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In this much-anticipated revision, Maurice Meisner again provides piercing insight and comprehensive coverage of China's fascinating and turbulent modern history. In addition to new information provided throughout this classic study, the new Part Six, "Deng Xiaoping and the Origins of Chinese Capitalism: 1976-1998," analyzes the country's uneasy relationships with democracy, socialism, and capitalism. Meisner incisively displays the contrasts between China's speech and actions regarding these subjects. Retaining the elegance, lucidity, fairness, insightfulness, and comprehensiveness he is known for, Meisner moves far beyond his previous work to paint a never-before-seen portrait of the political and social realities of China on the brink of the millennium, and the global implications of its rise to economic and political power.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Foreign Affairs Of the thousands of books that have been written about contemporary China, only a few will stand the test of time. This is one of them.

William W. Finan, Jr. Editor, Current History With this new edition, Maurice Meisner deftly places the "new" China that so captivates the West into the historical stream of policies, politics, and personalities that have ruled the country since Mao's 1949 revolution. His work is a refreshingly clear exposition of the contradictions and continuities that define China today.

Zhiyuan Cui Professor of Political Science, MIT Splendidly relates the human drama of the Chinese people and their leaders, with empathetic understanding and constructive criticism.

Lin Chun London School of Economics One of the foremost historians of our time, Professor Meisner offers a brilliant analysis in this new edition of the irony of Chinese socialism and of the origins of Chinese capitalism: the single most important theme in an age of catastrophic "transitions," with implications that go far beyond the border of the PRC.

William A. Joseph Chair, Department of Political Science, Wellesley College A superb and much-needed updating of a book that has been the definitive text on the history of the People's Republic of China....A deeply thoughtful and thought-provoking account of the socioeconomic, political, and ideological consequences of China's move toward the market in the post-Mao era....enriching and enthralling.

Marilyn B. Young Professor, History, New York University An excellent expansion of the original.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684856353
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/1999
  • Edition description: Subsequent
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 608
  • Sales rank: 581,800
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Maurice Meisner is the Harvey Goldberg Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Visiting Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics. His writings, which have been translated into Chinese, Korean, Japanese, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese, include Li Ta-chao and the Origins of Chinese Marxism; Marxism, Maoism and Utopianism; and many other works on modern Chinese history.

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Read an Excerpt

From Chapter 25

The End of the Reign of Deng Xiaoping: China in the 1990s

In the weeks following the Beijing massacre of June 3-4, 1989, it was widely predicted that economic stagnation would be the price China would have to pay for the brutal political acts of its leaders. It was a time when many Western commentators were celebrating the victories of Western capitalism and political liberalism over European Communism, some of the celebrants proclaiming that the triumph of the "free market" was the culmination of human progress and that it heralded "the end of history." This utopian celebration reinforced a long-standing belief that capitalism and liberal democracy went hand in hand. And from that assumption it followed that the Chinese Communist "hard-liners" who ordered the military suppression of the Democracy Movement would also terminate the market reforms that had stimulated the economic successes of the past decade. That Deng Xiaoping was at once the most prominent of the hard-liners in 1989 (indeed, he was called "the butcher of Beijing" at the time), and at the same time the most ardent promoter of Chinese capitalism was an apparent contradiction that was conveniently ignored.

Deng Xiaoping, for his part, saw no incongruity between capitalist economic methods and the Stalinist political system over which he presided. In his June 9th speech congratulating the soldiers who had crushed the Democracy Movement, or what he called "the counterrevolutionary rebellion," he vowed that the policies of market restructuring and the "open door" to the world capitalist market would not be abandoned; indeed, he suggested that they should be pursued at an even "faster pace?" This would not only strengthen the nation and the power of the Communist state but also raise the living standards of the people, thereby dulling memories of the "Beijing Spring," Deng reasoned. The interests of the nation, the Party, and popular welfare would be equally well served by speeding up capitalist development. Thus in a secret speech to top Communist officials delivered on June 28, 1989, Deng advised that the difficult question of fixing political responsibility for the traumatic events of the spring of 1989 be set aside for several years to enable Party leaders to fully devote, their efforts to promoting economic growth.

Nonetheless, the years following Tiananmen were a period of harsh political repression. Thousands of Party cadres in Beijing and elsewhere who had supported the Democracy Movement, or were suspected of having sympathized with its aims, were expelled from the Communist Party or demoted. Purges also struck intellectuals, who instantly lost the limited degree of free expression they had painstakingly gained during the 1980s. Newspapers and periodicals, some of which had acquired a small if precarious degree of autonomy, were again reduced to their customary status of official organs of Party and state. Witch-hunts seeking out religious and political heretics were intensified, and dissenters were often jailed, sometimes under brutal conditions that brought international protests.

Yet it was during this time of harsh political repression in the early 1990s that China made its most spectacular economic gains, which, it was soon revealed, gave the PRC the world's third largest economy (in terms of gross output) and raised the specter of a new superpower in the making.

In 1989, to be sure, China had suffered severe economic difficulties during the "bust" phase of a typically capitalist economic cycle, enduring a painful combination of inflation and recession. Inflation, rising to a rate of 30 percent per annum in the major cities, resulted from Premier Zhao Ziyang's expansionary market policies of 1987-88 — and recession resulted from the austerity measures Zhao had been forced to adopt in late 1988 to control inflation. Both had contributed to economic hardship in the cities, which in turn had generated popular support for the student movement of 1989. Production declined and unemployment increased during the dreary last six months of the year and into early 1990. However, with inflationary pressures subsiding, the government's austerity policies were eased in the summer of 1990 and growth resumed. In 1991, China's GDP increased by 7.5 percent. And following Deng Xiaoping's "southern tour" of January 1992, China achieved extraordinarily high rates of growth over a sustained and crucial period in the mid-1990s.

The "Southern Tour"

At the beginning of 1992 Deng Xiaoping no longer occupied a formal position in China's political hierarchy. In the autumn of 1989, just a few months after the PLA's suppression of the Democracy Movement, he had surrendered the last of his official titles, the chairmanship of the Party's Military Affairs Commission. Yet even without holding any Party or state office Deng remained politically dominant, meeting informally with retired Party elders of his own generation to decide the most important affairs of state, decisions which the elders implemented through their proteges in the Party and stale bureaucracies. Deng's new protege was Jiang Zemin, the former Party chief of the Shanghai region, who succeeded the purged Zhao Ziyang as Party General Secretary in June 1989 and who faithfully carried out Deng's policies.

But it was mainly by virtue of his own prestige and personality — and by the aura of mystery that had come to surround him and his movements — that Deng remained China's "paramount leader" in the early 1990s. Armed with a mini-personality cult that his supporters had constructed, especially after 1989, Deng began to hover over the Party apparatus in Mao-like fashion, bypassing formal Party procedures and personally intervening from above to turn policy in the direction he favored. Deng's most dramatic Mao-like intervention was his remarkable "southern tour," which transformed the pace and nature of China's economic development.

On January 18, 1992, the 87-year-old Deng Xiaoping embarked on a five-week journey through southern China, visiting the cities of Canton (Guangzhon), Wuchang, and Shanghai as well as the special economic zones of Shenzhen and Zhuhai. At each stop along his highly publicized tour, Deng exhorted local officials to accelerate economic development and to "deepen" market-oriented restructuring, praising the capitalism of the Shenzhen economic zone and the freewheeling market policies of Guangdong province as models for national emulation. "Low-speed development is equal to stagnation or even regression," Deng warned, one of the many sometimes cryptic comments made during the course of his journey, comments that were almost immediately translated into official policy and practice — in this case, the abandonment of the post: Tiananmen policy of limiting economic growth to 6 percent per annum to avoid inflation and social unrest.

Other pronouncements by the "paramount leader" encouraged a more rapid and thoroughgoing process of market reform. To those who feared that greater marketization would result in a fully capitalist China, Deng replied that the existence of the Communist state guaranteed that economic development by whatever means ultimately would have a socialist outcome. "Political power is in our hands," he reassured the critics.

But Deng sought not simply to assuage the skeptics but to remove their leaders from power and influence. To this end, during the course of his "southern tour," he proclaimed that the main danger confronting the Party was no longer the rightist heresy of "bourgeois liberalization," presumably the source of the "counterrevolutionary rebellion" of 1989, but rather once again "leftism," which was broadly defined as a lack of sufficient enthusiasm for capitalist restructuring and the more rapid pace of economic development that Deng favored. Thus was set the ideological stage for the final Party battle between the Deng faction and the "conservatives," who favored retaining a significant role for central economic planning and the state industrial sector. The main spokesman for the latter was Chen Yun, long Deng's most prominent and tenacious foe, whose ideological capitulation in the spring of 1992 marked the definitive victory of "Dengism" in the Chinese Communist Party.

In May 1992, the comments and speeches Deng made during, his "southern tour" were collected in "Central Document No. 4" in the form of concrete policy guidelines issued to Party and state officials throughout the land. There followed a swift movement toward a more fully capitalist economy amid frenetic economic growth. State enterprises were allowed a wide degree of autonomy to operate on both the domestic and international capitalist markets, including conducting foreign trade on their own. Moreover, inaugurating a complex and prolonged process of semiprivatization, a limited number of state enterprises were permitted to modify their ownership status by issuing stocks which could be purchased by individual investors as well as by institutions. Such stocks were sold on newly established exchanges in Shanghai and Shenzhen, both stops on Deng's tour, and later some of these became the much sought-after "red chips" on the Hong Kong stock exchange. In addition, more generous terms and additional "open" cities were offered to foreign banks and investors who wished to conduct business in China. And a massive effort was undertaken to make the city of Shanghai the largest trade and financial center in East Asia, one which, it was predicted, would eventually eclipse Hong Kong.

These measures, along with expansionist monetary policies, and the political sanction Deng's tour gave local officials and Party bureaucrats to increase investment and take financial risks (and to enrich themselves in the process), combined to set off an economic boom unprecedented in Chinese history and perhaps in world history. Starting from an already substantial economic base, China's GDP increased 12 percent in 1992, voiding the post-Tiananmen government decision to the effect that China's social and natural environment could accommodate no more than a 6 percent per annum rate of economic growth. In 1993 the GDP grew by an astonishing 14 percent, and by 12 percent again in 1994. Extraordinarily high rates of growth continued through the mid-1990s, despite government austerity policies that aimed (with considerable success) to control inflation. By the mid-1990s, the once seemingly utopian goal (set at the beginning of the: Deng era) of quadrupling the size of the Chinese economy over the twenty-year period 1980-2000 already had been exceeded. From 1991 to 1997, the average per annum increase of China's GDP was 11 percent, by far the most rapid rate of growth of any major economy in the world.

Deng Xiaoping's policies — and Deng himself — were celebrated when the Chinese Communist Party convened its Fourteenth Congress in Beijing in October 1992. The Congress ratified the virtually unlimited adoption of capitalist methods and ideas to accelerate economic growth, although the social result was officially called a "socialist market economic system." For inventing this oxymoron, Deng was extravagantly praised for making yet another "great theoretical breakthrough" in the development of "Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought," which incongruously remained the title of official state ideology. The Fourteenth Congress marked not only the definitive triumph of Deng's market-based economic policies and his ideology but also his definitive political triumph in the Chinese Communist Party, even though he no longer occupied any political office. The Dengist political victory was symbolized by the Congress' abolition of the Central Advisory Commission, chaired by Chen Yun. This body had been created in 1982 (and orginally headed by Deng) and served as a forum that allowed retired Party leaders to intervene in affairs of state — in addition to ensuring them the material luxuries and special privileges to which the higher leaders of the Chinese Communist Party had long been accustomed. A more substantial political victory was the wholesale revamping of the personnel of the central organs of the Party, which were now almost totally dominated by members of the Deng faction. Almost half the members of the Fourteenth Central Committee were newly selected, virtually all from among Deng's staunchest supporters. This not only ensured that the Party would remain firmly loyal to the paramount leader and his policies but also reduced the average age of members of the Central Committee to a relatively youthful 56 years, more than 80 percent of whom were college graduates in engineering and the natural sciences. The Fourteenth Congress thus progressed toward realizing Deng's goal of "political reform" — for by political reform he essentially meant not popular democracy but rather simply the technocratic rationalization of bureaucratic rule. As he had said at the beginning of the reform period, the aim was to make Communist leaders "better educated, professionally more competent, and younger."

But it was his economic program, not his political policies, that really mattered, at least in most Western minds. Throughout the 1980s Deng had been celebrated in the foreign press as a great modernizer who had put Maoism to rest. When he ordered the PLA to crush the Democracy Movement in 1989, however, he was widely condemned as a brutal Communist dictator. But with his ardent promotion of capitalism during his 1992 "southern tour" and after, Deng was rehabilitated in the Western media, and was now once again praised as an enlightened market reformer.

The resumption of rapid market-based economic growth in 1992 soon brought consequences familiar to those who had experienced the boom and bust cycles of the 1980s. The first result was inflation, which by the summer of 1993 was approaching a 25 percent per annum rate in several major cities — and in 1994, according to probably conservatively compiled official statistics, was 24 percent nationwide, but considerably higher in key urban areas. Inflation — combined with a new upsurge in official corruption and bureaucratic profiteering, speculation in real estate and stocks by local governments and private individuals, and the loss of central government economic controls over some of the more booming areas, especially Guangdong province — inflicted hardship on much of the working population.

To deal with this chaotic situation, Deng Xiaoping called upon another of his proteges, Vice Premier Zhu Rongji, who had been the mayor of Shanghai in June 1989 and had managed to keep order in China's largest city without unduly antagonizing either the local population or the authorities in Beijing. Zhu, who had been promoted to the Standing Committee of the Politburo at the Fourteenth Party Congress in October 1992, had been frequently praised by Deng for his economic expertise. He was now appointed governor of the People's Bank of China, with a mandate to bring the economy under control and to counter the regionalist tendencies that the economic reforms had fostered. Emulating central bankers in capitalist countries, Zhu imposed an austerity program that relied on fiscal and monetary restraints (i.e., limits on credit and reductions in government spending and investment) to bring down inflation without plunging the economy into a deep recession. His aim, in addition to reestablishing central government control over the financial affairs of the provinces, was to dampen inflation by lowering the rate of growth from more than 12 percent to what he believed was a socially and environmentally sustainable rate of 8 percent per annum.

Deng Xiaoping objected, however. In October 1993 he issued a brief but potent declaration: "Slow growth is not socialism." As a result, Zhu Rongji's austerity plan was modified, permitting the economy to again expand by 12 percent in 1994. But enough of Zhu's tight fiscal policies remained to dramatically reduce the rate of inflation from 24 percent in 1994 to a surprisingly low 6 percent in 1996 — while the GDP continued to grow at a rate of about 10 percent per annum. Zhu Rongji's policies had achieved the desideratum of central bankers in capitalist countries around the world — a "soft landing" which yielded the happy combination of low inflation and high rates of growth. Zhu was duly celebrated in international banking circles and by Western journalists — and in China he became the leading candidate to succeed Li Peng as Premier of the State Council when Li's term expired in March 1998.

Deng Xiaoping made his last public appearance in February 1994 during the Lunar New Year celebrations, when a five-minute segment on national television showed the paramount leader greeting Communist officials in Shanghai. It was on that occasion, according to the official account, that Deng made his final call for a more rapid pace of economic growth. During the televised segment, however, Deng was not heard to speak, and indeed his obvious fraility and dazed expression were taken as signs of his imminent departure. Deng lingered on for another three years, although he was too physically and mentally incapacitated by Parkinson's disease and other ailments to continue to play a significant role in Chinese political life. Deng Xiaoping died on February 19, 1997 at the age of 92. The country that he had launched on so frenzied a course of economic development barely paused to note the passing of the onetime paramount leader.

Deng was the last of China's old revolutionaries, the final important survivor of that remarkable group of Communist leaders who could claim membership in the May Fourth generation of revolutionary intellectuals. Those who followed were essentially products of the post-1949 People's Republic. Deng, by contrast, had come to political maturity during the early 1920s when as a young work-study student in France he had joined the French branch of the embryonic Chinese Communist Party. He had returned to China to participate in the great revolutionary upsurge of 1925-27. After the defeat of the urban revolution he fled to the countryside and soon became one of the leaders of a peasant army during the Maoist phase of the revolutionary civil war. After 1949 he was among the leading half-dozen members of the Maoist ruling group — at least until he was temporarily felled by the Cultural Revolution.

Although Deng Xiaoping could claim a long revolutionary lineage, he will best be remembered as the father of Chinese capitalism. Capitalism was not his aim, to be sure, and he preferred to believe that the economic system he fashioned was the initial stage of socialism, which would fully flower in the middle of the next century. Nonetheless, he found capitalist economic methods the most efficient way to bring about rapid modernization — and it was a nationalist vision of the wealth and power of China in the world that was always at the the heart of his world view, as was the case with many other Chinese Communist leaders.

In a somewhat macabre sense, Deng died in a way that facilitated the "stability and unity" he so prized in life. For his lingering death, over a period of three years, enabled his handpicked successor Jiang Zemin to consolidate his power and that of the post-Deng ruling group. During that time, Jiang removed potential sources of opposition within the Party and jailed or exiled such dissidents as remained in the land. In the process, Party General Secretary Jiang acquired several new titles — the honorific title of President of the People's Republic and the more than honorific Chairman of the Party's Central Military Commission — making him simultaneously the head of the civilian state bureaucracy, the PLA, and the Chinese Communist Party.

Jiang Zemin continued the essential elements of Deng's policies: rapid economic growth, capitalist restructuring, and the preservation of a Leninist party dictatorship. Even during the three years when semi-austerity measures were in effect (1994-96), the increase in GDP averaged nearly 10 percent per annum, Direct foreign investment boomed, with major multinational groups (in which U.S. and Japanese firms had major stakes) beginning to eclipse overseas Chinese investments funneled through Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Jiang Zemin's boldest economic proposal, an entirely logical step in the progression of Deng Xiaoping's market reform plan, was to call for the partial privatization of the state industrial sector. State-owned factories and related enterprises, which still accounted for over 40 percent of industrial production in 1997 and employed 120 million workers, were of course essential for the functioning of the Chinese economy, especially in the spheres of heavy industry (such as steel, petrochemicals, mining, and machine building) and in the application of advanced technologies. However, according to the reformist criterion of enterprise profitability, which had now become a sacrosanct principle, more than two-thirds of state enterprises were losing money. According to the market precepts that the Communist leaders now embraced, this was ideologically heretical as well as a drain on the state budget. Efforts to "reform" (which is to say, to apply capitalist methods to) the state industrial sector had been under way for over a decade, beginning in the mid-1980s with ideological assaults against "the iron rice bowl," the system of lifetime job tenure and social welfare benefits. But the reformers had been able to do little more than nibble at the edges of the huge state sector, detaching only a few smaller and obviously failing enterprises from direct central government control. Party leaders were reluctant to confront the problems of the state sector, in part because they feared that relinquishing government ownership would be interpreted as an abandonment of socialism. But even more, Communist leaders feared unrest among the urban working class, who would have been the main victims of "reform." For the "unprofitability" of state industries was due less to poor management than it was to the relatively generous treatment of state workers, who enjoyed considerably higher wages and much greater security than workers in the private and "collective" sectors. It is, after all, mainly cheap and expendable "free labor" that makes non-state factories so profitable.

But despite the political risks, the inexorable and insistent demands of a growing market economy made Jiang Zemin an advocate of privatization, although the term was not officially used. In the spring of 1997, beginning with a blast against the "ossified" thinking of "leftists," General Secretary Jiang set forth his plan for the reform of state enterprises in a speech to senior Party leaders. While the state was to retain ownership of a number of key defense-related and high-technology industries as well as the grain trade, most enterprises were to be privatized or at least partially denationalized. Under the slogan "Zhua da, fang xiao" ("grasp the big, let go of the small"), all but the largest and most essential enterprises were to be turned over to various forms of non-state ownership at a more rapid pace than hitherto had been the case. And even most large enterprises were to have diverse forms of ownership, including substantial shareholdings by both foreign and domestic investors, with both individuals and institutions (such as pension funds and local governments) participating. Moreover, the term "state ownership" was liberally redefined so that enterprises where the government's share was only thirty percent could be classified as "public."

Over the summer, Jiang's speech was widely circulated for discussion among Party cadres and then published in the Guangming Daily in late July. Jiang's privatization proposal was formally adopted by the Fifteenth Congress of the CCP, which convened in Beijing on September 12, 1997.

The Fifteenth Congress

The main business of the first Communist Party Congress of the post-Deng era was to legitimize the leadership of Deng's handpicked successor, Jiang Zemin. This was duly accomplished without debate and by unanimous vote by the 2,000 delegates to the Fifteenth Congress. In the process, the only conceivable rival of Jiang, Qiao Shi, the Chairman of the National People's Congress, was dropped not only from the Party Politburo but from its 193-member Central Committee as well. According to some rather strained interpretations, Qiao Shi, a onetime secret police head, was an advocate of democracy and the rule: of law, and thus his fall from power set back the prospects of democratization. Also removed from the top leadership was General Liu Huaqing, leaving the ruling seven-member Standing Committee of the Party Politburo without a PLA representative. The three most powerful politicians in China after the Fifteenth Congress, listed in the customary hierarchical order, were General Secretary Jiang Zemin, Premier Li Peng (who soon was to succeed Qiao Shi as Chairman of the National People's Congress), and the financial specialist Zhu Rongji (who was to succeed Li Peng as Premier). Jiang Zemin emerged from the Congress with his power and prestige greatly augmented, having demonstrated that there was some substance to the high titles he had accumulated, titles which made him, simultaneously, the head of the Party, the head of state, and leader of the military. But while Jiang had collected more official titles than his predecessors, he possessed less personal power, ruling more as the head of a committee than in the individual dictatorial fashion favored by his mentor Deng Xiaoping, and before him, Mao Zedong. Nonetheless, there was little doubt after the Fifteenth Congress that Jiang was politically dominant, and he capped his internal political victory with an eight-day visit to the United States and a summit meeting with President Clinton — in a quite conscious and sometimes embarrassingly obvious imitation of Deng Xiaoping's triumphant American tour of January 1979. Clinton reciprocated with a state visit to China in the summer of 1998. Traveling in truly imperial fashion, with a retinue of more than 1,000 people, Clinton's trip proved surprisingly productive for Sino-American relations — although the event was marred by accusations of "high treason" directed against the American president by some of his domestic critics.

The main policy business of the Fifteenth Congress was to approve the plan for the privatization of state enterprises, which Jiang Zemin had set forth in his May 1997 speech and which then had been circulated for discussion at Party branches over the summer. The approval of the Congress came without serious debate or discussion and, as was customary, by unanimous vote. But it was not accomplished without embarrassing a good many Communist leaders who had been schooled in the Stalinist orthodoxy that state ownership of productive property is the essence of socialism — and who were reluctant to surrender the Party's claim to be the bearer of socialism. Thus, the whole issue of privatization was clothed in layers of ideological disguise, with much emphasis on continuing "public ownership" under a vaguely defined "joint stock program" and repeated invocations of the hazy doctrine of "socialism with Chinese characteristics."

It was clear, however, that whatever new forms of ownership eventually emerged, the privatization of state property would proceed in a relatively gradual manner, perhaps over a period of a decade or longer. There was much concern in the Party about the social and political unrest that might result from the mass unemployment that surely would be a consequence of the shrinkage of the state sector — for it was acknowledged that at least one-third of the more than 100 million state workers were redundant. Moreover, the disastrous Russian experience with privatization of state enterprises remained very much on the minds of China's Communist leaders. As it turned out, the timing of the privatization program was less than propitious, for the convening of the Fifteenth Congress coincided with the deepening of a financial and economic crisis that was spreading through Southeast Asia and would soon reach Hong Kong. While the economic effects on China of the Southeast Asian crisis were yet to be felt, its psychological impact was immediate and profound, casting doubt on the wisdom of further plunging China into a chaotic world capitalist market and of relying on foreign capital invested in open stock markets to assume the burden of financing newly privatized state industries.

The Fifteenth Congress was not without its incongruities. Jiang Zemin's main report, highlighted by his proposal to sell most state-owned enterprises to private investors — certainly a major step in the construction of a fully capitalist economy by any standard of judgment — was delivered on a stage whose backdrop was a gigantic red flag embossed in yellow with a huge hammer and sickle. If any of the 2,000 delegates noticed the incongruity, none were willing to comment on it. Nor was there any comment on the Beijing massacre of 1989, which cried out for official reexamination but which remained beyond the pale of permissible political discussion.

The vast expansion of private ownership of productive property portended by Jiang Zemin's plans for the sate of state enterprises struck yet another blow at the socialist claims of the Beijing regime. Those claims, long fragile and perhaps spurious to begin with, had rested largely on the predominance of public ownership of the means of production. The proposed privatization of state property undermined what little remained of Chinese socialism, as socialism was conventionally understood.

To fill the deepening ideological void created by the decline of socialism, the Communist regime since the early 1980s had been devoting enormous efforts to promoting nationalism and patriotism. Those efforts were intensified by Jiang Zemin in the 1990s, when an increasingly chauvinistic nationalism became virtually the sole ideology of the Chinese Communist state.

Nationalism, of course, had always been a powerful force in the Chinese Communist movement. From the founding of the CCP in the May Fourth period throughout the revolutionary era, nationalist motivations were almost always involved in conversions to Communism. In the great urban revolutionary upsurge of the mid-1920s and the Maoist rural-based revolution that followed in the 1930s and 1940s, nationalism and social revolution had been closely intertwined. Indeed, in many respects the Maoist revolution, coinciding with the Japanese invasion of China, necessarily took the form of a war of national independence as well as a social revolution. During the Mao period, both before and after 1949, nationalist and social revolutionary goals were combined in ways that were usually reinforcing, although the inherently unstable combination became more difficult to maintain after the assumption of state power in 1949.

It was not until the reign of Deng Xiaoping (1978-97), however, that nationalism definitively triumphed over revolutionary aspirations and values. After 1978, socialist goals rapidly receded, and soon were entirely overwhelmed by a single-minded nationalist pursuit of "wealth and power." Indeed, socialism had been rendered quite meaningless at the beginning of the Deng era, for the paramount leader had early erased the distinction between socialism and nationalism. "The purpose of socialism is to make the country rich and strong," he declared in 1980.

It was entirely logical that the cultural

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Third Edition
1. Western Imperialism and the Weakness of Chinese Social Classes
2. The Defection of the Intellectuals
3. The Abortiveness of Bourgeois and Proletarian Revolution
4. The Maoist Revolution and the Yan'an Legacy
5. The New State
6. The Cities: The Rise and Fall of National Capitalism
7. Land Reform: The Bourgeois Revolution in the Countryside
8. The Social and Political Consequences of Industrialization
9. Agricultural Collectivization, 1953-1957
10. The Hundred Flowers: Socialism, Bureaucracy, and Freedom
11. Permanent Revolution: The Ideological Origins of the Great Leap
12. Economics of the Great Leap Forward
13. The People's Communes and the "Transition to Communism": 1958-1960
14. The Bureaucratic Restoration
15. The New Economic Policy, 1961-1965
16. The Socialist Education Movement, 1962-1965
17. The Concept of Cultural Revolution
18. The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, 1966-1969
19. Social Results of the Cultural Revolution
20. The Aftermath of the Cultural Revolution and the Close of the Maoist Era, 1969-1976
21. The Legacies of the Maoist Era
22. The Rise of Deng Xiaoping and the Critique of Maoism
23. Market Reforms and the Development of Capitalism
24. The Struggle for Democracy
25. The End of the Reign of Deng Xiaoping: China in the 1990s
Selected Bibliography

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2001

    Great and easy to understand book!

    It was certainly the best book I ever read about China, and probably the best book I ever read overall. It was divided into good chapters and was a pleasure to read. I highly recomend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2009

    Difficult to read

    In order to read this book, you must be two things...educated and cognizant. This is not light reading. Written by a History Professor, it can be difficult to read due to the level of vocabulary used in the book. I was looking for a light book to read about Communist China and Chairman Mao. Perhaps that statement is a paradox, but I think I need to drink more coffee before I read more of this book. My mind tended to wander while reading this book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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