Chinese Reform and Development in the 1980s

  • Jianyong Yue
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Economic History book series (PEHS)


China’s embrace of globalization can be traced back to the 1980s. For the post-Mao leadership, reform was a necessity whose aim was upholding the Communist regime through “self-perfection of socialism.” This gave rise to Deng Xiaoping’s approach of “perestroika without glasnost.” The political balance of power between Deng Xiaoping and Chen Yun confined the market-oriented reform within the “birdcage” of state socialism. The reform achieved only limited success and came to a stalemate by the late 1980s, which drove Zhao Ziyang, the de facto chief architect of China’s reform, to neoliberal solutions. He managed to undermine central planning through fiscal decentralization and parochial external integration, both of which served to erode national economic reintegration, thereby inclining the Chinese economy toward greater “external orientation.”


Self-perfection of socialism Perestroika without glasnost Market-oriented reform State socialism Neoliberal solutions Central planning National economic reintegration External orientation 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jianyong Yue
    • 1
  1. 1.London School of Economics and Political ScienceLondonUK

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