Episode 337: The Secret Document that Transformed China : Planet Money In 1978, a group of farmers in a Chinese village wrote a contract and hid it in the roof of a hut. They were afraid the document might get them executed. Instead, it transformed the Chinese economy.
NPR logo Episode 337: The Secret Document that Transformed China

Episode 337: The Secret Document that Transformed China

Yen Jingchang was one of the signers of the secret document. Jacob Goldstein/NPR hide caption

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Jacob Goldstein/NPR

Yen Jingchang was one of the signers of the secret document.

Jacob Goldstein/NPR

Note: Today's show originally ran in January 2012.

In 1978, a group of farmers in a Chinese village called Xiaogang wrote a secret contract and hid it in the roof of a mud hut.

They were afraid the document might get them executed. Instead, it wound up completely transforming the Chinese economy.

On today's show, we travel to Xiaogang, and hear the farmers' story.

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