Yifu Dong visits Beijing’s new exhibit celebrating economic reform
Forty years ago, China’s leadership decided that the Chinese people deserved better than having to suffer from mass hunger, abject poverty and periodical chaos. It rolled out a program called Reform and Opening, setting China on a path of capitalist normalcy, or as most pundits put it, “an economic miracle.”
This past November, the National Museum of China, a sullen monolith hunching over the east side of Tiananmen Square, put on a grand exhibit called ‘The Great Transformation,’ which celebrates China’s progress in the past four decades. Before it opened on November 13, when President Xi Jinping visited, the National Museum closed for 50 days in preparation. Seeking earth-shattering revelations about Chinese politics from such a well-orchestrated propaganda exhibit is the same as digging for gold in a coal mine, but the basics of China’s new narrative about Reform and Opening are worthy of a recap.