Xi Jin­ping in Zhengding: In­no­vat­ing Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment

In­no­vat­ing Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment

China Pictorial (English) - - Contents -

Sit­ting 240 kilo­me­ters south of Bei­jing, Zhengding County in He­bei Prov­ince boasts rich cul­tural and his­tor­i­cal her­itage. From 1982 to 1985, Xi Jin­ping suc­ces­sively served as deputy sec­re­tary and sec­re­tary of CPC Zhengding County Com­mit­tee.

“En­sur­ing Enough Food to Eat Is an Ur­gent Mat­ter for Zhengding”

Af­ter he ar­rived at Zhengding, Xi made door-to-door vis­its to ev­ery house­hold in his ju­ris­dic­tion. Af­ter the vis­its, he found that although Zhengding was well-known for its high yield, 400,000 lo­cals had to turn over 38 mil­lion kilo­grams of grain to the coun­try ev­ery year, leav­ing many in the area with in­suf­fi­cient food on ta­ble. More­over, due to out­dated philoso­phies, Zhengding was still trapped in sin­gle mode of pro­duc­tion, pur­su­ing high yields of grain crops in­stead of higher- earn­ing crops like cot­ton, oil plants and fruits. There­fore, lo­cal farm­ers weren’t left with enough food to eat af­ter they handed in their quota to the gov­ern­ment.

In the lat­ter half of 1981, the gross out­put value of Zhengding’s in­dus­try and agri­cul­ture re­mained at 206.73 mil­lion yuan (now US$31.13 mil­lion), with per capita an­nual in­come at 148 yuan (now US$22.3). “En­sur­ing enough food to eat is an ur­gent mat­ter for Zhengding,” said Xi. He de­clared that the high grain quota led to the county’s im­bal­anced agri­cul­tural struc­ture, which had to be ad­justed. Xi and Lu Yu­lan, then deputy sec­re­tary of the CPC Zhengding County Com­mit­tee, went to Bei­jing to re­port

Zhengding’s real sit­u­a­tion and dif­fi­cul­ties. In early 1982, China’s State Coun­cil sent re­lated au­thor­i­ties to in­ves­ti­gate, who con­curred with Xi and Lu’s re­ports. The gov­ern­ment re­duced Zhengding’s grain quota by 14 mil­lion kilo­grams, which re­lieved the food short­age prob­lem plagu­ing the county.

Af­ter sta­bi­liz­ing their source of food, Zhengding peo­ple be­gan look­ing for a bet­ter stan­dard of liv­ing. Led by Xi, the county Party com­mit­tee and gov­ern­ment de­cided to try a con­trac­tual house­hold out­put-re­lated re­spon­si­bil­ity sys­tem in Lishuang­dian’s com­mune, which was poor and far from the county seat. As a re­sult, the same year, the value of agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion in Lishuang­dian dou­bled, with an­nual per capita in­come ex­ceed­ing 400 yuan (now US$60).

In Jan­uary 1983, Zhengding for­mally ap­proved the con­trac­tual house­hold out­put-re­lated re­spon­si­bil­ity sys­tem, propos­ing that land be con­trolled by house­holds through lease rights for at least five years. And com­munes could de­cide on their own man­age­ment meth­ods. Con­se­quently, Zhengding be­came the first place in He­bei to adopt the sys­tem, which laid a foun­da­tion for its eco­nomic lift- off.

“Sound En­vi­ron­ment Draws Tal­ented Peo­ple”

“High- cal­iber peo­ple are key to eco­nomic growth,” said Xi. “Ex­al­ta­tion of the vir­tu­ous is of strate­gic im­por­tance. With­out high- cal­iber peo­ple, lo­cals can­not be­come rich, nor the county strong. ”

At Xi’s sug­ges­tion, in 1982, the Zhengding gov­ern­ment con­ducted three cen­suses to reg­is­ter in­tel­lec­tu­als and tech­ni­cians in all fields work­ing in the county and made a ros­ter. The county’s 2,300 grad­u­ates of col­leges and tech­ni­cal sec­ondary schools were sorted ac­cord­ing to their spe­cial­ties and ex­pe­ri­ence. Zhengding then had its first list of per­son­nel. In Novem­ber of the same year, Zhengding is­sued a reg­u­la­tion to im­prove in­tel­lec­tu­als’ work­ing and liv­ing con­di­tions, en­cour­ag­ing the group to play a more im­por­tant role in so­cial de­vel­op­ment.

Ad­di­tion­ally, Xi wrote more than 100 let­ters to ex­perts and schol­ars na­tion­wide to in­vite them to join the Zhengding ad­vi­sory group. Fifty-three ex­perts ac­cepted the in­vi­ta­tion, in­clud­ing math­e­ma­ti­cian Hua Luo­geng, econ­o­mist Yu Guangyuan, oph­thal­mol­o­gist Zhang Xiaolou and Zou Ren­jun, then pres­i­dent of the Academy of Sci­ences of He­bei Prov­ince. The group in­tro­duced mod­ern science and in­for­ma­tion to the county and helped it grow faster. Yu Guangyuan lec­tured in Zhengding many times, guided its ru­ral work and pushed the es­tab­lish­ment of a ru­ral re­search in­sti­tu­tion

in Yong’an Com­mune. Zou Ren­jun brought a batch of chem­i­cal projects to Zhengding. Since 1983, while spread­ing knowl­edge about dis­ease preven­tion, Zhang Xiaolou had checked the eyes of 30,112 lo­cals and per­formed 2,139 op­er­a­tions to im­prove or re­cover sight.

A na­tive of Wuxi, Jiangsu Prov­ince, Qiu Bin­chang ex­celled at man­ag­ing busi­nesses. When Xi in­spected Wuxi, he re­cruited Qiu and per­suaded him to man­age a Zhengding fac­tory that was tee­ter­ing on the verge of bankruptcy. The day af­ter he took the po­si­tion, Qiu sold all the sur­plus goods. In less than a year, pro­duc­tion value dou­bled. Qiu worked in Zhengding for a dozen years un­til he re­tired. “I left my home­town and aban­doned my for­mer ca­reer just to fol­low a de­ci­sive and open-minded leader and reach for suc­cess,” said Qiu. “I did it.”

“Ed­u­ca­tion Is the Foun­da­tion of a Wealthy Coun­try”

In 1982, when Xi had just taken of­fice in Zhengding, he launched a cam­paign to check the county’s school build­ings. It turned out that class­rooms with a to­tal area of 3,590 square me­ters in over 200 vil­lage-level pri­mary schools were in bad shape. More than 10,000 school kids lacked desks and 40,000 pupils had to carry chairs to school them­selves.

In Oc­to­ber 1983, Xi made it clear that the county’s ed­u­ca­tion needed re­form but could not re­form ran­domly. Ac­cord­ing to this prin­ci­ple, the county is­sued doc­u­ments like Ad­vice on Ru­ral Ed­u­ca­tional Re­form, al­low­ing those teach­ers who were orig­i­nally paid by the com­mu­nity to be paid by the gov­ern­ment in­stead. The county also paid de­layed salaries to teach­ers, which ac­tu­ally in­spired lo­cal teach­ers’ en­thu­si­asm for the job. The em­ploy­ment mode based on per­for­mance and con­tracts re­placed tra­di­tional life­time ap­point­ment. Of 2,985 full-time teach­ers in the county, 2,833 passed qual­i­fi­ca­tion tests. Teach­ers be­came greatly mo­ti­vated and gained a greater sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity.

In 1984, Zhengding col­lected 1.87 mil­lion yuan to ren­o­vate 1,020 class­rooms and buy 3,000 sets of desks and chairs. A to­tal of 16 vil­lages built schools, and many il­le­gally oc­cu­pied play­grounds were re­turned to schools.

Xi spent over 1,000 days and nights in Zhengding and con­trib­uted greatly to the county’s de­vel­op­ment. “Zhengding is where I started my po­lit­i­cal ca­reer and is my sec­ond home­town,” he said.

A bird's- eye view of Zhengding County. The county boasts pro­found cul­tural and his­tor­i­cal her­itage. From 1982 to 1985, Xi Jin­ping suc­ces­sively served as deputy sec­re­tary and sec­re­tary of CPC Zhengding County Com­mit­tee. by Chen Qibao/xin­hua

First built in the North­ern Song Dy­nasty (960-1127), Tian­ning Tem­ple in the old town of Zhengding County be­came a key his­tor­i­cal site un­der state pro­tec­tion in 1988. IC

Septem­ber 2, 2017: The open­ing cer­e­mony of the first Shi­ji­azhuang Mu­nic­i­pal Tourism In­dus­try Con­fer­ence is held in Zhengding County. by Zhan Xincheng/xin­hua

A cheongsam show on the an­cient wall of Zhengding County. by Zhan Xincheng/xin­hua

In Laba Fes­ti­val, which fell on Jan­uary 5 in 2017, over 2,000 Zhengding ci­ti­zens came to the an­cient Linji Tem­ple to eat por­ridge to cel­e­brate. VCG

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.