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514 89 Thoughts from a Visit to Hong Kong and Singapore1 July 4, 1990 Itraveled to Hong King and Singapore from June 8 to 20 together with [Wang] Daohan,2 [Li] Chuwen,3 and some department leaders, and would now like to share with you some thoughts arising from this visit. Changes We Must Make If we are to adapt to the new reforms and opening up, we will have to further liberate our thinking, change our manner of working, undertake structural reforms, and increase our efficiency. In Hong Kong and Singapore, but particularly in Hong Kong, many people were highly critical of Shanghai’s conservative ideas, procrastination in getting work done, and failure to reach business deals. I recently made a point of asking Shanghai’s newspapers to take note of comments on our shortcomings from outside China, particularly those from Hong Kong, which has relatively close contacts with us. I asked them to boldly publish these in our own newspapers and not to be afraid. I’m not saying they should print malicious attacks, but they should print any well-intentioned critical comments, even if they’re sarcastic or mocking. These will alert us to problems so that we can discover the causes and correct them. The papers have started doing this, but not often enough. Not all comments about Shanghai from foreigners are critical—it’s all right to also print comments that praise us, but it isn’t necessary for these to be the majority. After all, the purpose of printing criticisms is to reveal shortcomings so that they can be corrected. We do many things that really do make people rather angry—such things should be exposed; otherwise Shanghai won’t be able to become a cosmopolitan city. 1. This is the main part of Zhu Rongji’s speech at a conference of Party member cadres from Shanghai. 2. See chapter 11, note 2. 3. Li Chuwen was then an adviser to the Shanghai municipal government on foreign affairs and helped organize the city government’s Advisory Group on Urban Administration. Zhu_Shanghai Years_1987-1991_hc_9780815731399_i-xii_1-620.indd 514 12/26/17 12:01 PM Thoughts from a Visit to Hong Kong and Singapore 515 We’ve also been strongly criticized by other provinces and municipalities, as Huang Ju discovered on a recent study tour of Guangdong and Fujian. Many have said, if you people in Shanghai keep thinking so conservatively, you won’t do well no matter how many preferential policies the central government gives you. If you keep putting on such airs and keep thinking you’re so superior, you won’t succeed at anything. The mayor of a certain city in Fujian said, “Your ‘one chop’ for foreigners is fake. What do you mean, ‘one chop’? There are still so many chops passing the buck to each other.” We must be highly alert to such things—without a highly efficient government and without a highly efficient team, Shanghai’s opening up can’t be handled well. The central government’s announcement of Pudong’s development and opening up was a strategic decision that indeed electrified people both in China and abroad. Overall, the many comments from other countries suggested this would be highly beneficial for China’s economic development. At the same time, Pudong’s development has stimulated many other provinces and municipalities, and their pace of opening up has been much faster than that of Shanghai. But because Shanghai does everything by the book, and in the end all it does is what the central government tells it to do, I’m now very worried about this. I don’t mean that we don’t have to play by the rules and that we can do as we please. Rather, the way we’re doing things now amounts to loud talk about developing Pudong but no action; everyone else has moved on, but we’re still standing in the same place—this may well be the outcome, and it definitely deserves our attention. Many problems cannot be resolved through preferential policies alone— solutions depend on our ability to work efficiently. In that sense, each of us embodies an investment environment. In Hong Kong, I quoted the expression, “He who deals in huge sums does not quibble over pennies.” You’re doing big deals, so don’t count pennies. If you keep your eye on the future and on future economic benefits, you’ll ultimately make a lot of money. Importance of Focusing...


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