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China's Goal of Combining Economic Self-Reliance With Its Development: Changing Perspectives and Challenges

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  • Tisdell, Clement A.

Abstract

The attainment of self-reliance (zi li geng sheng) is an important goal for China. However, approaches to achieving it have altered greatly since the People’s Republic was established in 1949. Following the split between China and the Soviet Union in 1960, Mao Zedong claimed that China could achieve this goal by promoting economic self-sufficiency at the national level as well as at subnational levels. This approach resulted in a considerable economic burden for China. While national economic self-sufficiency probably was forced on China by the hostility of foreign nations towards it, subnational self-sufficiency was not. Following the death of Mao Zedong in 1976 and the eventual rise to power of Deng Xiaoping, China’s market reforms began in 1978. With the introduction of the household responsibility system in agriculture, China gave up relying on communes and collectives for its agricultural production. The market reforms began in rural areas but were only slowly extended to urban areas because of some opposition to some politbureau numbers to the market reforms. The process of the market reforms since 1978 is outlined with some attention being given to the political hurdles involved in achieving these reforms. As a result of these reforms, the goal of subnational economic self-sufficiency has well and truly been abandoned and national self-sufficiency is no longer practised. These changes have brought new economic risks for China and the Chinese people. The benefit, however, has been greater economic growth and the enhanced global status of China. While economic self-sufficiency is no longer an over-riding goal for China, one part of zi li geng sheng is still very important for it nationally, namely, to control one’s destiny, that is, to be in charge of one’s own affairs, goals and decision-making.

Suggested Citation

  • Tisdell, Clement A., 2013. "China's Goal of Combining Economic Self-Reliance With Its Development: Changing Perspectives and Challenges," Social Economics, Policy and Development Working Papers 142567, University of Queensland, School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uqsese:142567
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.142567
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    File URL: http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/142567/files/WP%2054.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Clem Tisdell, 2013. "Agriculture, structural change and socially responsible development in China and Vietnam," Chapters, in: Moazzem Hossain & Tapan Sarker & Malcolm McIntosh (ed.),The Asian Century, Sustainable Growth and Climate Change, chapter 1, pages 11-25, Edward Elgar Publishing.
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    Keywords

    International Development; Political Economy;

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