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1 Introduction Zhu Rongji’s tenure in Shanghai coincided with the critical period when the focus of China’s economic reforms shifted from rural areas to the cities, and when the economic system itself was in transition. For various domestic and international reasons, reform, development, and stability encountered great difficulties and daunting challenges. In Shanghai, China’s largest industrial city, old problems left over from the past overlapped with and were intertwined with new ones that emerged during the economic transition. The city was confronted with severe and complex issues due to two major problems: a sharp drop in fiscal revenues and excessive debts incurred for urban construction . Led by then Municipal Party Secretary Jiang Zemin, Zhu, together with the leading members of the Municipal Party Committee and municipal government , organized the city’s administrators and populace to forcefully promote reforms, improve livelihoods, and stabilize and develop the economy. Within a relatively short time, major socioeconomic changes took place that laid a solid foundation for Shanghai’s subsequent reforms and development. The Shanghai Years is an important record of this unique period. It clearly traces the course of the city’s reforms and offers the reader a more comprehensive look at this phase of China’s reform and modernization, as well as a deeper understanding of the theory and practice of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Improving People’s Livelihoods As soon as he became mayor, Zhu Rongji encountered a hepatitis-A epidemic in Shanghai, ongoing inflation, and poor morale among the city’s residents. Under the planned economy, 80% of Shanghai’s fiscal revenues had to be turned over to the central government, public facilities were heavily indebted, and there were many complaints about snarled traffic, housing shortages, and environmental pollution, none of which could be addressed within a short time. Following in-depth research, Zhu decided to make a breakthrough in the supply of non-staple foods by formulating a master plan for end-to-end reforms of their production and marketing systems. After several years of effort, a Zhu_Shanghai Years_1987-1991_hc_9780815731399_i-xii_1-620.indd 1 12/26/17 12:00 PM 2 Introduction modern production and marketing system for non-staples began to take shape in Shanghai; product variety gradually improved and prices stabilized. Zhu also worked hard on Shanghai’s urban infrastructure, with a focus on transportation. He pointed out that priority should be given to city planning, especially to transportation planning. To tackle a funding shortfall, he urged that hard choices be made to ensure that the limited funds available would be used for infrastructure construction. He obtained preferential loans from international agencies like the World Bank and from some developed countries , thereby making breakthroughs possible in the rebuilding of the Hong­ qiao Airport terminal, the expansion of programmable telephone capacity, the first phase in reconstruction of the Suzhou Creek wastewater treatment plant, Metro Line 1, and the Nanpu Bridge. Completion of Shanghai’s elevated roads also greatly improved city traffic. After starting work in Shanghai, Zhu perceived that one of the biggest issues in the lives of the city’s populace was the housing shortage. Despite an average per capita living area of only 6 square meters, the city’s needs could not possibly be met through city-financed housing construction alone. Therefore by extensive studying and borrowing from the experiences of places like Hong Kong and Singapore, Zhu proposed a formula whereby the state, enterprises, and individuals would work together to build housing in Shanghai. He was first in the country to establish a housing provident fund and to issue bonds for housing construction. During the drafting of the “Implementation Program for Reform of the Housing System in Shanghai,” he repeatedly drew on the advice of Chinese and foreign experts and presented the program to all the city’s residents for discussion . As a result, the draft was refined to the greatest possible extent and a consensus on this major reform was reached by all sectors of society. Zhu, who felt that the rebuilding of dilapidated urban areas had to discard the old approach of demolition and reconstruction in situ, also proposed an overall plan for the rebuilding of Shanghai’s old urban areas and shantytowns. This line of thinking was the basis for Shanghai’s reforms on commodity housing and for better government housing guarantees; it also provided valuable experience for national housing reforms. Deepening Industrial Reforms and Developing Shanghai’s Economy Faced with the lower production and declining performance of Shanghai’s...


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Subject Headings

  • Shanghai (China) -- Social policy.
  • Shanghai (China) -- Economic conditions -- 20th century.
  • Shanghai (China) -- Economic policy.
  • Zhu, Rongji, 1928-.
  • City planning -- China -- Shanghai.
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