chapter  1
1987: Politics Back in Command
WithAnthony J. Kane
Pages 17

Chinese politics in 1987 was like the old Peace Corps ad in which one was challenged to say whether the glass of water was half empty or half full. The staggering advances of China's reforms in 1986 left many American China watchers nervous, but few were prepared for the shocks of January 1987. The most visible opponent of political reform was Peng Zhen, the powerful chairman of the National People's Congress and an ally of Chen Yun. The agenda for future reform was set in Ziyang Zhao's political report to the Congress, the central thesis of which was that China is in a "primary stage of socialism," when the main task is not class struggle but the development of productive forces. Zhao's report to the Thirteenth Party Congress was intended to pave the way for new initiatives in economic and political reform, and the new leadership coalition that he heads seems ready to move forward with him.