Deng Xiaoping

Carry Out the Policy of Opening to the Outside World and Learn Advanced Science and Technology From Other Countries


Spoken: October 10, 1978
Translated by: Unknown
Source: Deng Xiaoping Works
Transcription for MIA: Joonas Laine


China made contributions to the world down through the ages, but for a long time conditions have been at a standstill in China and development has been slow. Now it is time for us to learn from the advanced countries.

For a certain period of time, learning advanced science and technology from the developed countries was criticized as “blindly worshiping foreign things”. We have come to understand how stupid this argument is. Therefore, we have sent many people abroad to familiarize themselves with the outside world. China cannot develop by closing its door, sticking to the beaten track and being self-complacent.

Due to the interference of Lin Biao and the Gang of Four, China’s development was held up for ten years. In the early 1960s, we were behind the developed countries in science and technology, but the gap was not so wide. However, over the past dozen years, the gap has widened because the world has been developing with tremendous speed. Compared with developed countries, China’s economy has fallen behind at least ten years, perhaps 20, 30, or even 50 years in some areas. What will the world be like in 22 years at the end of the century? What will those developed countries, including your country, be like after 22 years of further development based on the development of the 1970s? It will be quite difficult for us to realize the four modernizations so that we can reach your current level of development by the end of this century, let alone catch up with your country at that time. Therefore, to achieve the four modernizations, we must be adept at learning from other countries and we must obtain a great deal of foreign assistance. As a starting point in our development, we should introduce advanced technology and equipment from the rest of the world.

You ask us whether it runs counter to our past traditions to implement the policy of opening to the outside world. Our approach is to define new policies according to new circumstances, while retaining our best traditions. We must stick to that which has proven to be effective, and in particular, to our basic systems, that is, the socialist system and socialist public ownership, and we must never waver in doing so. We shall not allow a new bourgeoisie to come into being. We will introduce advanced technology for the purpose of expanding our productive forces and improving the people’s living standards. This will benefit our socialist country and our socialist system. It is even closer to following our socialist system to find ways to achieve greater, better, faster, and more economical results in development than not to do so.

(Excerpt from a talk with a press delegation from the Federal Republic of Germany. )