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Home >> China
UPDATED: 10:11, February 19, 2007
China stays on path of reform, opening-up in post-Deng era (2)
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RICH FIRST, RICH TOGETHER

Long before his opinions on market economy became known, Deng had startled the world with his "non-socialist" words -- "to allow some regions and people to get rich first".

This remark spurred millions of Chinese to innovate and start their own business ventures, propelling the country's economic revival.

In the early 1990s, China had formed a rich group of stock brokers, private businessmen, shareholders of township and collective enterprises, company executives and pop stars.

Though the group made up only a small proportion of the total population, the fortunes they possessed continued to swell. Statistics showed that the richest ten percent of the population owned 40 percent of residential properties, while the bottom ten percent owned just two percent of the total properties.

With a yawning gap between rich and poor, more social conflicts have emerged.

Huang Zhenhua, a 58-year-old laid-off worker in Shanghai, had mixed feelings about Deng Xiaoping. He acknowledged the enormous changes Deng's reform and opening-up policy brought to China, but still found himself unemployed.

As a base of China's industrial workers, Shanghai once had a troop of 1.44 million state-owned enterprise employees at its peak. But the competition-oriented market economy forced state-run businesses to restructure throughout the 1990s, slashing the number of workers to less than 200,000 workers.

Most of the people who were made redundant, like Huang, stayed at home after losing their jobs and relied on low salaries and government allowances which were only just sufficient to sustain a basic living standard.

Huang received a monthly income of 855 yuan (112.5 U.S. dollars) from a mixture of salary and various subsidies. He now works for a government-organized patrol team to maintain public order but it only brings him another 400 yuan (53 U.S. dollars) per month.

"Deng said, the regions and people that get rich first should help others for common prosperity, and the central government has pledged to build a well-off society. I hope it will come as soon as possible," he said.

During his famous tour to south China in 1992, Deng firmly pointed out that the goal of following socialism was to pursue common prosperity.

"We should address and try to solve the problem once the people's living standards reach a relatively affluent level by the end of the 20th century," he said.

As steps to realize Deng's unfulfilled wishes, China's new central leadership has advocated a scientific approach to development focusing on an all-round, balanced and sustainable development on the basis of "putting people first."

Chinese President Hu Jintao, at Deng's birth centenary commemoration in 2004, said, "Alongside the scientific approach, the Party and government must work for coordinated development between urban and rural areas, between various regions, between the economy and society, between mankind and nature, and between domestic development and opening up to the outside world.

"China must boost the sustained, rapid, balanced and healthy economic growth and ensure the fruit of development benefits all people," Hu said.

Nowadays, "harmonious society" has become the Chinese government's catchphrase in China.

It's the latest achievement in developing Deng's theory, said Yan Jianqi, director of the Literature Research Center of the CPC Central Committee, adding it would enable all people to share the social wealth brought by reform and development and help forge an ever closer relationship between the people and government.

(More)

Source: Xinhua


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