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Since economic reform in China was initiated by Premier Deng Xiaoping in 1978, the country's economy has grown significantly at an annual rate of 9.0 percent or more for nearly three decades (Brown and He 2007:132; World Bank 2010:10). China now plays an increasingly important role in the world economy. While the global economy remains in dire straits, China's economic growth has been strong and its economic outlook remains favorable, with predictions of GDP of 9.5 percent for 2010 and 8.5 percent for 2011 (World Bank, 2010). This makes China the world's second-biggest economy after the United States.
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