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66 9 Do a Good Job of Supplying Non-Staple Foods in the Spirit of Reform and Truth-Seeking1 May 3, 1988 Iagree with Pei Xianbai’s2 speech and with the reform plan drawn up under his supervision and would like to draw attention to three details of significance for Shanghai’s food supply. 1. Non-Staple Foods Should Be a Breakthrough Point This year our city government should focus on improving the production and supply of non-staple foods. This is the unanimous view of the Municipal Party Committee, the municipal government, Jiang Zemin, and myself. Whether the city government will be able to do this job well depends on whether it can boost everyone’s morale. Raising morale is a key step to revitalizing Shanghai, as pointed out at this year’s sessions of both the Municipal People’s Congress and the People’s Political Consultative Conference. To tell the truth, we have no “capital” in this regard right now. We won’t see any short-term results in urban construction, transportation, or housing. Say what we may, it’s only non-staples that have much of a foundation and provide an opportunity for improvements within a short period. This affects thousands upon thousands of households, so if we handle non-staples well, we’ll be able to boost morale in Shanghai as its people will see that the city government is capable of getting some things done. Only then will it be easier to accomplish other things. Colleagues, we are now in very dire straits. Production has continued to decline all the way through April and fiscal revenues are still sliding. Local revenues fell by 16% in the first quarter and overall fiscal revenues fell by 8%. April saw no turnaround, so I hope we fight this coming battle well. Many citizens have written to me saying you spoke very well and now we await results with 1. Zhu Rongji made this speech at a work conference on producing non-staple foods in Shanghai. 2. From August 1988 until February 1992, Pei Xianbai was one of the conveners of the advisory group on the work of Shanghai’s municipal government. Zhu_Shanghai Years_1987-1991_hc_9780815731399_i-xii_1-620.indd 66 12/26/17 12:00 PM Do a Good Job of Supplying Non-Staple Foods in the Spirit of Reform and Truth-Seeking 67 bated breath. This is not a personal issue of mine; rather, it pertains to confidence in the Municipal Party Committee and the city government. If we are unable to show a couple of solid achievements, if people see no hope, and if morale doesn’t improve, we won’t be able to overcome our difficulties. That’s why once I came to Shanghai, I asked our veteran Pei Xianbai to help out. We are placing great hopes on this reform, and no matter what, we must be determined to do this job well. 2. Reform Requires Bravery We must also approach reform boldly and use it to get a firm grip over the entire non-staples system. Everything in Pei Xianbai’s speech was crafted in the spirit of reform. Why should the problem be framed this way? It’s not that Shanghai is doing such poor work with non-staples. Overall, things are not bad considering all the work done in the past, so we do have a foundation and are not that far behind Beijing and Tianjin. However, our people are still highly dissatisfied and hurling curses at us. The great difficulty in achieving product variety, ample supply, and reasonable prices in non-staple foods lies in the breadth of the system, which ranges all the way from producing to wholesaling and retailing. Unless we build a modernized system featuring economies of scale and high efficiency, we won’t be able to achieve this goal. That’s why in proposing the topic for this draft discussion paper, we didn’t intend to undertake a minor reform here and there, nor did we mean to merely dwell on production centers for non-staples. We have to work on the entire chain of production, supply, and marketing. Building production bases for non-staples will be relatively easy—Shanghai has the capacity for this. The hardest task will be to reform the entire chain—that’s where we have to do our work. We must rely on reforms to create a modernized production and management system for non-staples. Soon after I raised this issue in February...


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