This article makes a systematic comparison of the reassessment of socialism in China under Deng Xiaoping and in the former Soviet Union under Gorbachev, focusing on the official discourse on diagnosing the problems and failures of socialism as theory and practice and prescribing for their remedy. First, the evolving processes of the two reassessments are contrasted and the progressive differences in the direction and realm of reappraisal are discussed. Then the content of the two reassessments are compared in the three key areas of reevaluation: the roots of past failures in the socialist system; the treatment of the individual person under socialism; and the position of the communist party in society. The article concludes with an explanation of the differences in the processes and contents of reassessment in the two cases and an interpretation that links the different discourses to the divergent reformist and revolutionary outcomes in the two systems.

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