The Significance of Deng Xiaoping’s Reforms on Chinese Society

Deng Xiaoping was the chief architect of China’s pragmatic reforms since the 80s. It was under Deng’s sophisticated sponsorship that China underwent the most dramatic changes of its history in the final two decades of the last century. China moved ahead with its modernization programs, scoring impressive results and thus emerging as one of the principal players in international politics. According to journalist Jim Rohwer, “the Dengist reforms of 1979-1994 brought about probably the biggest single improvement in human welfare anywhere at any time.”This improvement was because the reforms effected hundreds of millions of Chinese people. The Chinese were drawn out of their pursuit of ideological purity and introduced to an alternative lifestyle above the line of general poverty, a new form of socialism that rewarded private entrepreneurship.
Deng’s great contributions are summarized in the twin policies of “enlivening the economy” and “opening to the outside world” that the regime cemented firmly in place at the end of 1978. “Enlivening” meant permitting and encouraging the development of market forces within a Chinese economy hitherto overwhelmingly bureaucratized and subject to central political control even at the micro level. “Opening” meant the full-bore pursuit of the benefits of global involvement for the purpose of China’s national development.
Deng’s policies opened up the economy to foreign investment and market allocation within a socialist framework. The reform was designed to improve the socialist system, bring its superiority into full play and push forward the drive for modernization. And to accelerate and deepen the reform is the main task on which all political, economic and social activities must be focused.
In the 1980s, the collective commune system in the countryside was first of all removed in favor of a “responsibility system” of household farming, and the long-term exploitation of peasants for the sake …


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