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81 12 Play to Our Strengths in Science and Technology, and Fight the Good Fight for Key Industrial Projects1 May 11, 1988 While visiting Shanghai last December, central government leaders repeatedly emphasized that Shanghai’s path to large-scale importing and exporting lay in integrating sci-tech with production and playing to Shanghai’s strengths in science and technology. This is a very challenging task, and how to accomplish it is indeed a tough problem. If Shanghai doesn’t use its strengths in sci-tech, it will have no way out of its doldrums. 1. Focus on Achieving Breakthroughs through Our Sci-Tech Strengths We don’t have many natural resources or raw materials, so if we don’t use our strengths in science and technology, if we don’t integrate these with production , if we don’t fight our way into the international markets, and if we don’t attract large amounts of foreign investment, we won’t be able to turn our difficult situation around. The bit of money from the central government will soon have been spent, and our finances will continue to go downhill. At a certain point, the populace’s dissatisfaction with us will explode. That’s why integrating sci-tech with production is such an important tool for resolving our problems, and that’s how we’ll use Shanghai’s strengths. We may not have raw materials, but we have an edge in science and technology—other places are no match for Shanghai in this regard. 1. Zhu Rongji gave this speech at a Shanghai conference on integrating sci-tech with production to make breakthroughs. In 1988 the Shanghai Municipal Party Committee and municipal government conducted research on playing to Shanghai’s strengths in sci-tech and comprehensively implementing Shanghai’s economic development strategy. On the basis of views solicited from over 300 experts, scholars, and frontline workers, they decided on 14 projects that could earn forex through exports or import substitution, and that would promote technical advances in related industries. These were to become decisive industrial efforts for the entire city, efforts to make end-to-end breakthroughs, from conducting research and development, indigenizing technologies, and remaking technologies to batch production. Zhu_Shanghai Years_1987-1991_hc_9780815731399_i-xii_1-620.indd 81 12/26/17 12:00 PM 82 Play to Our Strengths in Science and Technology Currently, there’s no method in place for Shanghai to use its strengths to accomplish the tasks the Party Central Committee and the State Council have assigned to it. After much consideration, it seems that we should try to make breakthroughs in a few selected major projects. Some might say that trying for breakthroughs is an old strategy—it won’t work. I, too, wanted to rely on collective wisdom and hear new ideas, but I’ve been listening for two months now, and after all that, it still comes down to trying for breakthroughs. Some old methods just can’t be relinquished. For example, given China’s current circumstances, we can’t forgo administrative intervention. If we did, nobody would be in charge and work wouldn’t be done properly. That’s the case even in foreign countries. If we were to rely entirely on economic benefits, on raising prices and paying bonuses, the effects would ultimately be limited and chaos would ensue. We can’t abandon old methods, yet we must also consider new ones. We should make use of economic measures, follow the laws of value, and use economic means to bring together the energies of all sectors. Our methods are still being refined, but once a decision has been made we must act resolutely without wavering. We must have the confidence to stay on this path. Economic measures plus administrative intervention—this is a new path. 2. Select the Major Projects for Breakthroughs The crucial first step is to identify breakthrough projects and then to assemble the necessary talent. The key is to boost morale and attract talent. We must recognize that there is hope for Shanghai and once we truly get started, we can work very quickly. Even in the 1950s, Hong Kong was more backward than Shanghai and didn’t really start developing until recently. Bo Yibo2 recently signed off on a document expressing the hope that Shanghai would make significant progress within 10 years. Although that’s a very high expectation, we must have this level of confidence. The 12 key projects we have settled upon include indigenization of raw materials and a...


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