No final dos anos 1980, Deng Xiaoping (1987) dizia que:
On the whole, our goals are not too ambitious. We give ourselves 20 years – that is, from 1981 to the end of the century – to quadruple our GNP and achieve comparative prosperity, with an annual per capita GNP of US$800 to $1,00011. Then we shall take that figure as a new starting point and try to quadruple it again, so as to reach a per capita GNP of $4,000 in another 50 years. What does this mean? It means that by the middle of the next century we hope to reach the level of the moderately developed countries.
If we can achieve this goal, first, we shall have accomplished a tremendous task; second, we shall have made a real contribution to mankind; and third, we shall have demonstrated more convincingly the superiority of the socialist system. As our principle of distribution is a socialist one, our per capita GNP of $4,000 will be different from the equivalent amount in the capitalist countries. For one thing, China has a huge population. If we assume that by the mid-21st century our population will have reached 1.5 billion and that we shall have a per capita GNP of $4,000, then our total annual GNP will be $6 trillion, and that will place China in the front ranks of nations. When we reach that goal, we shall not only have blazed a new path for the peoples of the Third World, who represent three quarters of the world’s population, but also — and this is even more important — we shall have demonstrated to mankind that socialism is the only path and that it is superior to capitalism.