An emerging Chinese model
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Two dominant schools of thoughts in development have emerged to interpret China’s impressive economic growth and tremendous socio-economic changes. The first school of the Western model attributes China’s rapid economic expansion to its significant increase of so-called capitalist market elements. The second school of the East Asian model points out that China has imitated the East Asian model with state-led development strategies. In this context, the dissertation uses the path dependency theory and the critical juncture framework to argue that China’s reforms represent China’s efforts of groping its own way for economic growth. With the analysis of the main system legacies of the Chinese political and economic institutions, the dissertation suggests that China’s reforms reveal a path dependency nature of institutional evolution. All the way through three stages of economic reforms, China has entered different trajectories of for economic growth. The dissertation identifies the main characteristics of China’s development model. First, China has been trying to build a market economy with a diversified ownership structure by maintaining the public sector as the dominant while significantly encouraging private ownership. Second, it insists on making economic modernization as the central theme and maintaining political stability as the necessary condition. Third, it upholds the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party while transferring the Party into economic performance based structures with the incremental and the pragmatic approach. Fourth, it is characterized by local experimentations with the improvement of central-local government coordination. China’s reforms contain three critical junctures. The late 1970s is the first critical juncture. A chain of events in the 1970s influenced China to take a gradual approach with incremental reforms. Deng Xiaoping’s South China Tour in 1992 is the second critical juncture. The Chinese future leadership would find it extremely difficult to reverse the trend of opening-up and China has decided to establish a market economy. China now is in a third critical juncture. China has been making efforts to pursue a balanced economic development with more emphasis on social, environmental and health issues. The concepts of scientific development and a harmonious society were put forward in this stage.