When the Chinese Communist Party came to power in 1949, China was a desperately poor country devastated by decades of civil war and foreign invasion. In the short term, the need was to bring peace, stability and order to the country; over the longer term, like their imperial and Nationalist predecessors, Communist leaders sought to design and implement a strategy of economic development which could transform China into a prosperous and powerful country able to hold up its head proudly in the world of nations. They sought these goals through a strategy of socialist development which would, it was hoped, achieve rapid socio-economic modernisation while avoiding the human costs of early capitalist development, and dependence on the advanced capitalist nations.
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