China Economic and Financial Policy After 1978 Part II

Also in 1979 was announced the payment of indemnities to the “national bourgeoisie”, whose assets had been confiscated during the cultural revolution, and the political rehabilitation of those “landowners, agrarians, counter-revolutionaries and bad elements” who, for many years, they had respected the laws. During the year, mass demonstrations of peasants took place in Beijing to demand better conditions. Students organized human rights demonstrations; Deng Xiaoping criticized them, accusing them of having contacts with foreign elements and of opposing the four principles (socialist system, dictatorship of the proletariat, leader of the Chinese Communist Party and Mao Zedong’s Marxism-Leninism-thought). Restrictive measures against dazibao began. In June 1979 a draft of the new code of criminal procedure was presented to the National People’s Congress, to avoid the abuses previously committed; the number of death sentences was significantly reduced and it was established that the death penalty could only be applied after the approval of the Supreme Court.

In September 1980, Prime Minister Hua Guofeng resigned and was replaced by Zhao Ziyang, also very close to Deng Xiaoping. The press escalated attacks on the late Chairman Mao and the cult of his personality, even going so far as to ignore the fourth anniversary of his passing. But the attacks on Mao were, at the same time, directed against Hua Guofeng, president of the Communist Party.

According to, the trial of the members of the so-called “ gang of four ” ended with four sentences, two of which were capital punishment, subsequently commuted to life imprisonment.

In March 1981 the Chinese press attacked some representatives of the artistic world, accused of denying the leadership of the party in the artistic and cultural fields and of wanting to separate literature and art from politics. Penalties were imposed on some writers responsible for publishing unauthorized periodicals the previous year.

In the economic field, some reductions in state interventions were proposed in order to rebalance the budget. In 1981, Song Qingling, widow of Sun Yatsen, the founder of the first republic, died; 90-year-old Ms. Song was appointed honorary president of the People’s Republic of China two weeks before her death. Hu Yaobang succeeded Hua Guofeng in June 1981 also in the office of Communist Party president. The sixth plenary session of the 11th Central Committee of the party reviewed the entire long history of the party, adopting a resolution that discussed some issues since the founding of the republic in 1949; in it was given a positive appreciation of the policy included in the period between 1949 and 1956, and it was admitted that in the following decade (1956-66), together with some great results obtained, serious errors had occurred especially in the leadership of the party; thus, for example, during the “rectification campaign” of 1957, many intellectuals and party members were unjustly condemned as “right-wing elements”; the economic policy of 1958 had not taken into account objective economic laws; the decade of the cultural revolution (1966-76), divided into three sections, was condemned; no criticism was spared to Hua Guofeng himself. Mao was judged to be a great Marxist, a revolutionary, a strategist and a theorist, who, however, had made serious mistakes during the cultural revolution; on the whole, however, his merits had outweighed his mistakes.

In July 1981, a new campaign began, which took the name of the campaign against “bourgeois liberalism”. Deng Xiaoping, addressing the party’s propaganda leaders, criticized the ” weak and relaxed leadership ” pointing to bourgeois liberalism as an attempt to oppose the leadership of the Communist Party of China. Some writers were attacked for their misaligned works. Another campaign followed, directed against corruption in public life and certain methods of the bureaucracy; this campaign was directed against those party cadres who opposed the reforms, and aimed at a reorganization of the administrative apparatus. China, which had replaced Taiwan as a member of the International Monetary Fund and the World Banking Group since 1980, obtained large financial loans in 1981 for its economic stabilization program.

While on the one hand an attempt was made to reorganize agriculture into smaller units, allowing farmers to use part of their products either for personal use or to sell them, on the other large areas of the country, especially in northern and eastern China, were plagued by drought or floods throughout the year. In the meantime, China the need to prepare a new constitution was felt. A draft was published in April 1982; in the preamble and in the 140 articles that made it up, among the most important changes was that of reintroducing the office of head of state, which had become vacant in 1968, when Liu Shaoqi had been removed from all functions, and which had been abolished with the constitution of 1975; the new constitution provided that the office lasted five years. Other changes included the creation of a central military council and the replacement of popular communes by municipalities. Liu Shaoqi’s posthumous rehabilitation was completed in January 1982 with the publication of the first volume of his Selected works. The various offices of the Communist Party were reorganized; this bureaucratic reform followed the campaign against corruption; in this way the ” reformist ” current managed to purge the radicals on the left. During the same year, the importance of being vigilant against “corruption from abroad” was emphasized and trials continued against people accused of being part of the “gang of four” or the “Lin Biao clique”.

In September 1982 the 12th Congress of the Communist Party was held in Beijing, which approved the draft of the new constitution of the party to replace the one of 1977; the office of party president was abolished, while that of general secretary was strengthened. In November 1982, the fifth session of the National People’s Congress approved the sixth five-year plan and a new electoral law. The new five-year plan underlined the importance of a strict control on investments, on increasing the efficiency of operations, on technological development and, finally, on the need to restructure the economic system in order to improve economic results and be able to achieve modernization. socialist.

In June 1982, Li Xiannian, a military commander who had participated in the Long March in the years 1934-35, was elected president of the Republic, and General Ulanfu, a Mongolian who had joined the party since 1925 and had been governor of Inner Mongolia, was vice president.. Two years after their issue, the sentences that sentenced Mao’s widow, Jian Qing, and the former vice president Zhang Chunqiao to the death penalty, were commuted to life imprisonment (January 1983).

China Economic and Financial Policy After 1978 2