China: 30 Years of Development Success

22 December 2008

Thirty years ago this December, China launched economic reforms – which have since lifted 600 million people out of poverty and achieved phenomenal economic growth. Now is an important moment, not only to celebrate the achievements of the past 30 years, but also to discover what lessons can be learned for global poverty reduction. A DFID China seminar series is creating the opportunity for a global discussion on the lessons from success in China and other East Asian countries, and the ‘developmental state’ more generally.

The series of events ask ‘What are the relevant lessons for other countries and regions?’ While there is an enormous amount of research on China – inside and outside the country – this knowledge has barely been reflected on in the international development debate and community. As part of the series IDS’ Sarah Cook chaired ‘China as a new shaper of development’ a discussion at the Development Studies Association conference and Zhang Xiulan, IDS Trustee and Director of the Institute of Scoial Development and Public Policy, Beijing Normal University, spoke at IDS on ‘Thirty Years of Social Policy Reforms’.

Most global poverty reduction over the last 30 years has happened in East Asia, primarily, but not only, in China. Inevitably, this record has become the object of admiration around the world, but also of mystification. China’s ‘model’ is an aspiration for many around the world – it was, for example, influential in Vietnam’s reforms – and China’s support for global development is rapidly expanding. Meanwhile China is continuing its own efforts to improve the well-being of its own population, for example through its current radical land reform.

Each event in the series is being hosted by a different development institute or think-tanks. Each meeting focuses on one particular aspect of the broad theme, with speakers or panels discussing lessons and the implication for international theory and practice.

Full Schedule of events

Joanna Glyde is a Communication Officer at the Institute of Development Studies