What makes all of this even more amazing is how little the average westerner knows about the lives, economic, social, and political, of 1.6 billion people. Every now and again, we read in the news about how China offers a great vacation, we see a "Free Tibet" sticker on the back of a car, or we notice that our newest gadget or piece of clothing was made in China. If one reads the right newspapers, they might think that Communist China is on the verge of collapse and massive democratic reforms are just a few years away. Upon closer inspection, however, this is clearly not the case. This paper will argue that the prospects for massive democratic reforms in China are very poor. It will do this by arguing that there is very little internal economic or social impetus for political change and Chinese leaders are unlikely to be swayed by Western Nations into instituting democratic reforms. Despite the fact that the Communist Party in China will remain relatively stable into the foreseeable future, there are still many problems that the party needs to address if it is to maintain it's stronghold in China.
One of the primary reasons why one may think that the Communist party is likely to become more democratic in the near future is the success of the economic reforms, which began in 1978. According to Tony Saich, the Chinese government did three very important things in 1978 which would allow for future the future growth of the economy and allow for greater interaction with the rest of the world.
First, economic modernization was made central to all party work. Ideology and class struggle were down-played and policy-making became more pragmatic, summed up in the slogan 'practice is the sole criterion for testing truth' and corresponding policy line of 'correcting mistakes wherever they are discovered.' Second, despite the plenum's decision to forget about the past and concentrate on the future, the new 'practice' slogan was used both at the plenum and subsequently to reverse a whole series of previous political judgmentsThird, the plenum formed the source for a new policy direction that gradually increased the influence of market forces in the Chinese economy.4
Of course, the economic reforms were very complex and continue to evolve to this day, and include entry into the World Trade Organization. Whole books have been written about this single process, needless to say, the economic reforms have had a major impact. Author Andrew Walder writes that,
China's post-Mao economic reforms have generated rapid and sustained economic growth, unprecedented rises in real income and living standards, and have transformed what was once one of the world's most insular economies into a major trading nation.5
In a speech to the Fourth International Investment Forum, Gregory Chow said
Since economic reform started in China in 1978, there has been a remarkable growth in GDP, to the order of 9.5 percent per year on average. What accounts for this tremendous success To answer in one sentence, the Chinese government has adopted institutions and policies that enable the resourceful Chinese people and foreign friends to unleash their energy to develop the Chinese economy. The farmers became energetic and productive since the 1979. The township and village enterprises were the most dynamic element for growth in the 1980s and early 1990s. Many private and foreign