restricted access Foreword Henry A. Kissinger
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xi Foreword Henry A. Kissinger It is commonplace to refer to China’s enormous strides of the past decades as an “economic miracle.” Yet in essence a miracle is an event beyond human performance or comprehension. China’s reform and development was a policy course adopted by top officials and carried out through the efforts and vitality of the Chinese people. Even if the feats this course involved could not easily be duplicated, they can be studied and mined for practical lessons within China and beyond. With Zhu Rongji on the Record, China’s former Premier Zhu Rongji has made a valuable contribution to this process. He has collected dozens of speeches, dialogues , and internal memoranda reflecting his engagement with the major economic , political, and social issues of his era. They cover a period when China, under the leadership of President Jiang Zemin and with Zhu as Vice Premier and subsequently Premier, overhauled its financial system, tamed escalating inflation, concluded arduous negotiations on its entry into the World Trade Organization, lifted tens of millions out of poverty, launched an ambitious development program for its western regions, joined the ranks of the world’s largest economies, and made a successful bid for the 2008 Olympics. By any standard, it was a period of momentous change. It was particularly noteworthy for witnessing the construction of a new set of links between China and the international system—in trade, financial markets, science and education , diplomacy, and many other fields. In its depth and breadth, this integration of China into international architecture had no precedent in previous eras of Chinese history. What Jiang, Zhu, and their colleagues oversaw reflected their considered judgment about China’s interests and necessities. The implications were global. The elaboration of the links they fostered will form an essential, perhaps decisive, component of 21st-century world order. Given this record of extraordinary achievement, one might expect to find in these pages a record of triumphs and exultation. What Zhu provides is something more complex, more sober, and ultimately bolder. He has been as direct in his editorial selections as he was in his leadership style in office and has not shied away from difficult or sensitive issues. The challenges of balancing growth with xii Foreword by Henry A. Kissinger environmental preservation; the pitfalls of domestic and international financial instability; the daunting endeavor of reforming China’s stock exchanges, labor regulations, infrastructure programs, and grain and natural-resources markets; the urgent task of uprooting malfeasance and preventing financial abuses; the complexities of encouraging growth while ensuring quality and consistency— readers will find forthright discussions of all of these issues in Zhu’s book. The picture that emerges is one of the immensity of the task of governing China and addressing its contemporary challenges—and of the boldness and creativity of the generation charged with turning Deng Xiaoping’s reform-and-opening-up concept into a reality. For scholars outside of China, the publication of this book stands as a significant contribution to the historical record. On major debates over China’s reform path, which English-speaking readers once knew of only in general terms, Zhu sheds considerable historical light. He publishes here his written instructions to colleagues and transcripts of his internal remarks on policy issues. These include Zhu’s watershed March 1992 analysis of Deng Xiaoping’s “Southern Tour” talks, in which Zhu stressed—at a crucial period in China’s internal debate—the imperative of bold but sustainable growth. This candid discussion earned a crucial endorsement from Jiang Zemin, who ordered it distributed to cadres nationwide, and it became the basis for many of Zhu’s subsequent efforts. Scholars will have a chance to study too the conclusions Zhu drew from the 1997 Asian financial crisis, and the lessons he distilled for China’s policy course. Zhu Rongji on the Record also functions as a case study in practical statecraft . Because China’s reform program was so sweeping, and the projects being implemented were of such scale and complexity, Zhu had occasion to reflect on almost every aspect of modern economic management and social development. The problems addressed in this book range across industries—railways, coal, finance, automobile manufacturing, real estate—and their relevance reaches well beyond China. Economists, business strategists, and policymakers will all find in these pages thought-provoking examples of how a penetrating mind grappled with one of the most significant reform programs in modern history. They will appreciate the creativity of his proposals, the scope...