The central government stipulated the 1976-1985 Ten Year Plan
Outline of Developing National Economy (Draft) in 1975, which
included the 5th Five-Year Plan (the Plan).
In March 1978, the Ten Year Development Outline was amended
because the original version stipulated that by 1985, steel and
petroleum outputs should reach 60 and 250 million tons
respectively, and 120 large projects, including 10 steel production
bases, nine non-ferrous metal bases, eight coal bases and 10 oil
and gas fields, should be built. To achieve these goals, the
government would invest 70 billion yuan in infrastructure
construction, equaling total national investment over the previous
28 years. These were impossible targets and ran counter to economic
The Plan put forward suggestions to set up an independent and
comparatively complete industrial system and national economic
system from 1978 to 1980.
With the implementation of the Plan, considerable success was
achieved. In 1977, the gross output value of industry and
agriculture reached 505.5 billion yuan, 4.4 percent above-target
and representing an increase of 10.4 percent compared with the
previous year. Gross domestic product for 1978 reached 301 billion
yuan, an increase of 12.3 percent compared with 1977, and an
increase of 19.4 percent compared with 1976.
However, during this period, China developed its economy too
quickly, and the very high goals set spelt the onset of yet another
round of mistakes.
In December 1978, the 3rd Plenary Session of the 11th Communist
Party Central Committee shifted the work focus of the Communist
Party to modernization. The Session emphasized that the development
should follow economic rules and proposed readjustment and reform
measures, which indicated that national economic development had
entered a new phase, one of exploration and development. In April
1979, the central government formally put forward new principles of
readjustment, reform, rectification and improvement.