Zhu Rongji on the Record

Zhu Rongji on the Record: The Road to Reform: 1991–1997

Zhu Rongji
Translated by June Y. Mei
Henry A. Kissinger
Helmut Schmidt
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 460
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  • Book Info
    Zhu Rongji on the Record
    Book Description:

    China's explosive transformation from a planned economy to a more market-oriented one over the past three decades owes much to the charismatic reformer Zhu Rongji. His pragmatism and strong work ethic have been key forces in China's drive to greater modernization and global stature. He served as the mayor and party chief in Shanghai from 1987 to 1991, as vice premier of China from 1991 to 1998, and then as premier until 2003. This monumental collection brings together, for the first time in English, over one hundred important speeches, articles, letters, and instructions written during his term as vice premier, when he had major responsibility for fulfilling Deng Xiaoping's vision and setting China on a new and fruitful course.

    During this time, Zhu embarked on a plan to reduce the size of government and reform the heavily indebted banking system and state-owned enterprises as well as the housing and health care systems. His sweeping efforts ranged from lobbying for the establishment of stock exchanges to revitalizing agriculture through the introduction of a modern grain market. The ramifications of these reforms are still being felt throughout China and the globe, andZhu Rongji on the Recordprovides a real-time look at these plans as they were being formulated during the 1990s.

    These pages also reflect the forthright personality that gained great popularity with the Chinese public. Zhu vows to speak the truth and avoid "empty talk," as he tells his compatriots. "We must tackle [reform] with both hands, and both hands must be strong." To this end, he provides lists of "musts" and "mustn'ts" that will ensure a "soft landing" during China's transition and calls for swift and resolute action, both in reform and in fighting corruption.

    In addition to revealing the evolution of Zhu's thinking and demonstrating how he helped transform the world's most populous nation, this book provides insight into the course of China's economic reform from the 1990s through the first part of the twenty-first century-a period of time that is key to the global order today.

    Publication of this English edition ofZhu Rongji on the Recordwill be an important milestone in Sino-U.S. cultural exchange and a significant contribution to greater understanding between the world's two largest economic powers.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-2537-4
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Publication Note
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Henry A. Kissinger

    It is commonplace to refer to China’s enormous strides of the past decades as an “economic miracle.” Yet in essence a miracle is an event beyond human performance or comprehension. China’s reform and development was a policy course adopted by top officials and carried out through the efforts and vitality of the Chinese people. Even if the feats this course involved could not easily be duplicated, they can be studied and mined for practical lessons within China and beyond.

    WithZhu Rongji on the Record,China’s former Premier Zhu Rongji has made a valuable contribution to this process. He has...

  5. Foreword
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
    Helmut Schmidt

    During the late 1960s I had an inkling that China was regaining its status as a world power. However, since Germany and China had no diplomatic ties, I traveled to East Asia hoping to look at China from the perspective of the Japanese, the South Koreans, the Thai people, and the Australians. In 1972, as one outcome of these travels, Germany and China established diplomatic relations. Three years later, I visited China for the first time at the invitation of Zhou Enlai, but owing to Zhou’s illness, I was received by Mao Zedong and by Deng Xiaoping. In the following...

  6. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  7. Note from The Brookings Institution
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  8. 1991

    • 1 Clearing Up Triangular Debt Must Start with the Source—Fixed-Asset Investments September 3, 1991
      (pp. 1-16)

      This conference has several distinctive features. First, the leadership attaches great importance to it, and the State Council is very supportive of the clearing up of triangular debt. The State Council is very determined and has allocated RMB 35 billion to support the clearing up. Second, this conference isn’t treating the clearing up of arrears solely as a fiscal settlement or a financial issue. Rather, it is dealing with the problem of triangular debt comprehensively, by not only clearing up arrears in fixed-asset investments, but also by using “linking reductions to loans”² to control the stockpiling of finished goods. Next...

    • 2 Comments on the Economic Development of Western China October 1, 1991
      (pp. 17-19)

      To Comrade Lü Dong:

      (cc: Bo Yibo)

      How to speed up the economic development of Western China is indeed a “big question,” and this is also the question raised by Deng Xiaoping regarding “common prosperity.” “Interviews” presents some good ideas, which are worth further consideration and study. My general impressions are:

      1. Western China must play to its own advantages in resources and science and technology, and develop energy, raw materials, and knowledge-intensive industries. Relying on its strengths and avoiding its weaknesses will yield twice the results with half the effort.

      2. The “structural transformation” in the west must keep in mind...

    • 3 Work Hard to Develop the Shipbuilding Industry October 5, 1991
      (pp. 20-24)

      After listening to your briefing, I see that there have been great developments in shipbuilding during the past decade, and the industry has already become oriented toward the international market. The growth of shipbuilding over these 10 years is in fact a product of reform and opening up and also a visible sign of the success of reform and opening up. In the past, we would not even have dared to think of exporting ships, but now shipbuilding is proving to be doing quite well at exporting. This is mainly because you have a grasp of the direction in which...

    • 4 On-Time Performance Is at the Heart of Civil Aviation Service Quality October 7, 1991
      (pp. 25-29)

      Since the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Party Congress, civil aviation has achieved a great deal and developed very rapidly. Between 1985 and 1990, passenger traffic, freight shipments, and total freight volume have all basically doubled. But in the current situation, the growth of civil aviation still cannot keep up with society’s needs, and it should develop greatly in the future. It is fair to say that the rapid development of civil aviation in these past few years is a product of reform and opening up. At the same time, its growth is one of the conditions necessary for...

    • 5 Speed Up Technical Improvements and Do a Good Job at Large and Medium SOEs October 10, 1991
      (pp. 30-43)

      We’ve invited you all to this meeting today mainly to consider how to implement the spirit of the recently convened working meeting of the Party Central Committee, how to run large and medium state-owned enterprises (SOEs) well, and particularly how to do a good job of making technical improvements in enterprises. I’d like to discuss two thoughts along these lines.

      To strengthen macroeconomic controls we must:

      First, Stop Redundant Construction, Stop Approving Projects for Oversupplied Goods, and Put an End to the Phenomenon of Funds Not Being in Place or Shortfalls in Funding. At the Central Committee’s recent work meeting,...

    • 6 The Key to Controlling Redundant Construction Lies with the Banks October 29, 1991
      (pp. 44-47)

      Today everyone is trying to find out how our economic efforts can get on track in restructuring and improving results. It isn’t that easy to truly get on track. The current economic situation is good, but there are worrisome problems. The burden on enterprises is very heavy. Inventories exceed normal levels by RMB 70 billion to 80 billion, on which the enterprises have to pay the banks RMB 7 billion to 8 billion in interest, and on top of that they have to pay interest on RMB 300 billion in triangular debt. Enterprises are heavily burdened and the scope of...

    • 7 Work Hard on the Internal Restructuring of Industries December 25, 1991
      (pp. 48-52)

      In accordance with the spirit of the Central Committee’s work meeting, the key to large and medium SOEs doing well is to focus on structural adjustment. Unless we adjust the structure, enterprises can’t be revitalized. I’m not talking about the structure of the entire national economy. We should recognize that our reforms and rectification have yielded great results—in particular, the ratios between agriculture and industry, and between agriculture, light industry, and heavy industry have greatly improved. I’m referring here to the internal structures of industries.

      Regarding these internal structures, we can all clearly see that infrastructure facilities are very...

  9. 1992

    • 8 On Comprehensively and Correctly Understanding the Spirit of Deng Xiaoping’s Talks in Southern China March 25, 1992
      (pp. 53-68)

      I’m here today as a member of the Shanghai delegation. I served as Mayor of Shanghai for over three years and attended five meetings of the National People’s Congress. I see all of you every year, and while I can’t say that I know everyone, I do recognize 90% of you. I’m very pleased to see that all of you here today, particularly some of our older comrades, are in very good health. Yesterday, Gongqi² asked me to make some remarks. He wanted me to speak at length, but we don’t have much time today, so what should I talk...

    • 9 On Being a Scholar and Being a Person April 1, 1992
      (pp. 69-69)

      Forty-odd years ago, Professor Zhang Mingtao, Chairman of the Department of Electrical Engineering at my alma mater, said to us at a meeting:

      Now that you’ve come to Tsinghua, you should learn how to be a scholar, but even more you should learn how to be a person. A youth should first learn to be a person, and then learn to be a scholar. If you’re not a good person, no matter how good a scholar you may be, you might become a bad apple. In learning to be a person, the first thing is to be a Chinese with...

    • 10 Quality Is the Lifeblood of Enterprises April 28, 1992
      (pp. 70-82)

      I’d like to discuss ten points about strengthening our work on quality.

      This national conference on quality is a very important aspect of our focus on economic work. We started off last year with clearing triangular debt—if this problem isn’t resolved, it will be hard for many enterprises to operate normally. To clear up triangular debt, we had to focus on limiting production, shrinking inventories, and selling goods. Otherwise, the burden on enterprises would be very heavy, results would be very poor, and they wouldn’t be able to repay debts. After focusing on these tasks, everyone felt that we...

    • 11 Raising Labor Productivity Is the Key to Turning Around Losses and Improving Efficiency in the Coal Sector May 20–29, 1992
      (pp. 83-91)

      The growth of the coal industry in Shanxi is critical to moving the national economy to a new level. Through this study tour, I’ve gained a profound sense of the very important place Shanxi coal occupies in the growth of the national economy. Shanxi produces 290 million tons of coal annually, of which 179 million tons is shipped out via railway and 27 million tons via highways. These 200 million or more tons account for about 80% of the commodity coal shipped to the entire country and are of utmost importance nationally.

      Now, as we are all putting into practice...

    • 12 Speech at a Symposium on Stock Market Pilot Programs in Some Provinces and Cities August 13, 1992
      (pp. 92-101)

      Since the publication of Deng Xiaoping’s important talks during his southern inspection trip, the momentum for reform and opening up has been booming across the country. Deng Xiaoping pointed out: “Are securities and the stock market good or bad? Do they entail any dangers? Are they peculiar to capitalism? Can socialism make use of them? We allow people to reserve their judgment, but we must try these things out.”² This remark of Deng’s was in response to the question of whether stocks and stock markets are “capitalist” or “socialist” and dispelled the doubts in people’s minds. We can now boldly...

    • 13 Guangdong’s Practice Demonstrates the Success of the Policy of Reform and Opening Up September 28, 1992
      (pp. 102-108)

      Guangdong has developed quite quickly these past few years, and it’s achieved a great deal in reform and opening up. After this on-site visit, I sense even more deeply how much it has developed and changed. I’d like to discuss three thoughts and a hope here.

      Guangdong’s practice since reforming and opening up demonstrates the success of Deng Xiaoping’s theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics. It demonstrates not only the success of the policy of reform and opening up, but also the success of the special economic zones policy. These achievements have been acknowledged both at home and abroad, indeed...

    • 14 Some Comments on the Current Economic Situation and Macroeconomic Controls October 20, 1992
      (pp. 109-122)

      The 14th National Party Congress has summed up its great accomplishments in resolutely carrying out the Party’s basic line since the 3rd Plenary Session of the Party’s 11th Central Committee. It has used Deng Xiaoping’s theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics to align the Party’s overall thinking and has formulated policies and made plans for speeding up reform and opening up, and for modernization. This will have a huge effect in mobilizing the Party and the people of the entire country to [strive for] even greater successes in the work of socialism and to realize the great ideal of...

  10. 1993

    • 15 Speed Up Railroad Construction and the Pace of Reform January 11, 1993
      (pp. 123-130)

      First of all, we should fully affirm the achievements of the work of the railway people. Last year, under extremely difficult circumstances, when railway facilities were very inadequate for the rapid growth of the national economy, railroad workers pushed themselves very hard and used every means at their disposal to reach and exceed the scheduled shipping targets. Although our railroad work is quite good, it still fails to meet the needs of our national economic growth. Rail transport currently has too many problems, and it puts too many constraints on our economic growth. This further strengthens my resolve to make...

    • 16 Implement Genuine Separation of Government and Enterprises February 17, 1993
      (pp. 131-132)

      It appears that the problems reflected in this article, which consists of excerpts of speeches by factory directors and managers at a symposium, are somewhat prevalent. The “Regulations”² were issued over half a year ago, yet these things are still happening among us, showing how hard it is to implement the “Regulations.” In the course of reform and transformation of functions at government agencies, there have been cases in which legitimate rights and interests that had been devolved to enterprises were retracted by forming companies of an administrative nature. Some even went so far as to annul the qualifications of...

    • 17 Thirteen Measures for Strengthening Macroeconomic Controls June 9, 1993
      (pp. 133-143)

      In accordance with the decision made at the Premier’s work conference, a study team headed by 7 ministers spent a month conducting investigations in 14 provinces and municipalities. Upon their return, the State Planning Commission took the lead in summarizing and integrating (the reports) and made recommendations on which measures should be taken now. The results of this project should be affirmed.

      The current economic trend has two characteristics: on one hand, the economy is growing faster and faster; on the other hand, more and more money is being printed, and prices are rising higher and higher. Last year GDP...

    • 18 “Three Ground Rules” for Financial Work July 7, 1993
      (pp. 144-154)

      The purpose of this national conference on financial work is to unify our thinking, correct our way of thinking, and push the financial reforms forward. It is thus infused with the spirit of criticism and self-criticism. On the first day of the conference, Zhou Zhengqing² presented a work report on behalf of the Party committee of the head office of the People’s Bank. During the conference, I participated in two half-day discussions with branch presidents, and I also engaged in discussions with some of the retired presidents of the People’s Bank. These veterans proposed many very good ideas. This conference...

    • 19 Rectify the Fiscal and Tax Order, Step Up Fiscal and Tax Reforms July 23, 1993
      (pp. 155-170)

      Not long ago, the State Council convened a national conference on financial work. Its main themes could be summed up in four phrases: “rectify the financial order, stiffen financial discipline, promote financial reforms, and strengthen macroeconomic controls.” In accordance with Jiang Zemin’s directive, the strengthening of macroeconomic controls should start with rectification of the financial order, because finance occupies a pivotal role in the national economy. The fiscal and tax sectors are likewise important sectors of the national economy, and therefore rectifying the fiscal and tax order is a pressing task. Yesterday in my report at the Premier’s working conference...

    • 20 Eight Measures for Solving the Shortage of Funds July 29, 1993
      (pp. 171-176)

      The current financing difficulties that have appeared in these provinces are due to a variety of reasons, one important reason being chaos in the financial system. If we don’t fundamentally change this present condition, we won’t be able to solve the problems even if we inject billions. The deep reason for the financing difficulties is that the scale of investment is too large: there isn’t that much money, but they insist on doing too many things, so if they do one thing, it squeezes out another, and if they do something they shouldn’t, it squeezes out a key project they...

    • 21 Tax Streaming Will Promote Guangdong’s Development September 16, 1993
      (pp. 177-188)

      Having been entrusted to do so by Jiang Zemin and Li Peng, this time I’ve come to Guangdong with Li Tieying² and over 60 comrades from the relevant departments of the State Council to convey, introduce, and explain the overall plan of the Party Central Committee and State Council for seizing the moment and speeding up reforms of the fiscal and tax systems. You didn’t fully understand the adjustments to this plan originally, mainly because the changes to it have been extensive, and there wasn’t timely communication between us, so you’ve been very worried. By “crossing swords three times,” or...

    • 22 Letter to Jiang Zemin, Li Peng, and the Standing Committee of the Politburo on Implementation of the Tax-Streaming System September 18, 1993
      (pp. 189-193)
      Zhu Rongji

      Zemin, Li Peng, and members of the Standing Committee:

      As entrusted by you, Li Tieying and I brought a group of over 60 people from 14 units of the State Council to visit Hainan and Guangdong from September 9 to 16. There we briefed the leading members of those two provinces on the overall concepts of the reforms of the fiscal, financial, foreign trade, and state-owned asset management systems. Through detailed reconciliations of accounts and through calculations, we also conducted a focused study of the possible impact of the fiscal and tax reforms on these two provinces. At the same...

    • 23 Establish Environmental Awareness among All the People October 25, 1993
      (pp. 194-197)

      I have three thoughts on preventing industrial pollution.

      First, the purpose of this work is to protect the environment, to protect nature, to protect humanity, and to create a good life for our descendants. It is a very glorious and very difficult endeavor.

      Second, this work has very strong technical and economic aspects and is closely linked to the work of legal institutions.

      Third, there have been many achievements in environmental protection, as reflected in a recent CCTV broadcast, “A Millennial Journey of Environmental Protection in China.”² This was a very well made and educational TV series for everyone in...

    • 24 Summation Speech at the 1993 National Conference on Economic Work December 3, 1993
      (pp. 198-217)

      This national conference on economic work has already met for three days. We have all unanimously supported the “Decision of the Party Central Committee on Certain Questions Regarding the Establishment of a Socialist Market Economy” (the “Decision”) adopted at the 3rd Plenary Session of the 14th Central Committee of the Party and accepted the report made by Li Peng at the conference’s opening ceremony. Everyone expressed approval of the reform program to be carried out next year, and the scale of the overall plan for next year was generally regarded as appropriate. During the discussions, people brought up some noteworthy...

    • 25 Stabilize Grain and Oil Prices and Steady the Market Supply December 25, 1993
      (pp. 218-231)

      Today, the State Council has convened an emergency meeting to make arrangements to stabilize grain and oil prices as well as market supply. Why must we hold this emergency meeting? Because there are several matters that require urgent attention.

      Since the last 10 days of November, there has been a large increase in grain and oil prices. This has spread from the coastal regions to the interior and from south to north, affecting the entire country. It has led to a buying frenzy for home appliances, gold and silver jewelry, and other goods. The buying frenzy has been taking place...

  11. 1994

    • 26 A Conversation with U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Lloyd Bentsen January 20, 1994
      (pp. 232-239)
      ZRJ, LMB and LHS

      ZRJ: Mr. Bentsen, I’m delighted to meet with you today, and we welcome you to China. You already met with our Premier yesterday. Today I’m meeting with you in my capacity as the Vice Premier in charge of financial and economic affairs, and this has special significance.

      I know that you fought bravely against fascism during World War II. I also know that you served as a U.S. senator for a long time, and you’re now an important cabinet member of the Clinton administration. Your reputation and ability are well known in the United States. I’m very pleased to meet...

    • 27 Revenues from Land Sales Should First Be Used to Relocate Displaced Households June 4, 1994
      (pp. 240-240)
      Zhu Rongji

      [He] Chunlin² (please forward to Hou Jie):

      Urban demolition should be carried out under a plan, in stages, and according to capacities. Right now some cities are disregarding consequences, selling large amounts of land, and carrying out large-scale demolitions. They don’t care about the people displaced by the demolitions, and if this continues, it will affect social stability. A notice should be jointly issued by the departments concerned urging the locals to take note. The income from land sales should first be used to relocate displaced households. The state cannot be responsible for bearing this burden. Please give this some...

    • 28 Taking a Critical Step Forward in Financial Reforms August 15, 1994
      (pp. 241-255)

      Generally speaking, there’s no comparison between the situation regarding macroeconomic controls in the first half of this year and last year. It’s much better than it was last year. Think back to the situation last year—it was “the wind before the storm” and couldn’t go on any longer.

      Once Party Central Committee Document No. 62was issued, the entire Party was aligned in its thinking, and macroeconomic controls proceeded quite smoothly. In exercising these controls, we used mainly financial techniques and “led the ox by the nose.” Don’t think it was just RMB 40 billion in irregular interbank loans...

    • 29 Establish a Social Security System with Chinese Characteristics September 8, 1994
      (pp. 256-258)

      The issue of reforming the social security system is extremely important. The Party Central Committee and the State Council have affirmed that the focus of next year’s reforms will be [establishing] a modern enterprise system—this is fundamental. However, SOE reform must be supported by a social security system. Without such a system, we can’t speak of enterprise reform. Therefore we should raise the study of the social security question to a higher level.

      In establishing a socialist security system with Chinese characteristics, we need to take three distinctive features of China into consideration. First, China is a large country...

    • 30 A Conversation with Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board October 24, 1994
      (pp. 259-266)
      ZRJ, Alan Greenspan, RTP, EMT, HSC and JRS

      ZRJ: I’ve long wanted to meet you and have often hoped you would come. Now I’m very delighted to meet you. I had hoped to meet you in Madrid.² Of course there wasn’t time in Madrid to discuss any issues. I had only wanted to invite you to a Chinese meal, but you returned home early. We made extensive preparations for your visit. I know you met today with President Jiang Zemin, and that tomorrow you’ll be meeting with Premier Li Peng. Tonight, as a colleague, I just want to invite your delegation to a Chinese dinner. If you have...

    • 31 Strengthen Management of the State’s Forex Reserves and Foreign Debt December 19, 1994
      (pp. 267-271)

      Forex reserves have increased greatly this year and have now reached US$50 billion. This is a manifestation of the good economic situation, and also a major achievement of this year’s reforms.

      For many years, we wanted to increase our country’s forex reserves but were never able to do so. This year, we achieved this goal by reforming the forex management system. This is the result of our carrying out the correct policies of the Party Central Committee and an important result of our reforms—this achievement should be fully affirmed. On the other hand, the rather large increase in forex...

    • 32 A Letter to Central Government Leaders on the Report by the National People’s Congress on Implementation of the Agricultural Law December 29, 1994
      (pp. 272-273)
      Zhu Rongji

      To [Jiang] Zemin, Li Peng, Qiao Shi, [Li] Ruihuan, [Liu] Huaqing, [Hu] Jintao and leading members of the State Council:

      The problems in implementing our grain purchase policy described in this report deserve our attention and solutions, but there are some factual inaccuracies. For instance, it says that policies “changed three times in half a year.” Thus far, despite smaller harvests, we’ve already purchased almost 150 billion jin² of grain, which is more than last year and which is equal to 80% of the planned set-price and negotiated-price purchases for the year. We’ve already purchased 54 million dan³ of cotton,...

  12. 1995

    • 33 A Conversation with Japanese Finance Minister Takemura Masayoshi January 9, 1995
      (pp. 274-279)
      Takemura Masayoshi and ZRJ

      Takemura: I’m extremely honored that our delegation is able to meet with you immediately upon arrival in Beijing.

      ZRJ: I visited Japan last year and regretted not having met with a statesman as famous as you. Today, I’m delighted to meet with you in Beijing, and as a colleague in charge of fiscal and financial work, I’m delighted to make your acquaintance. This will enhance our mutual friendship and understanding and is good for the friendly cooperative relationship between our countries. I sincerely welcome you on your visit to China.

      TM: Your Excellency, I very much appreciate your taking the...

    • 34 On Current Monetary Policy February 12, 1995
      (pp. 280-282)
      Zhu Rongji

      To [Zhou] Zhengqing, [Dai] Xianglong, and members of the leading Party group of the People’s Bank:

      Improving the quality of loans is an important task, and I’m also in favor of Xianglong’s work plan for this task. However, in light of the very daunting current situation with regard to the excessive injection of base money and overly rapid increase in the money supply, we must give serious consideration to the following four issues.

      First, we must strengthen the management of forex conversions. Right now we are “doubly lax.” Conversion of forex into renminbi is very lax, and all sorts of...

    • 35 On Economic Work in Beijing July 1, 1995
      (pp. 283-285)
      Zhu Rongji

      To [Jiang] Zemin, Li Peng:

      Beijing sought me out to discuss economic work. On June 27 I had a very small-scale meeting and listened to reports by Wei Jianxing,² Li Qiyan,³ and Zhang Baifa.⁴ Overall, Beijing’s economy is quite stable and has no major problems. The municipal government drew up a list of things for which they want money. Because the circumstances were not explained very clearly, I asked them to compare notes with the general departments and then come back to me in two months. The spirit you both spoke of many times led me to make the following...

    • 36 A Memorable Two Years as Governor of the Central Bank August 28, 1995
      (pp. 286-291)

      This advanced seminar on financial law organized by the People’s Bank has been very well run and is very timely. You’ve discussed many excellent ideas, which is very good for helping us to align our thinking within the entire banking system. I’ve been Governor of the People’s Bank for two years, and all you bank presidents here have been colleagues working with me during this period. You’ve written monthly reports for me that I’ve read carefully, and I’ve joined you in acquiring financial knowledge. This period of time has been memorable both for me and for all of you.


    • 37 Thoughts on How Xinjiang Should Develop Its Economy September 8–13, 1995
      (pp. 292-301)

      I haven’t often come to Xinjiang—I visited Turpan and Kashgar in 1987. Since starting work at the State Council, I’ve been to Xinjiang once, in 1993, and that was primarily to northern Xinjiang. This time I’ve come mainly to have a look at southern Xinjiang.

      Southern Xinjiang’s development is a bit poorer than that of northern Xinjiang, and particularly because of the special circumstances in southern Xinjiang, the issue of stability is particularly important. That’s why the principal leaders of the Party Central Committee and the State Council care so much about southern Xinjiang. The night before I was...

    • 38 Congratulations to Mr. Chen Daisun on His 95th Birthday October 19, 1995
      (pp. 302-304)
      Zhu Rongji

      Dear Mr. Chen Daisun:

      I had planned to visit you tomorrow to offer my congratulations on the happy occasion of your 95th birthday, but because I must leave Beijing today on business, I will be unable to see you, to my great regret.

      You are rich in years and virtue, and your learning encompasses East and West. For 68 years, you have taught and nurtured, and as a master of your generation, your students can truly be found everywhere. I entered Tsinghua University in 1947, and though I was not personally tutored by you, I always admired your conduct and...

    • 39 Letters and Petitions Are an Important Channel for Gaining a Sense of the People October 30, 1995
      (pp. 305-308)

      It is part of our Party’s fine tradition and work style to care about letters and petitions and to take them seriously. The older generation of proletarian revolutionaries were role models for us in taking these seriously. The Party’s third generation of central collective leadership with Jiang Zemin at its core attaches great importance to letters and petitions and has issued a series of important directives concerning them. I myself have also deeply felt the importance of working on letters and petitions.

      First of all, letters and petitions are an important channel through which we can get a sense of...

    • 40 Take Effective Measures to Lift Impoverished Areas Out of Poverty November 14–19, 1995
      (pp. 309-314)

      This is my third visit to Guangxi since I started working at the State Council. In 1993 I came on a study visit, last year I came for disaster relief, and this year I’m here to visit impoverished families. I really feel that despite suffering from major natural disasters, Guangxi has been developing very quickly, and changes have taken place in all areas. Of course Guangxi still has serious difficulties, especially in antipoverty work. The Autonomous Region has a population of 45 million, of which more than 7 million are impoverished. A considerable number of people in the Dashi Mountains...

  13. 1996

    • 41 Selling Off Small SOEs Is Not a “Miracle Cure” March 24, 1996
      (pp. 315-321)

      I’ve come to the city of Zhu this time to study its experiences in improving small SOEs. Last December 20, at a national conference on systemic reform convened by the State Commission on Restructuring the Economic System, I was at a discussion session with conference attendees, and the commission spoke highly of your experiences. At the time I said I would come to personally take a look. Now I’ve been here for three days and would like to discuss some of my own views.

      First, I want to affirm the achievements of the work that has been done by the...

    • 42 Adjust and Refine Processing Trade Policy June 5, 1996
      (pp. 322-328)

      The pilot program for the processing trade’s security deposit ledgers² started last November and has already been in operation for half a year. According to your summary of the circumstances, the pilot has achieved the results we anticipated and has been successful. It shows that the security deposit ledger system has already been accepted by many foreign businessmen, apparently there is basically no resistance, and it can be rolled out. This proves that the State Council’s decision to enact a security deposit ledger system for the processing trade was correct and workable, and there will be no problem with rolling...

    • 43 Do a Good Job of Opening Up the Financial and Insurance Market to the Outside July 24, 1996
      (pp. 329-333)

      The establishment and refinement of a social insurance system is a necessary condition for the establishment of a socialist market economy, and commercial insurance is an important component of its social security system. You have a tremendous future, because China has almost 1.3 billion people. It is the largest insurance market in the world, and you can play a great role on this stage.

      Today, I want to take this opportunity to discuss the opening up of the financial and insurance sectors. Perhaps you might be quite taken aback—why would I come here to discuss this subject? Because right...

    • 44 On Enterprise Bankruptcy and Capital Restructuring August 20, 1996
      (pp. 334-341)

      Enabling enterprise bankruptcy is a very important measure for promoting the transformation of operational mechanisms at SOEs and for developing a socialist market economy. At the same time, it is an important measure for ensuring that state-owned assets, particularly bank assets, are not continually being lost.

      Through the organization of the State Economic and Trade Commission, from its inception in 1994 up to the present, this work has achieved some results and has gained some experience. However, we are constantly receiving materials indicating that in the past two years, a problem of debt evasions masquerading as bankruptcies has emerged. Many...

    • 45 Some Issues in Macroeconomic and Tax Work December 20, 1996
      (pp. 342-365)

      I read the reports from Liu Zhongli² and Xiang Huaicheng³ ahead of time, and approve of them both. I originally didn’t have to come to this conference. The State Council has a rule that when a ministry holds working conferences, the vice premier (overseeing the ministry) doesn’t have to attend. But you invited me to come, so I came. Why? Because I wanted to see all of you, and to share a few thoughts.

      First, there have been great achievements in fiscal and tax work this year. The excellent state of the economy today cannot be separated from the diligence...

  14. 1997

    • 46 Forcefully Promote Enterprise Reforms and Actively Implement Reemployment Projects January 8, 1997
      (pp. 366-374)

      It is inevitable that we will encounter some difficulties in the course of reforming SOEs. The current difficulties are primarily manifested in the lower profits at SOEs as a whole, in the considerable number of loss-making SOEs, and in the inability of some to even pay wages. This is a latent factor for social instability and demands close attention. We must both recognize the seriousness of these difficulties and yet not overexaggerate them—we should analyze the reasons behind these difficulties by seeking truth from facts. There are indeed some objective reasons for the decline in SOE profits. At the...

    • 47 What to Do after a Bumper Harvest January 13, 1997
      (pp. 375-381)

      The focus of this central conference on rural work is to study the issue of what to do after a bumper harvest. This will be very important for determining how our agricultural production can achieve progress amid stability this year, and how we can promote sustained and steady growth of the entire national economy. I’d like to discuss some thoughts on several of the specific questions you’re all concerned about.

      Currently, the agricultural and rural situations are truly very good. Last year, building on the significant bumper harvest of 1995, we again set a new record, and the increase in...

    • 48 On Reform of the Housing System January 24, 1997
      (pp. 382-390)

      Housing is a major issue that affects the personal interests of the broad masses, and the Party Central Committee and State Council take housing reform very seriously. To solve the housing problem of our urban residents, we must first clarify the direction of housing reform. In recent years, all regions and departments have done a great deal of work to deepen their housing reforms. Broadly speaking, there has been a significant improvement in the housing situation of [urban] residents, but it’s still not nearly enough. When I was Mayor of Shanghai, on average the urban populace had only 4 square...

    • 49 A Conversation with Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve May 5, 1997
      (pp. 391-396)
      ZRJ and Alan Greenspan

      ZRJ: I’m delighted that you’re visiting China again. Our central bank has an excellent cooperative relationship with the Federal Reserve. I remember clearly my first meeting with Mr. [Wayne] Angell² in 1993. I then met Mr. [William] McDonough³ twice, after which I invited you to China in 1994. At that time China’s economy was encountering difficulties, and the inflation rate had reached 24%. After we adopted a series of fiscal and financial reform measures, things improved noticeably. I also learned a great deal from that meeting.

      After 1994 China was worried that economic overheating would occur and we took [appropriate]...

    • 50 Having a Lot of Cotton Is a Joyous Burden August 26, 1997
      (pp. 397-405)

      This national conference on cotton convened by the State Council has been a very good conference. It has fully affirmed the achievements of our work on cotton and also clearly analyzed existing problems and proposed solutions for them. The State Council attaches great importance to the various problems that currently exist in cotton and regards them as difficulties that have emerged at a time when the overall situation is excellent—this is a burden we are glad to bear. When you get right down to it, this is just like grain. Even if there is too much cotton, it is...

    • 51 Don’t Start a Fad When Implementing a Shareholding System September 10, 1997
      (pp. 406-409)

      The 7th Plenary Session of the 14th Central Committee of the Party that ended yesterday approved the report of the 14th Central Committee to the 15th National Party Congress and the “Revised Constitution of the Communist Party of China.” These two important documents highlighted Deng Xiaoping’s theories and at the same time contained new theoretical developments, particularly innovations in the theory of ownership. That is, the components of public ownership are not limited to enterprises under state ownership and collective ownership. In enterprises of non-public ownership, shares that are state-owned or collectively owned should also be counted as components of...

    • 52 Basic Medical Insurance Should Be Low in Level but Broad in Coverage October 27, 1997
      (pp. 410-417)

      Reforming the medical insurance system is quite difficult, even more difficult than [reforming] pension insurance and as a result, there are still many problems. Intensive study indicates that we must draw up a reform plan for nationally unified employee medical insurance that is practical and feasible. Now, in response to the questions you’ve raised, I’d like to discuss some tentative thoughts on this subject.

      The key to the success or failure of the entire medical reform plan is how we determine the basic level of medical insurance. Premier Li Peng has repeatedly emphasized that China is still a developing country....

    • 53 Deepen Financial Reforms and Guard against Financial Risks November 18, 1997
      (pp. 418-436)

      The “Notice of the Party Central Committee and the State Council on Deepening Financial Reforms, Rectifying the Financial Order and Preventing Financial Risk” (the “Notice”) that we are discussing at this conference fully exemplifies the spirit of the 15th National Party Congress and is an extremely important document. Now, in the spirit of the “Notice” and the discussions during the conference, I will discuss a few thoughts.

      During the past few years, and especially since last year, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the questions of deepening financial reforms and preventing financial risk. Why? Because problems in the...

    • 54 Truly Learn the Lessons of the Asian Financial Crisis December 12, 1997
      (pp. 437-444)

      In the past few months, a serious financial crisis has occurred in Southeast Asia, and we should learn lessons from it. Although we’ve been fortunate to escape this storm, we cannot afford to rest easy, because the crisis has not yet passed. However, I don’t think the problem is too great, and it still isn’t easy to rock our financial system. We were spared mainly because of China’s economic strength. Another undeniable reason is that our capital markets are still not yet fully open to the outside, or they are basically not open. The foreign capital that comes in consists...

  15. Index
    (pp. 445-460)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 461-461)