Four Modernizations

Four Modernizations

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The Four Modernizations were goals, set forth by Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai was the first Premier of the People's Republic of China, serving from October 1949 until his death in January 1976...

 in 1963, to strengthen the fields of agriculture
Agriculture in China
Agriculture is an important economic sector of China, employing over 300 million farmers. China ranks first in worldwide farm output, primarily producing rice, wheat, potatoes, sorghum, peanuts, tea, millet, barley, cotton, oilseed, pork, and fish.-History:...

, industry
Industry of China
Industry produced 53.7 percent of the People's Republic of China’s gross domestic product in 2005. Industry contributed 46.8 percent of GDP in 2010 and occupied 27 percent of the workforce in 2007. The manufacturing sector produced 44.1 percent of GDP in 2004 and accounted for 11.3 percent of...

, national defense
People's Liberation Army
The People's Liberation Army is the unified military organization of all land, sea, strategic missile and air forces of the People's Republic of China. The PLA was established on August 1, 1927 — celebrated annually as "PLA Day" — as the military arm of the Communist Party of China...

, science and technology
Science and technology in the People's Republic of China
Science and technology in the People's Republic of China has been growing rapidly. As China develops and becomes more connected to the global economy, the government has placed a stronger emphasis on science and technology as an integral part of the socio-economic development of the country...

. Henceforth the Four Modernizations were a focus of the Chinese government, especially under Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician, statesman, and diplomat. As leader of the Communist Party of China, Deng was a reformer who led China towards a market economy...



They were introduced as early as January 1963: at the Conference on Scientific and Technological Work held in Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...

 that month, Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai was the first Premier of the People's Republic of China, serving from October 1949 until his death in January 1976...

 called for professionals in the sciences to realize "the Four Modernizations." In February 1963, at the National Conference on Agricultural Science and Technology Work, Nie Rongzhen
Nie Rongzhen
Nie Rongzhen was a prominent Chinese Communist military leader, and one of ten Marshals in the People's Liberation Army of China. He was the last surviving PLA officer with the rank of Marshal.-Biography:...

 specifically referred to the Four Modernizations as comprising agriculture, industry, national defense, and science and technology. In 1975, in one of his last public acts, Zhou Enlai made another pitch for the Four Modernizations at the 4th National People's Congress
4th National People's Congress
The 4th National People's Congress was in session from 1975 to 1978. It held only one plenary sessions in January 1975. There were 2864 deputies to this Congress.The Congress passed the 1975 Constitution of the People's Republic of China....

. After Zhou's death and Mao’s soon thereafter, Deng Xiaoping assumed control of the party in late 1978. In December 1978 at the Third Plenum of the 11th Central Committee, Deng Xiaoping announced the official launch of the Four Modernizations, formally marking the beginning of the reform era.

The Four Modernizations were designed to make China a great economic power by the early 21st century. These reforms essentially stressed economic self-reliance. The People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 decided to accelerate the modernization process by stepping up the volume of foreign trade by opening up its markets, especially the purchase of machinery from Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 and the West
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

. By participating in such export-led growth, China was able to speed up its economic development through foreign investment, a more open market, access to advanced technologies, and management experience.


On December 5, 1978 in Beijing, former red guard
Red Guards (China)
Red Guards were a mass movement of civilians, mostly students and other young people in the People's Republic of China , who were mobilized by Mao Zedong in 1966 and 1967, during the Cultural Revolution.-Origins:...

 Wei Jingsheng
Wei Jingsheng
Wei Jingsheng is a Chinese activist known for his involvement in the Chinese democracy movement, most prominent for authoring the document Fifth Modernization on the "Democracy Wall" in Beijing in 1978. He is generally known for getting arrested and spending 15 years in prison due to the document...

 posted on the Democracy Wall
Democracy Wall
The Democracy Wall was a long brick wall on Xidan Street, Xicheng District, Beijing, which became the focus for democratic dissent. Beginning in December 1978, in line with the Communist Party of China's policy of "seeking truth from facts," activists in the Democracy movement—such as Xu...

 the Fifth Modernization
Fifth Modernization
The Fifth Modernization originally began as a signed wall poster placed by Wei Jingsheng on December 5, 1978 on the Democracy Wall in Beijing.-Summary:...

as being "democracy". He was arrested a few months later and jailed for 15 years.