China learning, unlearning, relearning

As the country marks its 70th anniversary, it should celebrate a remarkable but less noted achievement that predates 1949

A woman adjusts a Chinese national flag before the upcoming National Day in Bozhou in China's eastern Anhui province on Sept 26, 2019. PHOTO: AFP
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When Mao Zedong's Chinese Communist Party (CCP) won the civil war in 1949, the country was in ruins.

That was not because of the bitter fighting on the battlefield, but more the outcome of nationalist China's runaway inflation and economic collapse. But to the surprise of many, the new regime quickly contained the damage and started a recovery that raised people's hopes and inspired a whole generation for at least a decade.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2019, with the headline China learning, unlearning, relearning. Subscribe