Deng Xiaoping

Remarks During An Inspection Tour of Tianjin


Published: August 19-21, 1986
Translated by: Unknown
Source: Deng Xiaoping Works
Transcription for MIA: Joonas Laine


During this visit to Tianjin, I should like to see your development district and have a look around the city. I’d like to see the harbour as well.

We must continue to open to the outside world. Otherwise, we shall not be able to invigorate the economy. We must never close our doors. The Development District here is very good, indeed. Since it has earned a high reputation and improved the environment for investment, foreign investors should feel confident.

You have so much wasteland between the harbour and the city proper. This is a major advantage. It seems to me that you have great potentialities. You should be more daring and work for faster development. Since some of your infrastructure here is better than that in Shanghai, you can probably do certain things more easily.

I have heard that you are ready to borrow US$10 billion from other countries. Do you have any source of loans in mind? You can contact more countries. If other people are not afraid to lend money to us, why should we be afraid to borrow it? I am not afraid of borrowing. What danger is there if one or two places borrow $10 billion over a period of ten years and make effective use of the money? There will be no trouble even if it is $20 billion!

You should study ways of channeling investment into the proper areas. The Japanese say that modernization should start with transport and telecommunications. That sounds quite sensible to me. We used to begrudge money for projects in those areas.

Since the power to administer Tianjin harbour was delegated to the local authorities two years ago, its economic efficiency has greatly improved. The people haven’t changed, and neither has the land. But the reform has brought increased efficiency. This is only because the local authorities have been given power, especially the power to hire and fire personnel.

The Zhonghuanxian Road has been built so quickly! Is it because you had a contract signed for the project? Yes, you should go on with the reform and the contract system, including contracts for whole projects, for different parts of a project and for different levels of management. You should practise the responsibility system. The designer of the Zhongshanmen cloverleaf flyover did a good job. He deserves to be promoted to the rank of engineer, as an exception. Nobody should object to that. This kind of promotion is also a reform.

We attach importance not only to reform and to modern science and technology but also to politics. This makes us much stronger. We have to lay great stress on politics at all times. This is a point many foreigners don’t seem to understand. From time to time you encourage volunteer labour — that too is politics.

I have consistently maintained that some people and some regions should be allowed to prosper before others, always with the goal of common prosperity. If a few regions develop a little faster, they will spur the others to catch up. This is a shortcut we can take to speed up development and attain common prosperity.

It is right to place young cadres in the forefront of the modernization drive, giving them heavier responsibilities. They shouldn’t simply lean on others. When you promote them after they have gained experience this way, other people will be convinced that it was the right thing to do.

When you have built more apartment houses, the people will have a better environment. When they see the changes, they will be filled with joy and confidence, and that will make it easier for you to get things done.

(Made to leading officials of Tianjin after hearing reports on conditions in the municipality. When Comrade Deng Xiaoping visited the Tianjin Economic and Technological Development District, he wrote a message: “The development district is very promising.”)