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Chinese Economic Shifts After Mao

            Two years after the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, it became apparent .
             to many of China's leaders that economic reform was necessary. During his .
             tenure as China's premier, Mao had encouraged social movements such as the .
             Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution which had had as their bases .
             ideologies such as serving the people and maintaining the class struggle. .
             By 1978 "Chinese leaders were searching for a solution to serious economic .
             problems produced by Hua Guofeng, the man who had succeeded Mao Zedong as .
             CCP leader after Mao's death" (Shirk 35). Hua had demonstrated a desire to .
             continue the ideologically based movements of Mao. Unfortunately, these .
             movements had left China in a state where "agriculture was stagnant, .
             industrial production was low, and the people's living standards had not .
             increased in twenty years" (Nathan 200). This last area was particularly .
             troubling. While "the gross output value of industry and agriculture .
             increased by 810 percent and national income grew by 420 percent [between .
             1952 and 1980] . average individual income increased by only 100 percent" .
             (Ma Hong quoted in Shirk 28). However, attempts at economic reform in .
             China were introduced not only due to some kind of generosity on the part .
             of the Chinese Communist Party to increase the populace's living standards. .
             It had become clear to members of the CCP that economic reform would .
             fulfill a political purpose as well since the party felt, properly it would .
             seem, that it had suffered a loss of support. As Susan L. Shirk describes .
             the situation in The Political Logic of Economic Reform in China, .
             restoring the CCP's prestige required improving .
             economic performance and raising living standards. .
             The traumatic experience of the Cultural Revolution .
             had eroded popular trust in the moral and political .
             virtue of the CCP. The party's leaders decided to .
             shift the base of party legitimacy from virtue to .
             competence, and to do that they had to demonstrate .

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