The World: Turbulent Saga of Uneven Progress

Fitful starts and stops have marked China's quarter-century under Communism. Pragmatism has repeatedly clashed with ideology to produce a record of uneven economic and political development.

The highlights:

THE CONSOLIDATION of Communist control and rebuilding the wartorn country were Mao's top priorities after the 1949 defeat of the Nationalists. A totalitarian society emerged as the Communists gained control of almost every aspect of political, economic, cultural and even family life. The private economic sector was eliminated: banks, industry and trade were nationalized; forced collectivization of the farms cost the lives of at least 1 million landlords and other "enemies of the people." A...

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