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125 19 Three Expectations of All City Officials at the Bureau Level and Above1 June 28, 1988 Ihope that all city officials at the bureau level and above can be reformers who are liberated in their thinking, have the courage to take action, and dare to take risks. Jiang Zemin spoke about this issue at a symposium on theoretical work this March. In analyzing the current state of thought among Shanghai officials, he called on us to overcome these mindsets: (1) an attitude of superiority , (2) gripes about and a fear of difficulties, and (3) a stubborn complacency. He also discussed how to truly shift our thinking onto an appropriate track for a socialist commodity economy and for an externally oriented economy based on a policy of fiscal contracting. I think this is a question that is well worth examining. We Must Unshackle Our Minds Because of long-standing constraints on our thinking and our institutions, our ideas really haven’t kept pace with current developments, as reflected in a very thought-provoking article2 I recently read that compares people’s awareness of a commodity economy in Guangdong and Shanghai. If we don’t address the problems in our thinking, if we don’t unshackle our minds and just continue in our old ways while society and the economy are changing so drastically, it will be hard to maintain Shanghai’s status, and we might use up in a year the little bit of help that the central government had given us. Then by next year we’ll be poor again and our revenues will resume their decline. That’s why we must cultivate the reform mindset. 1. This is part of a speech made by Zhu Rongji at the start of a study class on the current situation organized by the Municipal Party Committee for officials of bureau level and above. 2. This refers to the article “A Comparative Analysis of Concepts of a Commodity Economy in Shanghai and Guangdong” written by Wang Dawu of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences . It was published in Social Science News on May 5, 1988, and subsequently in People’s Daily on June 5, 1988. Zhu_Shanghai Years_1987-1991_hc_9780815731399_i-xii_1-620.indd 125 12/26/17 12:00 PM 126 Three Expectations of All City Officials at the Bureau Level and Above Currently, my greatest headache is this: whenever we propose doing anything , some will say, “This has never been done in such a way in Shanghai before. Let me tell you something about Shanghai’s history!” Then I respond, “I’m willing to hear about the background, but what we need now is change and reform.” I’m not saying that everything that wasn’t possible in the past still isn’t possible now, nor that we must change everything, but surely you shouldn’t be put off and resist as soon as you hear that something is going to be done somewhat differently than in the past. If your approach can halt the slide in revenues, then I’ll adopt your approach. The problem now is that we are unable to stop the slide in revenues, so we have to think of ways to change. That’s why it would be very worthwhile for us to further study and analyze this problem and see how we can catch up. Of course we must proceed from realities when unshackling our minds— the advanced experiences of this or that province can only provide limited lessons , showing us how to do certain things but not others. We can learn from township and village enterprises, but there are also some things we might not be able to learn from them. To truly inject vitality into Shanghai’s large and medium enterprises, we must do so via their management, product quality, and genuine skills. We absolutely must not create chaos in the behavior of our large and medium enterprises. If we were to do so, the impact on China would be greater than if it were to happen in any other province. We can’t do that—we still must rely on improving enterprise management. Open recruiting must be used at every level from the factory director on down to branch factories, workshops, and work teams so that capable people can stand out from the crowd and demonstrate their abilities. If we are adept at changing people’s thinking and motivate all the workers, we might even be able to have shareholding systems. This would align...


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