On October 6, 1976, thanks to resolute action by the CPC Central Committee, the Gang of Four was crushed. Ten years of chaos were brought to an end, and the whole nation celebrated.
The Third Plenary Session of the Tenth CPC Central Committee was held in July 1977. It saw the return of 73-year-old Deng Xiaoping.
On August 4, 1977, Deng Xiaoping presided over a forum on science and education. A group of scholars demanded the college entrance examination be reintroduced. Deng strongly supported it.
Subsequently, the college entrance exam was reinstated after an 11-year hiatus. 5.4 million people signed up for the exam and 270,000 were accepted. Their fate would be changed.
In March 1978, the first National Science Conference was held in Beijing.
This was the first National Science Conference held since the founding of the People's Republic of China.
"The key to the four modernizations is the modernization of science and technology. The development of modern science and technology will bind science and production ever more tightly together," said Deng Xiaoping.
On May 11, 1978, the Guangming Daily released an article called Practice is the Sole Criterion for Testing Truth for the general population to read. The article sparked a nationwide debate on the criterion for truth.
On December 18, 1978, the 3rd Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee convened in Beijing.
The meeting decided that the Party and country should shift their focus to socialist modernization and concentrate on the strategic decision to reform and open up.
The meeting criticized the "Two Whatevers" policy, fully affirmed the necessity of perfecting and accurately grasping the scientific system of Mao Zedong Thought, offered a lofty assessment of the debate over questions of truth standard, and determined a new ideological, political and organizational path of Marxism.
From that point, the curtain was raised on reform and opening-up in China. China embarked on a new course in the construction of Socialism with Chinese characteristics.