The Social Impact of the economic reforms in China.
In 1978, under the guidance of Deng Xiaoping China embarked on an economic revolution. The excesses of the Cultural Revolution, the loss of a generation of intellectuals and the neglect of the economy in a bid to return to "pure socialism- through "ideological remolding- and "thought reform- left China's economy in ruins. Deng's main priority was to therefore reverse the effects of the Cultural Revolution , with emphasis on the economic sector even abandoning the centralized system in an attempt for immediate revival of the economy based on his "New Economic Policy- of the sixties. Between 1978 and 1984, Deng focused on the development of the rural economy, introducing the "Household Responsibility System- . From 1984 onwards, the emphasis was laid on industrial and commercial development opening China to foreign trade and developing Special Economic Zones, which were modeled on the capitalist economic structure of Hong Kong. This fundamental emancipation from control both economically and to a certain extent socially had far reaching consequences on Chinese society. After decades of subordination under a strict regime, the exposure to a lifestyle infused with freedom and incentive sparked a desire for more. From the disparity between the restrictions of their political life and the recent economic and social freedoms stemmed the desire for political freedoms, leading ultimately to a desire for a release from not just economic control but political control as well. .
It can be argued that the SEZs played a central part in driving the desire for political and social freedom when foreign companies investing in these new economic centers brought these cities into direct contact with the western world. For decades, the Chinese were taught that they lived in a society superior to the west and children were trained to pity western people.