China the Puzzle of the New

Open-door economics and a search for spiritual renewal

"You could say we have wasted 20 years." Even in the relatively candid mood prevalent in Chinese ruling circles, that assessment from Communist Party General Secretary Hu Yaobang was blunt. In an article published last month in the current-affairs magazine Outlook, Hu blamed "radical leftist nonsense" for Communism's failure to meet the economic goals set after the 1949 revolution. Specifically, he warned that China can "never again afford" notions promoted by Mao Tse-tung during the 1958-59 Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and '70s. Hu's observations about the turbulent past highlighted China's current embrace of a new...

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