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China – Deng Xiaoping and the Opening of China, 1979-97

2. Economic Development, 1979-97

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about China’s economic development during the Deng years, focusing in particular on: (i) the difference of opinion between the radicals, who wanted to continue with Maoist economic policies, and the moderates, who pushed for economic reform; (ii) Zhou’s call for economic modernisation in the 1960s, the lack of interest in economic reform while Mao was alive, Deng’s adoption of the Four Modernizations in 1977; (iii) the extent to which Deng squared his economic reforms with political ideology, his cat analogy, the idea of socialism with Chinese characteristics; (iv) the state of the Chinese economy in 1976, the reasons for its decline since the end of the First Five-Year Plan; (v) Deng’s interest in foreign investment, the importance of his visits to Japan in 1978 and the United States in 1979; (vi) Deng’s implantation of a one-child policy, and its impact on both society and the economy; (vii) the impact of increased foreign investment on Chinese society and the economy, especially China’s foreign exchange position.


In this course, Professor Frank Ching (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology) explores the development of Chinese society, politics and economics during the rule of Deng Xiaoping, sometimes referred to as the ‘Opening of China’. In the first module, we think about the state of China following Mao’s death in 1976, Deng’s attempts to consolidate power, and the some of his early economics reforms. In the second module, we think about the development of the Chinese economy under Deng Xiaoping, before turning in the third and fourth modules to track the evolution of US-China relations in between 1968-96. In the fifth module, we think about political developments in China between 1979-97, before turning in the sixth module to consider China’s position in the world at the time of Deng’s death in 1997.


Frank Ching is a writer and university lecturer who has written and commented on events in Asia, particularly China, for many years. He worked for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Far Eastern Economic Review. He opened The Wall Street Journal’s bureau in China in 1979, after the normalization of U.S.-China relations, thus becoming one of the first four American newspaper reporters to be based in Beijing since 1949.

His articles have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, World Policy Journal, China Quarterly, Current History, the Washington Quarterly, and other publications.

He has given speeches across the United States, including delivering the Inaugural Lecture of the Ravenholt-Severyns Lecture at the University of Washington. He was the inaugural lunch speaker at the annual Chiefs of Defense Mission sponsored by the Commander in Chief, Pacific, in Honolulu.

He received a bachelor’s degree in English from Fordham University, a master’s degree in philosophy from New York University and a Certificate in Advanced International Reporting from Columbia University as a Ford Foundation Fellow.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Ching, F. (2020, November 26). China – Deng Xiaoping and the Opening of China, 1979-97 - Economic Development, 1979-97 [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Ching, F. "China – Deng Xiaoping and the Opening of China, 1979-97 – Economic Development, 1979-97." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 26 Nov 2020,