one leader who directed China’s modernization program. Starting from January 1978, Deng declared that China needed to modernize in order to become strong. On his agenda were industry, commerce, and the return of Hong Kong to China. With the new policy, China slowly but gradually reopened to the outside world. Scholarly communications were reestablished with Western countries, foreign investments were encouraged, first in four coastal cities, then in a greater number of cities.
20. The loss of the "iron rice bowl": private entrepreneurship in China
The end of the Cultural Revolution was followed by an economic reform, chaired by the politically rehabilitated Deng Xiaoping, from Sichuan Province, who had been persecuted in the Cultural Revolution because he had been the chief assistant to Liu Shaoqi, chairman of the People's Republic of China and chief target of Mao in his inner party struggle for power. Having been to France as a work-study student in the 1920s, Deng was more cosmopolitan than Mao and the persecutions in the Cultural Revolution steeled his resolution to adopt a more pragmatic policy that would enable China to grow economically just as other economically advanced countries in the world. Under him, China reopened itself to the outside world, and Chinese students began to be allowed to go and study in Europe, America, and other parts of the world. The college entrance examination was revived, and high school students were no longer sent to the countryside for reeducation, but were allowed to take the college entrance examinations. Education again became important.
Following educational reform came economic reform: starting from the 1980s, the Chinese farmers started a "household responsibility" system, which allowed them to contract land from their communes for up to fifty years, sell a certain amount of their produce to the state at a price fixed by the state, and sell produce excess of the quota on the free market; thus, a dual economic system was born---free market on a limited scale, along side the dominant state regulated market. This system was a huge success.
Industrially, China also started to implement greater self-responsibility of the factories, although they continued to be owned by the state. Throughout urban China, the state encouraged the establishment of private enterprises.
The rise of private enterprises and growth of individualism
One of the biggest changes in China since the early 1980s has been the rise of private entrepreneurs and people who work in the private sectors of the economy. Many of them are college graduates who used to boast of the "iron rice bowl" they were granted---state assigned jobs guaranteed after their graduation. With the gradual implementation of the market economy, more and more graduates wanted to rise up to the challenge: giving up state-assigned but usually low-salaried jobs and landing jobs on their own that were more lucrative and enabled them to have greater responsibility over what they did. Landing one's own job has also led to changes in the value system, forcing many to become more individual-minded, independent, and competitive, qualities that were discouraged in the Mao years. This [the rise of private enterprise and individualism?] also led to the