The inception of economic reform in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is usually identified as the Third Plenum of the Eleventh Central Committee which took place in December 1978. It was here that Deng Xiaoping gathered the political support he needed to lay the foundations (albeit very loosely at that stage) for what is commonly referred to as the post-Mao period of economic reform, which has in recent years seen China emerge as one of the world’s most powerful economies. Yet Mao had been dead for over two years before the post-Mao economic reform era began; so what happened in the intermediate period? Who was in charge of China? During this time, it was not Deng who ran the country. Mao assiduously avoided transferring the mantle of leadership to his erstwhile ally and latterly his nemesis. Instead, he handed power to the then little known and now largely forgotten Hua Guofeng.
KeywordsChinese Communist Party Cultural Revolution Land Reform Great Leap Official Source
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