Exploring Xi's economic thought from local governance perspective: story in Zhengding

(Xinhua) 15:47, March 16, 2023

BEIJING, March 16 (Xinhua) -- A recently released report titled "Toward Modernity: The Value of Xi Jinping's Economic Thought" has explored the origins of Xi's economic thought from the perspective of local governance.

When working in different localities, Xi put forward a series of new ideas, new ways of thinking and new measures concerning economic work. His years of solid practice on the ground have enriched his experience and enhanced the depth of his theoretical thinking, laying a solid foundation for his economic thought to take shape and evolve.

Recounting Xi's stories of economic governance when he worked at the local level, the report, which was released by New China Research, the think tank of Xinhua News Agency, has offered a vivid illustration on how Xi's economic thought helped promote local development.

The following piece tells Xi's story in Zhengding.

From March 1982 to May 1985, Xi worked for more than three years as deputy chief and chief of the Communist Party of China (CPC) committee of Zhengding County in north China's Hebei Province.

During this time, he established a good rapport with local officials and the public, got to know every village through in-person visits, fought on the frontline of reform and opening-up, comprehensively advanced work on different spheres, and obtained a political reputation with remarkable achievements.

"Zhengding is where I got started in local governance," Xi once said.

Starting with Zhengding, Xi deepened his thinking on economic work day by day and continuously put his ideas into practice. He conducted in-depth investigations and research, gave full play to Zhengding's comparative advantages, and creatively put forward the idea of a "semi-suburban economic model" to promote the coordinated development of urban and rural areas.

He has respected and cherished talent, and led the formulation of the widely commended "nine policies for talent attraction," clarifying that "talent is the foundation of the country's prosperity." He has also recruited a broad talent pool and accelerated Zhengding's economic development.


To the north of the old town of Zhengding is a vast countryside, and 15 kilometers to its south is Shijiazhuang City, capital of Hebei Province.

In 1982, following in-depth investigations and study, Xi pinpointed Zhengding's location, a rural-urban fringe area, and creatively proposed the idea of a "semi-suburban economic model," which aims at benefiting urban areas, advancing rural prosperity, and promoting coordinated development.

The essence of this development model allowed Zhengding to capitalize on both urban and rural areas. By providing services to and digging into the purses of urban residents, Zhengding developed its economy and increased its locals' incomes.

The CPC committee of Zhengding County made a plan to "rely on and serve cities, infiltrate the market in Shijiazhuang, enter the markets of Beijing and Tianjin, seize the markets of Shanxi and Inner Mongolia, and do businesses across the country."

Under the guidance of this development approach, Zhengding vigorously developed diversified businesses, and its economic development rapidly accelerated.

In order to sell Zhengding's farm and sideline produce to Beijing, Shijiazhuang and other big cities, Xi worked as a "salesman" on many occasions.

Xi encouraged locals to produce marketable products, and spared no effort to communicate and coordinate to find long-term business cooperation partners for Zhengding. Zhengding's pork, eggs, fruits and other products thus landed in stable and reliable markets.

From 1982 to 1984, Zhengding's gross industrial and agricultural production doubled, and the per capita income of local farmers more than doubled, rising from 148 yuan (about 21 U.S. dollars) to more than 400 yuan.

From the local to the central government, and from one city and region to the whole country, Xi has been consistent in valuing coordinated development.


Xi has always respected and cherished talent. He has noted that talent is an important indicator of a country's comprehensive strength. National development depends on talent, and national rejuvenation depends on talent.

In 1983, he presided over the formulation of "Provisions on Further Emancipating the Mind, Relaxing Policy and Accelerating the Economic Development of the County," which is now widely known as Zhengding's "nine policies for talent attraction."

According to the provisions, all scientific and technical personnel coming to Zhengding could share the profits of or receive a one-time payment for each project. A then fresh take on talent recruitment arose. All those with expertise were welcome, including those with problematic family background, complex social connections and people who erred but already corrected their faults. Failures in research projects were allowed.

The county also built offices and residential buildings for talent transferring to Zhengding, and provided shuttle services and paid allowances to experts, scholars and professors who gave lectures in Zhengding.

Yearning for talent, Xi often visited people with expertise in person. His nighttime meeting with Wu Baoxin is an oft-told story. Wu was an engineer who had mastered a new technique to make foot powder. At that time, he wrote to Xi to express his willingness to work in Zhengding after reading the "nine policies for talent attraction."

It was getting late in the evening when Xi received the letter, but he immediately set off with a colleague for Tangu Community in the then Qiaodong District of Shijiazhuang, where Wu lived. There were dozens of buildings in the community. Not knowing Wu's specific address, they went from house to house.

It was past 10 p.m. and they still could not find Wu's home. Xi refused to give up. They shouted "Wu Baoxin" loudly throughout the community, and finally found him. Wu was very moved and invited them in to discuss the matter. Finally, the project was established smoothly in Zhengding. Less than one year after it was put into production, the company made a net profit of 300,000 yuan.

Xi has attached great importance to giving full play to the role of talent, and established a county advisory group composed of more than 50 people, including famous mathematician Hua Luogeng, economist Yu Guangyuan and other famous experts.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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