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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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Reform and Opening in China, 1978-

China's policy of reform and opening not only led to a dramatic transformation of its economy, but also reshaped the dynamic of international relations through the end of the Cold War and after. For other collections on China’s modern political history, see: Chinese Civil War, 1945-1950; Purges in 1950s China; China’s Great Leap Forward, 1958-1961; China’s Cultural Revolution, 1966-1976; and China, 1989. (Image: Billboard of Deng Xiaoping from Shenzhen, a special economic zone established in 1979.)

  • July 14, 1976

    Consultation with Comrade O. B. Rakhmanin, Candidate of the CPSU CC and First Deputy Head of the International Department of CC, to Prepare the Ninth Interkit Meeting on 9 July 1976 in Moscow

    This consultation on preparations for the 9th Internal China (Interkit) Meeting in Berlin. Notes the growing anti-Sovietism in China, as well as a possible rebirth of capitalism there.

  • October 10, 1976

    Letter from Deng Xiaoping to Hua Guofeng and the CCP Central Committee

    Deng Xiaoping offers his support for Hua Guofeng's appointment as Chairman of the CCP and the Central Military Commission, calling Hua the "most suitable successor to Chairman Mao."

  • March 14, 1977

    Hua Guofeng's Speech at the Central Work Conference

    Hua Guofeng criticizes the Gang of Four, evaluates Deng Xiaoping, comments on demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, and calls for the CCP to "implement Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line."

  • March 22, 1977

    Vice Chairman Ye Jianying's Speech at the Closing Session of the Central Work Conference

    Ye Jianying praises Mao Zedong, offering a historical overview of his achievements, and says that Hua Guofeng "is raising Chairman Mao’s banner high and continuing his legacy."

  • May 10, 1977

    Letter from Deng Xiaoping to Chairman Hua Guofeng, Vice Chairman Ye Jianying, and the CCP Central Committee

    Deng Xiaoping offers a self-criticism and says that he endorses the policies of Hua Guofeng.

  • May 12, 1978

    Untitled report from Brun, Polish Intelligence Station Tokyo, concerning Hua Guofeng’s visit to Pyongyang

    Hua Gufeng visited Pyongyang to brief the DPRK on China's new foreign policy and attempt to dispel any concerns held by Kim Il Sung.

  • November 10, 1978

    Hua Guofeng's Speech at the Opening Session of the CCP Central Work Conference

    Hua Guofeng assesses developments in China since the Chinese Communist Party "smashed the Gang of Four" in 1976. He calls for the CCP to continue to follow the path laid down by Mao Zedong, and comments on China's economic policy and foreign policy.

  • November 25, 1978

    Hua Guofeng's Second Speech at the CCP Central Work Conference

    Hua Guofeng discusses the 1976 Tiananmen Incident following Zhou Enlai's death, the Gang of Four, and purges within the Chinese Communist Party (including Peng Dehuai, Tao Zhu, and Yang Shangkun).

  • December, 1978

    The Politics of the Chinese Leadership after the 11th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party

    This Soviet study of the Chinese leadership after the 11th congress of the Communist Party of China analyzes Chinese foreign policy in the late 1970s, discusses issues related to China's internal situation, especially in military matters, and condemns Maoism as an essentially anti-Communist ideology.

  • December 13, 1978

    Hua Guofeng's Speech at the Closing Session of the CCP Central Work Conference

    Hua Guofeng reflects on the conclusion of the 1978 Central Committee Work Conference, and describes his policy of the "two whatevers," or the decision to uphold Mao Zedong's policies and instructions.

  • December 13, 1978

    Ye Jianying's Speech at the Closing Session of the CCP Central Work Conference

    Ye Jianying reflects on the "Fascist dictatorship perpetuated by Lin Biao and the Gang of Four."

  • March 01, 1979

    Information regarding the Visit of the Study Group of the CC PUWP in China

    Talks about the development of trade and economy in Poland, and the need to develop Chinese relations with Poland, which can be done by developing the Chinese language more in Poland.

  • August 05, 1979

    Annex B/1: On the Domestic Situation (Information Note by Wu Xueqian, Deputy Minister of the International Liaison Department)

    The Chinese delegation introduces the internal situation in China and emphasizes the effort of the CCP for unity and stability after the arrest of the Gang of Four. The main contradiction, as Mao said, is no more the class struggle but the eradication of the obstacles that impede the implementation of the Four Modernizations.

  • March 21, 1980

    Notes from the Meeting with Feng Xuan, Member of the Central Committee and Deputy Minister of the International Liaison Department of the CC (Peking, 3 November 1980)

    On March 11, 1980, Feng introduces the internal situation of the CCP and the reason for the anticipation of the XII Congress, the return of the Secretariat with Hu Yaobang in it, and the rehabilitation of Liu Shaoqi.

  • April 11, 1980

    The People's Republic of China from the Third Plenary Session (18-22 December 1978) to the Fourth Plenary Session (25-28 September 1979) of the Central Committee (XI) of the CCP

    This document drafted by the Ambassador Francisci in Beijing on April 11th was received by the PCI on April 14th 1980. It, is an account of the 3rd Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the CCP (December 18-22, 1978), the 2nd Plenary Session of the 5th People’s National Assembly (June 18-July 1, 1979) and of the National Assembly of the 5th People’s National Assembly (June 15-July 2, 1979) and 4th Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the CCP (September 25-28, 1979). In the conclusion the Ambassador Francisci drafts an interesting analysis of the anti-Dengist and pro-Dengist social groups within China.

  • April 11, 1980

    The People's Republic of China from the Third Plenary Session (18-22 December 1978) to the Fourth Plenary Session (25-28 September 1979) of the Central Committee (XI) of the CCP

    This document drafted by the Ambassador Francisci in Beijing on April 11th was received by the PCI on April 14, 1980. It is an account of the 3rd Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the CCP (December 18-22, 1978), the 2nd Plenary Session of the 5th People’s National Assembly (June 18-July 1, 1979) and of the National Assembly of the 5th People’s National Assembly (June 15-July 2, 1979) and 4th Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the CCP (September 25-28, 1979). In the conclusion the Ambassador Francisci drafts an interesting analysis of the anti-Dengist and pro-Dengist social groups within China.

  • June, 1980

    East German Report on the Eleventh Interkit Meeting in Poland, June 1980

    Report from the East German representatives on the 11th Interkit meeting held in Poland. This was the first meeting attended by the Vietnamese.

  • October 02, 1980

    CPSU CC Politburo Directive to Soviet Ambassadors and Representatives, 'Carrying Out Additional Measures to Counter American-Chinese Military Cooperation'

    Instructions to Soviet ambassadors discussing the growing military cooperation between China and the United States.

  • December 11, 1980

    Secret Telegram No. 3267/IV - From Beijing to Warsaw

    Czyrek reports that he is going to release an official remark in Poland in order to divert a “wedge” that China is trying to create between the Soviet Union and Poland.

  • June 27, 1981

    Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party since the Founding of the People’s Republic of China

    The Chinese Communist Party assesses the legacy and shortcomings of Mao Zedong, criticizes the Cultural Revolution, and calls for Party unity going forward.