By Karl Reiner
China has come a long way since Mao Zedong and the Communists came to power in 1949. China's recent successful development has not come easy, its architects had learned from watching the consequences of failing policies. After the chaos of the Great Leap Forward, Mao launched the Cultural Revolution to control the reformist tendencies he disliked. The situation spiraled out of control because the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution led to a 12% decline in industrial production, increasing illiteracy as schools were closed down and at least three million deaths.
Zhou Enlai started the process of reversing Mao's costly and failed policies. Deng Xiaoping, who had been purged twice, came to power in 1978. Deng allowed Mao-era rhetoric to continue while he ushered in more changes, the decentralization of decision making, economic reform and a focus on exports. The Chinese Communist Party's decision in 1992 to create what it called a socialist market economy, increased privatization. Deng's policies helped move China to a market economy that lifted 400 million people out of poverty.