Review your experience and use professionally trained people
August 20, 1991
The situation in China is now stable. That is because, for one thing, we resolutely adhered to socialism when we quelled the unrest in 1989 and because, for another, we have persisted in the policies of reform and opening to the outside world. If we hadn't taken action to prove that we were still adhering to those policies, the situation would not be stable. The future of China hinges on our adhering to those policies, and we should explain that fully to the people.
In reviewing the experience we have gained in economic work during this period, what should we emphasize? I think we should emphasize our experience in reform and opening up. Without the leap that we have made in economic development over the past ten years by carrying out those policies, it would have been impossible for us to improve the economic environment and rectify the economic order. It is right to stress stability, but if we overdo it, we may let opportunities slip by. Right now we have double-digit industrial growth, and things are going well in agriculture too. It seems that our economy tends to develop in waves, moving rapidly ahead for a few years, reaching a higher stage, after which we pause to solve the problems that have arisen, and then moving on again.
Our experience shows that we must have stability but that stability alone cannot solve all problems. Then should we emphasize it in future? Yes, but we should analyse the specific conditions to decide when and how to do so. In any event, stability is not the only thing we should emphasize. It is particularly important not to abandon the fundamental policies of reform and opening up. That is the only way to seize opportunities to push the economy to a higher stage.
In this connection, we can follow the example of other countries. Many countries have progressed in this manner and lifted themselves out of poverty in only 10 years. Great changes are taking place in the world, and this gives us an opportunity. People are talking about the ``Asia-Pacific century''. Where do we stand? In the past China lagged behind the developed countries but was more advanced than the poor ones. This last is no longer always the case. Some countries in Southeast Asia are full of enthusiasm for development and may move ahead of us. China is developing too, but compared with them we have a huge population, and the world market is already dominated by other countries. So we find ourselves under pressure -- we can consider it friendly pressure. But if we don't seize this opportunity to raise the economy to a higher level, other countries will leap ahead of us, leaving us far behind. Somehow I feel this is a problem, and I hope you will study it. We don't often have an opportunity like this.
We must continue to stress the need to combat bourgeois liberalization. In carrying out the reform and the open policy and in shifting the focus of our work to economic development, we are not abandoning Marx, Lenin and Mao Zedong. We cannot forget our forefathers! The problem is to get a clear understanding of what socialism is and how we can build and expand it.
Another problem is how to find and use professionally trained people. They are really hard to come by. You come from grass-roots units. When you worked there you knew or came into contact with all kinds of people, both at your own level and at other levels. If you think some of them are talented, even if they have certain weaknesses, you should not hesitate to employ them. Trained people can be very useful; indeed, we can do nothing without them. In 1975, when I was responsible for straightening things out in all fields of endeavour, I used a few capable people, and with their help I succeeded in restoring order in certain areas and making great changes. The problem is that there aren't many truly competent people, we don't try hard enough to identify them, and when we do, we hesitate to employ them. People may have different opinions about someone; complete agreement is not possible. But if a person has some weaknesses, we can point them out to him and meantime let him work. On the whole, we have not paid much attention to using capable people. I suggest that you leading comrades review your experience in this regard, respect professionally trained people and recruit them in large numbers.
In short, I am formally suggesting that you review your experience and employ professionally trained people.
(Excerpt from a talk with leading members of the CPC Central Committee.)
(From Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping, Volume III <1982-1992>)