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?
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.
Q: I noticed your reference to “big agriculture,” which refers to your industrial thinking. Could you please talk about it specifically?
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.”
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?
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.
Q: What are your thoughts on managing the economic environment?
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.