China's economic reform : from rural focus to international market

T.M. Siregar

    Research output: Thesisexternal PhD, WU


    China is a large country, and in fact one of the oldest civilisations in the world. Its population is 25 percent of the world population, but it has only 7 percent of the world's arable land. China's 5000 years of history show a country moving from slavery to feudalism, with a strongly oppressive authority. An old saying found in western literature 'to go to China to seek science' reflects the strength of this country; science still bloomed while there were wars raging, as the peasantry rebelled against the feudal system almost continuously. Yet, these political changes did not change anything fundamentally because the peasants were of the same class as the authorities. Only since the democratic revolution under the Mao-led Communist Party, was a ruling working class established. How this has worked out has been demonstrated in China during the past fifty years.

    There have been many difficult conditions in China to be overcome. For instance, large areas are still without appropriate transportation facilities or infrastructure while the uneven distribution of the population makes it difficult for the people to organise themselves. China has an area of 9.6 million square kilometres. But what makes the situation complex is that 90 percent of the population, the Han Nationals, live in the east, whereas the other 10 percent consisting of 56 minority groups occupy an area in the west of roughly the same size. Geographical conditions and the different climate zones have made economic development not easy. The "new democratic system" has taken all these difficulties into account in its attempts to build a socialist system in a country with such specific characteristics. The combination of centralism with a democratic system has not only yielded a growing economy, but moreover a stable economic development. Political stability has guaranteed economic development, and vice versa. This way of working and thinking has made the complex situation relatively simple to deal with. The 'Reform and opening-up' and the modernisation of all social branches has guided the people's thinking in reaching the strategic goals. Criticism and self-criticism have corrected mistakes. The people have developed their own social system, with the slogan 'let a hundred flowers blossom together and let a hundred ideas contend together'.

    Within fifty years many difficulties have been solved. Shortages of food and clothing have been resolved and the housing shortage too will soon be a thing of the past. The people need industrial production to modernise their household equipment. Isolated areas have been opened up. The education of the people has greatly improved; science has flourished, and the improved technology has speeded up the process of modernisation. Foreign trade has such quantity and quality now that China is capable of competition on the international market. Advanced technology is imported and foreign capital is used to increase national economic growth. Trade with foreign countries has increased the foreign exchange reserve and there are no problems in paying back the debts. Village Township Enterprises are an important pillar to rural economic development, and the Gross Domestic Product is increasing steadily.

    The success of the reform and opening-up since 1978 has encouraged the authorities so that the ninth Five-Year Plan can now be carried out with better prospects. China has entered the 21st century with bilateral and multilateral co-operation and competition. Opportunity and challenge have come together. Together, these factors help to make China more fervent to achieve successful economic development with her population of 25 percent of the world's population.

    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • Struik, Paul, Promotor
    Award date9 Jun 2000
    Place of PublicationS.l.
    Print ISBNs9789058082091
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


    • economics
    • economic development
    • markets
    • international trade
    • china
    • transformation
    • agricultural sector
    • industry
    • development


    Dive into the research topics of 'China's economic reform : from rural focus to international market'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this