对闽东经济发展的思考——中共宁德地委书记习近平同志采访录
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Reflections on the Economic Development of Mindong——Interview with Comrade Xi Jinping, Secretary of the CCP Ningde Prefectural Committee

对闽东经济发展的思考——中共宁德地委书记习近平同志采访录

In this fascinating 1989 interview Xi Jinping gave on economic development during his tenure as Party Secretary of Ningde (in the interview referred to as Mindong), Xi argues that “whether the Party and government organs are kept clear or not is related to the survival of the Party,” the “support of people’s hearts,” and the “fate of the socialist economy.”


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Q: As far as I know, during the six months that you came to Mindong from Xiamen, you have been studying the lives of the people. You have a good understanding of the basic conditions of Mindong. I heard that you pay great attention to the word “rural.” Can you elaborate?

记者:据我所知,你从厦门来闽东任职的半年中,都沉在下面调查研究,你对闽东的基本区情已相当了解了,听说你很注重“农”字,能否谈谈?

XJP: The problem of economic construction in Mindong can be said to be largely the problem of farmers. Farmers account for the vast majority of the population, which is a basic situation. Agriculture is a feature and an advantage of Mindong. Of course, the agriculture we are talking about is not a small-scale peasant economy, but a large-scale agriculture in the sense of a commodity economy. In recent years, the economic strength of Mindong has been greatly improved, and the important performance is that agricultural production has continued to develop steadily, as domestic agriculture has developed from a single structure to a diversified one.

习近平:闽东的经济建设问题,可以说在很大程度上就是农民问题。农民占人口的绝大多数,这是基本区情。农业是闽东的一个特点,也是一个优势。当然,我们所说的农业,不是小农经济,而是商品经济意义上的大农业。这几年闽东的经济实力有较大的提高,其中重要的表现就是农业生产持续稳步地发展,农业内部从单一结构向多元化发展。

Q: I noticed your reference to “big agriculture,” which refers to your industrial thinking. Could you please talk about it specifically?

记者:我注意到你的“大农业”提法,其中包含了你的工业思想,能否请你具体谈谈?

XJP: The idea of large-scale agriculture is inseparable from the use of industries to promote agriculture. First of all, without a certain industrial base, there will be no certain financial strength, and further investment in agriculture will face problems. Secondly, the rational adjustment of the internal structure of agriculture and the formation of the agricultural and ancillary product consumption market all require industry as a catalyst. Of course, Mindong’s industry should also have its own way, that is, to properly handle the relationship between resource development and industry structure, with a focus on the processing and utilization of local resources. We must appropriately develop some industries that are required by the market, have considerable local production advantages, and utilize a large number of foreign raw materials. The future of Mindong’s industry lies in the establishment of a solid foundation for the supply of raw materials, rather than “cooking without rice.”

习近平:大农业的思路是离不开以工补农和以工促农的。首先,没有一定的工业基础,就没有一定的财政实力,农业的更多投入就成为一个问题。其次,农业内部结构的合理调整,农副产品消费市场的形成都需要工业作为催化剂。闽东的工业当然也应当有自己的路子,就是要处理好资源开发与行业结构的关系,着眼于本地资源的加工利用,发展产品适销对路、本地又有相当生产优势的工业。闽东工业的发展前途在于建立稳固的原料供应的基础,不能搞“无米之炊”。

Q: When it comes to the issue that industries in impoverished areas cannot “cook without rice,” I am reminded of the three hot topics of Mindong: the development of the Sandu’ao port, the construction of the Fuwen railway, and the construction of a central city. Would you mind sharing your thoughts on this?

记者:说到贫困地区工业不能搞无米之炊问题,使我联想到闽东的三大热门话题:开发三都澳港口、修建福温铁路和建设中心城市。请问,你对此有什么看法?

XJP: I think it is a good thing to have these three topics. It shows that the people of Mindong have improved their ability to understand nature. Of course, the transformation of nature also requires the maturity of objective conditions. The development and construction of ports, railways, and the like depend on the country’s macro decisions. The formation of central cities is also the result of long-term economic development. The financial revenue and expenditures in Mindong are unbalanced, and it will be difficult for us to carry out large-scale construction for a good while. It is necessary to let the outside world realize the meaning of these three things, but our foothold cannot rest upon this. Possibility and necessity are not the same as inevitability. Decisions concerning the overall situation of the regional development strategy must fully take into account national conditions, provincial conditions, and regional conditions. Development goals that are difficult to implement in the near future should not be advanced. The important thing is to do a good job in medium and short-term work.

习近平:我认为有这三个话题是件好事,表明闽东人民认识自然的能力有了提高。当然,改造自然还需要具备客观条件。像港口、铁路等的开发建设有赖于国家的宏观决策,中心城市的形成也是经济长期发展的结果。闽东财政收支不平衡,靠我们自己一时还难以进行大规模的建设。所谓“毛羽不丰满者,不可以高飞”。让外界认识这三件事的意义是必要的,但我们的立足点不能放在这上面。可能性和必要性不等于就是必然性。事关地区发展战略全局的决策,要充分考虑到国情、省情,区情,不要把近期内难以实施的发展目标超前化。当前重要的是抓好中、短期的工作。

Q: What are your thoughts on managing the economic environment?

记者:你对于治理经济环境有何想法?

XJP: Governing the economic environment actually provided Mindong with an opportunity. The spirit of the central government (rather than the emergency brake, as some people unilaterally understand it) is conducive to the development of productive forces in areas with relatively backward economies. Compared with speed and scale, Mindong would not be able to withstand it. The spirit of the central government enables Mindong to make use of its strengths and avoid weaknesses and to take advantage of the good opportunities for governance and rectification to promote the steady and coordinated development of productivity in our region. The agriculture, energy, transportation, communication, S&T, education, people’s daily necessities, and raw material industries that the central government proposes to protect are also the weak links in Mindong and also the aspects that Mindong must strengthen. By utilizing governance, rectification, and deepening reforms, we can either eliminate heat or transfer that heat. This then promotes the optimal combination of production factors and promotes the rational adjustment of the industrial structure.

习近平:治理经济环境实际上是给闽东提供了一次机遇。中央精神(而不是有的人所片面理解的急刹车)是有利于经济相对落后地区的生产力发展的。攀比速度、规模,闽东是承受不了的。中央精神使闽东能够扬长避短,利用治理、整顿的好机会,促使我区经济稳步协调地发展。中央提出要保的农业、能源、交通、通讯、科技、教育、人民生活必需品、原材料工业恰好是闽东的薄弱环节,也是闽东需要加强的方面。我们正好借治理、整顿的机会,促进生产要素的优化组合,促进产业结构的合理调整。

Q: You come from the open area of Xiamen. What experience do you think Xiamen can learn from the opening of a poor area like Mindong?

记者:你是从厦门开放地区来的,对于闽东这样一个贫困地区的开放,你认为厦门有什么经验可以借鉴?

XJP: The openness of a place is subject to the improvement of soft and hard environments. The practice of opening up in many places in recent years has proved that tax breaks are not all that attractive. Foreign businessmen not only want to save money but are rather more concerned about making more money and ask for things to be done well and neatly. What can make a big difference in Mindong is the construction of a soft environment, such as simplifying procedures, reducing costs, improving work efficiency, and improving service quality, which are all very attractive aspects. Ningde and Xiapu, which are included in the open counties, should become the pilot areas for the whole region to open up. I especially feel that it is important to have an open mind. We also need to avoid the Matthew Effect of opening up. Open areas will become more open, and closed areas will become more closed. Opening up requires certain conditions, and poor areas lack those conditions.

习近平:一个地方的开放程度,受制于软、硬环境的完善。这几年不少地方的开放实践证明,减免税不是那么吸引人,外商不仅要省钱,更关心的是赚更多的钱,要求事好办、办得利索。闽东地区可以大有作为的是软环境的建设,比如简化手续、降低费用、提高办事效率、改善服务质量,就是很有吸引力的。列入开放县的宁德、霞浦应当成为全区开放的试验区。我特别感受到,有一个开放的观念是重要的。同时,我们还要避免开放上的“马太效应”,弄得不好,开放的地区会越开放,不开放的地区会越不开放,因为开放是要有条件的,而贫困地区就是缺乏条件。所以,要防止“马太效应”,就得努力改善贫困地区的条件。贫困地区的软环境建设,将为贫困地区的开放创造条件,对于软环境建设的紧迫性,较之其他地区,贫困地区的干部群众肯定感受更为深切,肯定会在这方面狠下功夫,从而积累出建设软环境的经验。因为这几乎是贫困地区在创造开放条件方面的唯一出路,也是贫困地区在开放态势下免于落伍的有力保证。我们当然要阻止“马太效应”出现在贫困地区。

Q: Economic development requires clean politics. Clean politics is specific to one place and one department; that is, the clean governance from Party and government cadres. How do you feel about this?

记者:经济的发展需要一个廉洁的政治,廉洁的政治具体到一个地方、一个部门,就是党政干部的廉政问题,对此你有什么感想?

XJP: Whether the Party and government organs are kept clean or not is related to the survival of the Party and the support of people’s hearts, and of course, it will affect the fate of the socialist economy. Nowadays, the masses loudly proclaim four demands, and I believe they can be used as a wake-up call. The first saying is “if it does not belong to me, I will have nothing of it, not even the smallest bit.” I feel that this is a minimum requirement for a Party member and cadre. The second saying is that “one cannot have both the fish and the bear paw.” You cannot both wish to be an official and also hope to get rich. If you wish to be a cadre, you cannot wish to become rich. If you wish to become rich, go into business and start an enterprise. The third saying is that “so long as one’s heart is pure, all things will become clear.” Corruption, bribery, and wanton bullying of the people are not permissible under the statutes of Party discipline and state law. The fourth saying is “government officials should bring benefit to the people in their jurisdiction.” The purpose of being a cadre is to give, and the “copying” doctrine is unacceptable. Officials must not seek benefits or personal gain.

习近平:党政机关是否保持廉洁,关系到党的存亡和人心的向背,也关系到社会主义经济的命运。现在群众对廉政建设呼声很高。有四句话,我想可以作为警钟长鸣。第一句话,“苟非吾之所有,虽一毫而莫取”,我想这是作为党员干部的起码要求;第二句话,“熊掌和鱼,不可兼得”,不要既想当官,又想发财,要当干部就不要想发财,这一条恐怕是古今中外概莫能外。美国总统的收入远不如许多大实业家、大企业家,富裕的工人、农民、个体劳动者的收入也肯定比我们各级官员要高。有所追求,必有所丧失。第三句话,“寸心不昧,万法皆明”,贪污受贿,鱼肉乡民,这是党纪国法所不容的;第四句话,“为官一场,造福一方”,当干部的宗旨就是奉献,利益问题上,“拿来主义”要不得,不能图实惠,谋私利。

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习近平 (Xi Jinping) (2022). "Reflections on the Economic Development of Mindong——Interview with Comrade Xi Jinping, Secretary of the CCP Ningde Prefectural Committee [对闽东经济发展的思考——中共宁德地委书记习近平同志采访录]". Interpret: China, Original work published March 2, 1989, https://interpret.csis.org/translations/reflections-on-the-economic-development-of-mindong-interview-with-comrade-xi-jinping-secretary-of-the-ccp-ningde-prefectural-committee/

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