What changed after China’s economy broke out of its 'cage'?
Updated 12:48, 19-Nov-2018
CGTN's Wang Haidi
The 40th anniversary of China's Reform and Opening-up policy brings to mind the image of “birds in a cage”  with China's planned economy referred to as the “cage” and the market economy as the “birds”.
In the 40 years since the “birds” have struggled to escape their “cage”, China has made great strides and changes.
According to China's People's Daily newspaper, China's urban per-capita disposable income increased to 36,000 yuan in 2017 from 343 yuan in 1978, while rural per-capita net income rose to 13,400 yuan from 134 yuan.
Over this period, more than 700 million Chinese were lifted out of absolute poverty, which accounted for over 70 percent of global poverty reduction.
On the verge of collapse before the reforms, China's economy has caught up quickly, with its size surpassing Italy, France, Britain, Germany, and Japan to take second place in the world.
Shanghai's skyline /VCG Photo 

Shanghai's skyline /VCG Photo 

However, investment banker Jim Zhang believes that invisible changes have also made a significant impact – for example, people's perspective of China has changed dramatically.
“When we are doing business with foreign investors, at first, we always need to explain to the world what's inside the cage, what's in China,” Zhang explained. “When we tell them China is a big country, people would laugh.”
“But nowadays, people have begun to realize the magnitude of China,” he added.
Allen Cheng, former Asia Bureau Chief of the financial media company, Institutional Investor, Inc., believes China made many mistakes during the process, but learned fast from its mistakes and corrected them quickly.
He described the process as going “from crawling to walking, and walking fast”, China's experiment started from a little village and expanded to the whole nation.
How fast and far the birds will fly remains a debate, as Cheng concluded, “China continues to be one big experiment.”
“40 years with Laurence Brahm: A marathon of experiences and ideas” is a special CGTN program on China's reform and opening-up. The 10-episode series explores many sides to reform and opening-up over the years and offers a unique perspective on the seismic shifts that have rippled through China's economy, policies, and social fabric. The program is live-streamed at cgtn.com every day from November 15 to 25.
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