Before the 1989 Beijing (Peking) massacre, mainland China was in the vanguard of socialist reform. Afterward, it appeared to be the laggard. The reform project, however, did not die in the assault on the democracy movement. The mainland Chinese leadership that emerged from the violence is still searching for economic modernization and technological development. It espouses inflation-fighting monetarism and controlled interaction with the world economy. This program has its contradictions, tensions that are evident in the Special Economic Zones (SEZs). How have mainland China's boldest experiments in structural reform and international opening, the SEZs, fared under the regime of economic retrenchment and political repression? An answer must begin with some background on zone policy.