On a winter's night in December 1978, 18 farmers in the village of Xiaogang, in Fengyang County, Anhui Province, concluded a contract: "We will distribute land to every household, and they will sign and apply their seal. Each household will work to fulfill their annual public grain quota, but will no longer seek State assistance." They had no idea that their action heralded a reform that would change the fate of hundreds of millions of Chinese farmers. From the planned economy to the support of the market, and then to the planned commodity economy; reform was advancing step by step in China. The mobilization of resources, the factors of production and the free flow of people created a spring tide that was generating the energy to raise confidence and hope across the country.