China at Age 60: From Pariah to World Power

AFP looks back at the transformation of Chinese politics over the past 60 years:

A country that was once seen as a pariah, stuck between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and which barely gained United Nations membership in 1971, slowly emerged from its isolation.

In 1978, Beijing agreed to establish diplomatic relations with Washington. Then, under paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, it launched a programme of economic reforms that opened up the country to foreign investment.

Francoise Lemoine, a China expert at the Research Centre for International Economics (CEPII) in Paris, says the country’s authorities quickly understood how to reap the benefits of the new world order.

“China is opening up at a time when other countries are ready to move their intensive manual labour activities offshore,” the French economist told AFP.

“China knows how to take advantage of this new globalisation, of the worldwide movement of capital and goods, and is claiming its rightful place in this new global division of labour.”

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