Chapter 4 Wrongs Are Righted, the Reforms Take Shape

To free China from poverty and backwardness, we have for 30 years encouraged people to work hard and lead a simple life…. But hard work and a simple life are meant to achieve speedy progress in production and create the material conditions for a rich and happy life. Perpetual poverty is not what we stand for.1

—Xue Muqiao, an architect of China’s post-Mao economic reforms, writing in 1981. He had been imprisoned during the Cultural Revolution for calling for modifications to the planned economy.

This is where in our narrative The China paradox takes the stage. During the last four decades of reforms, what might on the surface appear to be the incompatible interests of business and a ruling ...

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