Oftentimes, the economic model of development propagated by China today is described as “authoritarian capitalism” (Gat, 2007, 33). China has recently taken cautious steps towards the embrace of market-oriented principles and while capitalism and entrepreneurship remain relatively new concepts, these concepts are starting to take hold. How has China developed over the past century? What is the recent history of China and how does this history explain the model of development which it has decided to pursue? How has the Chinese economy grown under globalization and has the ideological underpinnings of socialism in China evolved or simply withered away? These questions, and many more, will be addressed in this exploration of China and its cautious embrace of capitalism and entrepreneurship today.
An ancient civilization with an extensive tradition of dynastic and centralized rulers, China was been ruled by the Communist Party of China (CCP) since the successful overthrow of the Nationalist government in 1949. Establishing a socialist form of government through the creation of the People’s Republic of China, the Communist Party of China is avowedly socialist and sought to impart communist teachings throughout this vast country. Accordingly, the communist leaders initially saw capitalism through a skeptic’s lens and implemented profound overhauls of the economic structure of Chinese society. Thus, the implementation of a series of top-down economic initiatives such as a series of Five Year Plans, the Great Leap Forward and the often-times violent Cultural revolution, all paved the way for the establishment of a socialist society in which economic matters were dictated by the state and implemented accordingly. Significantly, socialism provided the ideological impetus for the Communist Party of China to govern. Thus, while implementing an economic overhaul of the country, the socialist credentials of