ABSTRACT

After a short period of confusion following Mao Zedong's death in 1976 and the fall of the Gang of Four in the same year,1 Deng Xiaoping and his 'prag­ matic' faction emerged as the dominant group in Chinese politics. Formal endorsement of their authority and pro-reform platform came in December 1978 during the Third Plenary Session of the 11 th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). This coincided with the announcement

diplomatic relations between China and the US would be established, and the US would adhere to a 'One China' policy recognizing the communist government as the sole legal representative of China.2 The year 1978 marked a major turning point in China and the CCP's history, and is regarded as the start of the modern reform era.