Some Enlightening Facts from China’s Economic Development Since Reform and Opening Up | By Tang Mengsheng, Prof. Center for Pakistan Studies of Peking University

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Some Enlightening Facts from China’s Economic Development Since Reform and Opening Up


China was once one of the poorest countries in the world. In 1978, China’s per capita GDP was only US $ 156, and 80% of Chinese people lived in rural areas.

In 1981, 84% of Chinese people lived below the international poverty line of $ 1.25 a day.

In 1982, Pakistan ’s per capita GDP was US $ 240, while China ’s per capita GDP was only US $ 190.

However, since the reform and opening up, after 40 years of rapid development, China’s per capita GDP in 2019 has exceeded $ 10,000. China has staged an economic miracle out of poverty.

China’s development experience proves that poverty is not the fate of developing countries.

As long as there is a strong and powerful leadership, choose a good development path for national development, channelize the enthusiasm and creativity of the people for nationwide economic development, it will definitely get rid of poverty and the country will become rich and strong. This is the first lesson from China’s development.

For developing countries, eradicating poverty and improving people’s living standards are top priorities.

The population of developing countries is concentrated in rural areas. In the past, 80% of people in China lived in rural areas. Today, 70% of people in Pakistan still live in rural areas.

Therefore, to get rid of poverty in developing countries, rural changes must be implemented. Agriculture is the leading sector of the economy of developing countries.

In addition to providing and meeting people’s food needs, agriculture can also provide raw materials for the secondary industry and make market contributions to economic growth.

Agriculture plays an active role in the overall economic growth through production and consumption.

Higher productivity in agriculture can increase the income of the rural population, and the increase in net agricultural income is a driving factor for industrialization.

China’s reform and opening up began in the rural areas, which has laid a solid foundation for China’s economic development.

Getting rid of poverty and achieving development needs to start with the promotion of agricultural modernization. This is the second lesson from China’s development.

To develop the economy, get rid of poverty, and achieve national development, it is not enough to develop agriculture alone. It is also necessary to simultaneously promote the country’s industrial development.

As a result of China’s reform and opening up, agriculture has developed rapidly, farmers’ lives have continued to improve, and agricultural products have greatly enriched the market.

At the same time, the rural population has continued to migrate to cities and enter the modern industrial system.

After the first stage of development, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has entered the stage of industrial cooperation and industrial park construction.

Actively promoting China-Pakistan industrial cooperation will inevitably promote the process of Pakistan’s industrial modernization and is the right track for Pakistan’s economic development.

Since 1978, China has gained an important experience in industrialization and urbanization on the basis of rural reform, and through vigorously developing modern service industries. This is the third lesson.

Adjusting the relationship between the government and the market has always been accompanied by the process of the transformation of government functions in China and by bringing efficiency and effectiveness in allocating resources.

In the past 40 years, the government has gradually rationalized its relationship with the market and enterprises in the process of changing its functions.

It has changed from direct intervention in the micro-economy to macro-management.

Power rests with markets and enterprises, while government facilitates market players and creates a good development environment.

Here, it is mandatory that officials of government departments must go out of the office, go to the remote areas in the countryside, factories and enterprises, understand the problems and difficulties faced by farmers and entrepreneurs, help them solve problems, eliminate difficulties, and plan development.

However, allowing play to the market and respecting the autonomy of enterprises does not imply that the government’s control is weakened.

On the contrary, the government strengthens market supervision, especially during and after the event, to ensure the orderly and healthy development of the market economy. This is the fourth lesson from China’s development.