习近平谈领导
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Xi Jinping Discusses Leadership

习近平谈领导

In this 1993 interview with Xi Jinping, then serving as Secretary of the Fuzhou Municipal Party Committee, he argues that a leader capable of leading China to modernization and prosperity should be “courageous and knowledgeable,” adhere to “firm beliefs,” be in touch with the “will of the masses,” and hold a “profound understanding of the…policies of the central and provincial party committees.”


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The key to implementing the spirit of the Party’s 14th National Congress, accelerating economic construction, and deepening reform and opening up lies in leadership. As for how to excel in leadership in the new situation, leading cadres at the grass-roots level have raised many questions. Recently, we brought these questions before Comrade Xi Jinping, Secretary of the Fuzhou Municipal Party Committee.

贯彻党的“十四大”精神,加速经济建设和深化改革开放,关键在于领导。在新的形势下如何做好领导工作,基层领导干部提出了许多问题。近期我们带着这些问题就教于福州市委书记习近平同志。

Question: In your opinion, what new leadership concepts should be established in a socialist market economic system? What old leadership concepts and methods should be changed?

问:您认为在建立社会主义市场经济体制中主要应树立那些新的领导观念?主要应该改变哪些旧的领导观念和领导方式?

A: To excel in the grand socialist market economy, for leading cadres at all levels, it is not only necessary to deeply understand the great significance of developing a socialist market economy, but also to reform ideas, earnestly grasp the operating laws and requirements of the socialist market economy, deeply understand and familiarize oneself with the market, and constantly enhance market awareness. This specifically includes establishing the concept of market-oriented decision-making, daring to be the first in the world, daring to break past old rules and regulations, and daring to tear down barriers. We must establish the concept of talent-based competition, boldly select, actively cultivate, and strive to introduce all kinds of talents who have both ability and political integrity and who have the courage and knowledge to adapt to the needs of market economic development. We must also establish and strengthen new leadership concepts, break through the shackles of backward traditional concepts and subjective prejudices, and change old leadership concepts and styles of leadership. This mainly means breaking past the misconception that the development of the commodity economy and the market economy be regarded as “deviant” and thereby further emancipating minds.

答:要做好社会主义市场经济这篇大文章,对各级领导干部来说,不仅要深刻领会发展社会主义市场经济的重大意义,尤其要变革观念,认真把握社会主义市场经济的运行规律和要求,深入地了解市场、熟悉市场,不断增强市场意识。这又具体包括:要树立以市场为导向的决策观念,敢为天下先,敢于打破旧的条条框框,勇于拆除栅栏壁垒。要树立以人才为基础的竞争观念,大胆选拔、积极培养、努力引进德才兼备,有胆有识的适应市场经济发展需求的各类人才。还要树立和强化新的领导观念,冲破落后的传统观念和主观偏见的束缚,改变旧的领导观念和领导方式,这主要是指:要打破把发展商品经济、市场经济视为“离经叛道”的错误观念,进一步解放思想。

In terms of leadership, it is necessary to break through administrative monopolies, decentralize power to the market and enterprises, abandon “power interception,” and “release the waters to attract more fish,” which is the primary task of establishing a market economic system. To this end, our leaders must liberate themselves from the old executive orders and the awareness of superiors, let enterprises “play the leading role” in the market economy, focus government functions on macro-control, formulate market economic rules, promote fair competition, solve problems for enterprises, and guide the healthy development of the economy.

在领导方式上要打破行政垄断,向市场放权、向企业放权,不搞“权力截流”,实行“放水养鱼”,这是建立市场经济体制的首要任务。为此,我们领导要从旧有的行政命令和长官意志中解放出来,让企业在市场经济中“唱主角”,把政府职能的重点放在宏观调控上,通过制定市场经济规则,推动公平竞争,为企业排忧解难,引导经济健康发展。

Q: What should be the most important qualities of a leader in this new situation?

问:在新形势下领导者最重要的素质应是什么?

A: I think that under the new situation of reform and opening up, in addition to requiring leaders to have the basic qualities of emancipating their minds and seeking truth from facts, the most important thing is to be creative. Only creative leaders can excel at leading reforms, promoting reforms, and making work dynamic, vigorous, enterprising, and effective.

答:我觉得,在改革开放的新形势下,除了要求领导者要有解放思想,实事求是的基本素质以外,最重要的是必须具备创造性。具有创造性的领导者,才能善于领导改革,推动改革,把工作搞得生气勃勃,有声有色,既有进取,又有成效。

To be creative, we must first establish firm beliefs. If a leader is bewildered by the temporary low tide of the international communist movement and loses confidence in building a strong socialist country with Chinese characteristics with pessimism and disappointment, what kind of creativity is there? Second, you must be courageous and knowledgeable. In the tide of reform and opening up, a leader must be filled with the spirit of “breakthrough,” must dare to experiment, dare to break through boldly, and dare to blaze new paths and begin new careers. This is manifested in work that is instilled with a strong sense of progress and leaders that excel at grasping opportunities, possess unique insights, and have the sensitivity to understand the situation and predict prospects. It is manifested in leaders that dare to think and do the work, grasp it accurately, securely, and practically, and are able to achieve outstanding work performance on this difficult and tortuous road. Third, we must master the “two ends.” The first is orders from above. Leaders must have a profound understanding of the guidelines, lines, and policies of the central and provincial party committees. The second is the lay of the land. Leaders must accurately understand the actual situation of the region, the local government, and the will of the masses. Only by organically combining the two can we work creatively in practice.

发挥创造性首先要树立坚定的信念。一个领导者如被国际共运的暂时低潮现象所迷惑,对建设有中国特色的社会主义强国失去信心,悲观失望,那还谈得上什么创造性?其次,必须有胆有识。在改革开放大潮中,富有“闯”的精神,敢于试验,敢于大胆地闯,敢于走出一条新路,干出新的事业。表现在工作中就是超前意识强,善于把握机遇,有独到的见解,有洞察形势、预测前景的敏感性;对工作敢想敢干,抓得准、紧、实,能够在艰难曲折的道路上取得卓越的工作实绩。第三,要吃透“两头”,一是上情,深刻领会中央和省委的方针、路线和政策;二是下情,准确了解本地区、本部门的实际情况和群众的意愿,只有把这二者有机地结合起来,才能在实践中创造性地开展工作。

Q: In accelerating reform, opening up, and modernization, what is the most important aspect of making good leadership decisions?

问:在加速改革开放和现代化建设中,做好领导决策的最重要的方面是什么?

A: To make leadership decisions, first of all, we must adhere to the scientific nature of decision-making, act in accordance with the objective laws of social and economic development, be truth-seeking and pragmatic, and proceed from reality. This is the most important aspect of current leadership decision-making. In the process of reform, opening up, and modernization, due to the different conditions in different places, development has not been balanced. This requires us to proceed from local realities, to adhere to a positive and realistic attitude, and to constantly grasp the changing economic development conditions and trends. We must seize every opportunity to promote and advance the extraordinary and high-speed development of the economy.

答:做好领导决策首先要坚持决策的科学性,按照社会经济发展的客观规律办事,做到求真务实,一切从实际出发,这是当前领导决策的最重要的一个方面。在改革开放和现代化建设中,由于各地条件不同,发展也不平衡,这就要求我们必须从当地的实际出发,坚持积极而实事求是的态度,不断把握变化的经济发展状况和趋势,在稳步发展的前提下,抓住一切机遇,推动和促进经济超常规、高速度地发展。

Second, we must adhere to the democratic nature of decision-making. The essence of socialist leadership is to seek the interests of the broad masses of the people. Therefore, leaders must always take the idea of seeking benefits for the people and keeping in close contact with the masses as the fundamental ideology of decision-making. This requires us to implement broad democracy in decision-making, to adhere to the ideological line of coming from the masses and going to the masses, to listen carefully to the opinions of the masses, and to excel at concentrating the wisdom of the masses. During the years I worked in Fuzhou, I gradually formed a set of effective working methods: The first was to carry out large-scale city-wide work methodology research activities for three consecutive years, allowing cadres and the masses to review the implementation of various work and practical affairs of the municipal party committee and government in the previous year and to put forward work suggestions for the new year. The second was to carry out on-site office meeting activities at the grassroots level to keep abreast of the real situation of the counties (cities), districts, and departments and to help resolve practical problems in a timely manner at the grassroots level. The third was to carry out the activities of leading cadres to jointly visit the masses. The leaders gained direct face-to-face, heart-to-heart experiences with the masses to exchange ideas, listen to the voices of the masses, understand the sufferings of the masses, and resolve the problems of the masses in a timely manner.

其次要坚持决策的民主性。社会主义领导的本质就是为广大人民群众谋利益。因此,领导者要始终把为人民群众谋利益、密切联系群众的思想观点作为决策的根本思想。这就要求我们在决策时必须实行广泛的民主,坚持从群众中来,到群众中去的思想路线,认真倾听群众的意见,善于集中群众的智慧。我到福州工作的这几年,逐渐形成了一套行之有效的工作方法:一是连续三年在全市范围开展大规模的工作思路调研活动,让干部群众评议上一年市委、市政府各项工作和办实事的落实情况,提出新的一年工作建议;二是下基层开展现场办公会活动,及时了解各县(市)区、各部门的真情实况,及时帮助基层解决实际问题;三是开展领导干部联合接访群众的活动,领导与群众直接面对面交心、谈心,沟通思想,倾听群众的呼声,了解群众的疾苦,及时为群众排忧解难。

Q: In the current situation where there is much work to be done, what should be the most important work for leaders?

问:在当前百业待举的局面下,领导者要抓的最主要的工作应是什么?

A: The tasks before us are indeed burdensome and arduous. In this case, I believe that leaders must be good at seeing the big picture. Rather than trying to attend to big and small matters as one who grasps the eyebrows and the beard all at once, in order to think about, plan, and seize big things, a leader’s main energy must be devoted to the overall, directional, and key issues. In recent years, our municipal party committee has paid more attention to getting rid of the entanglement of affairs, focusing on the overall situation, concentrating on and doing a good job of some major events that can affect and drive the overall situation, thereby winning the initiative in our work. For example, in this past period, we organized a special team to study and formulate the Strategic Vision for Fuzhou City’s 20-Year Economic and Social Development. The strategic goals, priorities, and measures for the future development of our city were put forward, formulating a programmatic document to guide the city’s work. Under the strategic guidance of the city’s economic and social development, the key to developing an export-oriented economy is to do a good job in attracting investment, play our “cards” and “billiards,” and continuously expand the scale and field of foreign capital utilization. Adjust the economic structure, mainly to optimize primary industries, adjust secondary industries, vigorously develop tertiary industries, and promote the rapid and healthy development of the national economy. In urban construction, we must focus on the renovation of old cities and create a good social environment for reform and opening up. Because of clear goals and a prominent focus, positive factors were effectively mobilized in all aspects, forming an absolute advantage in solving problems as a whole.

答:摆在我们面前的工作任务确实繁重而艰巨,在这种情况下,我认为领导者要善于总揽全局,不能胡子眉毛一把抓,要想大事、谋大事、抓大事,把领导的主要精力倾注到事关全局性、方向性、关键性的问题上来。这几年我们市委在着眼全局方面,比较注意摆脱事务纠缠,潜心考虑和抓好一些能影响和带动全局的大事,争得了工作的主动权。比如前一段我们组织专门班子研究制定了《福州市20年经济社会发展战略设想》,提出了今后我市发展的战略目标、战略重点和战略措施,使之成为指导全市工作的纲领性文件。在全市经济社会发展的战略指导下,发展外向型经济的关键是抓好招商工作,打好“侨牌”和“台球”,不断扩大利用外资的规模和领域,调整经济结构,主要是优化第一产业,调整第二产业,大力发展第三产业,促进国民经济快速、健康发展;在城市建设上,重点搞好旧城改造工作,为改革开放创造良好的社会环境,等等。由于目标明确,重点突出,有力调动了各方面的积极因素,形成整体上解决问题的绝对优势。

Q: Fuzhou has made remarkable achievements in the renovation of the old city. What has been the overall experience in terms of leadership?

问:福州市旧城改造成绩显著,从领导方面来说有什么主要经验?

A: Since the reform and opening up, especially in recent years, Fuzhou has carried out multi-channel, multi-form, and multi-level renovation of the old city, already renovating more than half of the area. This has greatly improved the urban investment environment and the living conditions of citizens, both of which are remarkable results. From the perspective of leadership decision-making, the key has been to seize the great opportunity of reform and opening up to give full play to the role of Fuzhou as a capital city, a central city, and a historical and cultural city, using the geographical advantage of being close to Hong Kong and Taiwan to emancipate the mind. This boldly and decisively combines the urgent desire of the general public to improve our living environment with the requirements of the times to transform, build, and beautify the city, so that they complement each other and achieve the best of both worlds. Specifically, there are the following four aspects. The first is to strengthen leadership and unify planning. The renovation of the old city should be listed as an important task in economic construction, and we should work closely with one another to strengthen the organization, planning, policies, and management so that the renovation of the old city can develop in a comprehensive, complete, and healthy way. The second is to emancipate the mind and actively explore. We must boldly innovate, dare to venture, dare to take risks, dare to try, and take an unconventional and leaping development path so that the transformation of the old city will continue to develop in depth and breadth. The third is to introduce foreign capital to advance and formulate preferential policies to encourage foreign businessmen to participate in the renovation of the old city. Currently, our foreign participation rate is over 50%. The fourth is to believe in the masses and rely on the masses, firmly establish a sense of responsibility and mission for the benefit of the people, follow the path of the masses, consider and take care of the legitimate interests of the masses, and gain the care, understanding, support, and participation of the masses, so that the renovation of the old city can proceed smoothly.

答:改革开放以来,特别是近几年,福州市多渠道、多形式、多层次地开展旧城改造,改造面达一半以上,较大地改善了城市投资环境和市民生活居住条件,取得明显成效。从领导决策方面来说,主要是把握住改革开放大好时机,充分发挥福州市省会城市、中心城市、历史文化名城的作用,以及接近港台的地理优势,解放思想,大胆果断地把广大市民迫切要求改善生活环境的愿望和改造城市、建设城市、美化城市的时代要求紧密地结合起来,使之相得益彰、两全其美。具体来说有以下四个方面体会:一是加强领导,统一规划。把旧城改造列入经济建设的一项重要工作,上下一心,紧密配合,从组织、规划、政策、管理等方面给予加强,使旧城改造全面、配套、健康地向前发展。二是解放思想,积极探索。大胆创新,敢闯、敢冒、敢试,走超常规、跳跃式的发展路子,使旧城改造不断地向深度、广度发展。三是引进外资,借梯上楼。制定优惠政策,鼓励外商参与旧城改造。现在外商参与率达50%以上。四是相信群众,依靠群众。牢牢树立为人民谋利益的责任感和使命感,走群众路线,考虑和照顾群众的正当利益,取得广大群众关心、理解、支持和参与,使旧城改造得以顺利进行。

Q: How can young leading cadres do their jobs well under the new situation?

问:青年领导干部在新形势下,应如何做好工作?

A: The new situation of reform and opening up has put forward new tasks and new requirements for young leading cadres. In order to adapt to such a situation and successfully complete the work assigned by the Party and the people, we must pay attention to the following relationships:

答:改革开放的新形势,给青年领导干部提出了新的任务,新的要求。为适应这样的形势,圆满完成党和人民交付的工作,必须注意处理好以下几个关系:

The first is the relationship between heritage and innovation. The development of the economy and culture is a matter of heritage. Young leading cadres should not deny or abandon the achievements of their predecessors, but should rather humbly learn from their elder comrades, constantly enrich and improve themselves, and continue to develop on this basis, making innovations within this heritage, spur reform and opening up and economic construction to a new stage in innovation, and enhance leadership ability in innovation. Only in this way can the continuity and stability of leadership work be maintained.

一是继承和创新的关系。经济、文化的发展具有历史的继承性。青年领导干部不应当否定或抛弃前任所取得的成就,而应当虚心向老同志学习,不断充实提高自己,并在此基础上继续发展,在继承中有所创新。在创新中把改革开放和经济建设推向新的阶段,在创新中增强自身的领导才干。只有这样,才能保持领导工作的连续性和稳定性。

The second is the relationship between power and duty. In particular, young leading cadres should establish the idea that “leadership is service” and strengthen their awareness of public servants. It should be clearly recognized that the power of leaders is endowed by the Party and the people and can only be used for the people rather than for personal gain. Become a leader with “great power that does not forget the heavy responsibility and respect and that does not forget one’s core of public servitude,” unite power with responsibility and service, and maintain and utilize power well to serve the people.

二是权力和义务的关系。青年领导干部尤其要树立“领导就是服务”的思想,强化公仆意识。应当明确地认识到,领导者的权力是党和人民赋予的,只能用权于民,不能以权谋私。做到“权高不忘责任重,位尊不忘公仆心”,把权力同责任和服务统一起来,为人民掌好权,用好权。

The third is to adhere to the relationship between collective leadership and daring to be responsible. With the deepening of reform and opening up, the tasks faced are becoming more and more arduous, and the situation is becoming more and more complicated. The knowledge and ability of leaders alone cannot resolve these issues. We must concentrate everyone’s wisdom, work together, and succeed. This requires young leading cadres to conscientiously adhere to and improve the collective leadership system, establish and implement a scientific division of labor and responsibility, give full play to the role of each and every team member, and prevent individuals from having the final say. At the same time, young leading cadres must have the spirit of being highly responsible to the Party and the people, and at the critical moment when they must make decisions, they must stand up, have the courage to take responsibility, and dare to make decisions.

三是坚持集体领导和敢于负责的关系。随着改革开放不断深入,面临的任务愈来愈繁重,情况也愈来愈复杂,光凭领导者个人的知识和能力是不能解决问题的。要集中大家的智慧,群策群力,搞好工作。这就要求青年领导干部认真坚持和完善集体领导制度,建立和实行科学的分工负责制,充分发挥每个班子成员的作用,防止个人说了算。同时,青年领导干部要有对党和人民高度负责的精神,在需要决断的关键时刻,要挺身而出,勇于承担责任,敢于拍板。

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习近平 (Xi Jinping) (2022). "Xi Jinping Discusses Leadership [习近平谈领导]". Interpret: China, Original work published March 2, 1993, https://interpret.csis.org/translations/xi-jinping-discusses-leadership/

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