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 .