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Chinese

A culture where economic reforms are slowly bearing financial fruit, the Chinese are swiftly becoming an industrial juggernaut.

On the brink of annihilation by Chiang Kai-shek’s troops during the Long March across China, the communist army was finally able to reverse the situation when Japanese troops were withdrawn from the country after 1945. The leaders of the People’s Republic of China, proclaimed in Tiananmen Square on 1 October 1949, established permanent institutions that would allow the country to affirm itself as the world’s second largest economy by the end of the 2010s.

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In the wake of the communist victory, China was a profoundly rural nation, ruined after 23 years of war and devoid of advanced industry. The communist leader, Mao Zedong, devised the “Great Leap Forward” (1958–1961), a plan to harness peasant labor in order to produce the steel required to develop heavy industry. Faced with the failure of this policy and the devastating famine that ensued, the Chinese government, led by Deng Xiaoping from 1978 onward, focused on becoming a socialist market economy involved in international trade and finance. A member of the United Nations Security Council since 1971, the People’s Republic gradually began to emerge from its international isolation. The economic reforms carried out during this period resulted in strong growth, which was enabled by widespread foreign investment and the emergence of large state enterprises. As the “world’s factory” from the 1980s onward, China is now one of the world’s great industrial nations. This policy of producing and exporting goods of increasingly added-value was accompanied by a strengthened diplomatic and military presence along all of the world’s great trade routes. China has since been working on an uninterrupted rail network crossing all of Central Asia in order to supply goods to Europe.

Did you know?

The book Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung, nicknamed the “Little Red Book” in the West and the “Treasured Red Book” in China, has been printed in over a billion copies since 1964 and distributed in over 150 countries in 64 languages.