Pudong Tar­gets So­cial Progress

Ex­clu­sive In­ter­view with Shao Yudong, For­mer Mem­ber of the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee of the CPC Com­mit­tee of Pudong New Area

China Pictorial (English) - - NEWS - Text by Qiao Zhenqi

Pudong seeks to not only fa­cil­i­tate projects and fos­ter eco­nomic devel­op­ment, but also pro­mote com­pre­hen­sive so­cial devel­op­ment.

Video doc­u­men­taries pre­serve im­ages of Pudong as a vast ex­panse of coun­try­side car­peted by farm­lands and di­lap­i­dated ru­ral houses prior to 1990. Over the sub­se­quent 28 years, tremen­dous changes have taken place in the area.

In 1990, Shao Yudong be­came one of the first con­trib­u­tors to the devel­op­ment and open­ing up of Pudong. He once served as mem­ber of the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee of the Com­mu­nist Party of China (CPC) Com­mit­tee of Pudong New Area, di­rec­tor of the Pub­lic­ity Depart­ment and the United Front Work Depart­ment of Pudong’s Party com­mit­tee and vice chair­man of the Pudong com­mit­tee of the Chi­nese Peo­ple’s Po­lit­i­cal Con­sul­ta­tive Con­fer­ence (CPPCC). Af­ter his re­tire­ment in 2008, Shao shifted from be­ing a builder of Pudong to a re­searcher. He is now a guest pro­fes­sor at sev­eral uni­ver­si­ties and works on re­search­ing the the­o­ries and prac­tices of Pudong’s devel­op­ment and open­ing up.

Shao likens Pudong’s devel­op­ment and open­ing up over the past 28 years to a bril­liant his­toric epic writ­ten by builders from both China and abroad with their sweat and tears, pre­sent­ing a glo­ri­ous paint­ing of the times that de­picts the great jour­ney of real­iz­ing the Chi­nese Dream of na­tional re­ju­ve­na­tion.

China Pic­to­rial (CP): Why did the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment choose Pudong as an im­por­tant test

field for the coun­try’s re­form and open­ing up af­ter es­tab­lish­ing sev­eral spe­cial eco­nomic zones and open­ing 14 coastal cities?

Shao: Pudong’s devel­op­ment and open­ing up demon­strated a nec­es­sary and self-de­ter­mined choice for his­tory. In fact, it was an in­nate as­pi­ra­tion for gen­er­a­tions. As early as 1919, Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the pi­o­neer of China’s demo­cratic rev­o­lu­tion, pre­sented the idea of build­ing Pudong into a ma­jor har­bor in the East in his book Thein­ter­na­tion­alde­vel­op­ment of China. Re­stricted by na­tional con­di­tions at the time, how­ever, this dream was dif­fi­cult to achieve.

From the found­ing of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China in 1949 to 1990, Shang­hai, known as the

“el­dest son of China’s econ­omy,” re­mained a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to na­tional rev­enues. Af­ter con­tribut­ing mas­sive sums to the na­tional trea­sury, the city’s re­main­ing rev­enues could barely cover nec­es­sary ex­pen­di­tures in ur­ban con­struc­tion. Con­se­quently, the city lacked the funds for the devel­op­ment of Pudong, which is just across the Huangpu River from the Bund and Nan­jing Road, the most bustling places in Shang­hai. In the past, res­i­dents of down­town Shang­hai called Pudong the “coun­try­side,” and even lo­cals of Pudong didn’t con­sider them­selves Shang­hainese and col­lo­qui­ally called cross­ing the river to down­town “go­ing to Shang­hai.” Back then, Shang­hai faced a wide ar­ray of dif­fi­cul­ties in ur­ban devel­op­ment: traf­fic con­ges­tion, in­con­ve­nient trans­porta­tion blocked by the river, in­suf­fi­cient hous­ing and en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­tion. How­ever, such chal­lenges kin­dled lo­cals’ as­pi­ra­tions for devel­op­ment and in­spired them to strive to de­velop through re­form and open­ing up. Peo­ple in the city longed to re­vive the past glory of Shang­hai.

Based on the ini­tia­tive of Deng Xiaop­ing, chief ar­chi­tect of China’s re­form and open­ing up, the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment made the strate­gic de­ci­sion to de­velop and open Shang­hai’s Pudong area. On April 18, 1990, China of­fi­cially an­nounced a plan to build Pudong New Area. This an­nounce­ment el­e­vated the devel­op­ment and open­ing up of Pudong to a na­tional key strat­egy and her­alded the dawn of Pudong’s devel­op­ment and open­ing up. Shang­hai seized the his­toric op­por­tu­nity aris­ing from China’s re­form and open­ing up and stunned the world with Pudong’s devel­op­ment. CP: What are the fac­tors that fu­eled the mirac­u­lous achieve­ments of Pudong’s devel­op­ment and open­ing up?

Shao: Pudong’s devel­op­ment and open­ing up can be at­trib­uted to a com­bi­na­tion of top-level de­sign and down-to-earth strug­gle. Since the very be­gin­ning, Pudong re­ceived in­tense at­ten­tion in devel­op­ment plan­ning. With­out a well-de­signed blue­print, a tai­lor will de­stroy a piece of fine fab­ric if he or she rushes to cut it. So, Shang­hai or­ga­nized sev­eral in­ter­na­tional sem­i­nars for the plan­ning of Pudong’s con­struc­tion. To plan the 1.7-square kilo­me­ter core area of Lu­ji­azui Fi­nance and Trade Zone, Pudong or­ga­nized two in­ter­na­tional sem­i­nars at­tract­ing more than 30 ex­perts and ar­chi­tects from a dozen coun­tries. Many ar­chi­tects pre­sented dis­tinc­tive de­signs. Af­ter 17 rounds of dis­cus­sions and mod­i­fi­ca­tions over two years, the fi­nal blue­print for the con­struc­tion of Lu­ji­azui was ap­proved. A model of the fi­nal blue­print is now housed at the Na­tional Mu­seum of China. It was the first time China car­ried out spe­cific in­ter­na­tional con­sul­ta­tion and pooled global wis­dom to plan a devel­op­ment zone.

In ad­di­tion to Lu­ji­azui, many land­mark build­ings of Pudong are fruits of global wis­dom. Many ar­chi­tects from around the world were in­vited to de­sign struc­tures there in­clud­ing Shang­hai Pudong In­ter­na­tional Air­port, Shang­hai Ori­en­tal Art Cen­ter, Shang­hai New In­ter­na­tional Expo Cen­ter and Cen­tury Park.

More­over, Pudong’s devel­op­ment adopted a strat­egy com­bin­ing “rich plan­ning” and “af­ford­able devel­op­ment.” Rich plan­ning refers to aim­ing high and look­ing to the fu­ture when for­mu­lat­ing an over­all devel­op­ment plan. Af­ford­able devel­op­ment refers to im­ple­ment­ing the devel­op­ment plan step-by-step and con­sid­er­ing fu­ture devel­op­ment over the com­ing 30 to 50 years rather than pur­su­ing quick suc­cess and un­re­al­is­tic tar­gets be­yond ca­pac­ity. In­deed, Pudong New Area was built in­cre­men­tally based on its avail­able man­power, funds and re­sources.

CP: What ben­e­fits have or­di­nary peo­ple en­joyed from Pudong’s devel­op­ment and open­ing up?

Shao: Pudong has al­ways aligned its devel­op­ment and open­ing up with the im­prove­ment of peo­ple’s liv­ing stan­dards. In the be­gin­ning of Pudong’s devel­op­ment, we launched a “lo­co­mo­tive pro­gram” in which var­i­ous func­tional zones took the ini­tia­tive to stim­u­late the devel­op­ment of neigh­bor­ing town­ships. A devel­op­ment zone was re­spon­si­ble for sup­port­ing the devel­op­ment of the place where it is lo­cated. It placed pri­or­ity on train­ing and hir­ing lo­cals who could be­come qual­i­fied for rel­e­vant jobs while in­ject­ing vi­tal­ity into lo­cal town­ship en­ter­prises by bring­ing in in­vest­ment or tech­no­log­i­cal in­struc­tion. Ma­jor de­vel­op­ers played the role of “lo­co­mo­tives,” and neigh­bor­ing town­ships be­came “car­riages” for lo­cal farm­ers and res­i­dents as “pas­sen­gers.” To­gether they form a sort of “train” chug­ging for­ward to­gether, with no one left be­hind.

In 2017, per capita dis­pos­able in­come in Pudong hit 60,715 yuan (US$8,830), higher than Shang­hai’s av­er­age. The growth rate of res­i­dents’ in­come was higher than that of GDP. Last year, Pudong’s GDP grew by 8.7 per­cent year-on-year, while the av­er­age in­come of its res­i­dents in­creased by 9.2 per­cent year-on-year. Each year, more than one-third of Pudong’s fis­cal ex­pen­di­ture goes to fields con­cern­ing peo­ple’s liveli­hoods such as em­ploy­ment, med­i­cal care and ed­u­ca­tion. To­day, Pudong pro­vides 614 schools for ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion and hosts 1,098 med­i­cal in­sti­tu­tions in­clud­ing 10 third-grade pub­lic hos­pi­tals.

More­over, it has built gov­ern­ment-sub­si­dized hous­ing of over 30 mil­lion square me­ters, ben­e­fit­ing a mil­lion peo­ple in 300,000 house­holds. Pudong also has large li­braries, sta­di­ums and 100-plus places of wor­ship open to the pub­lic, and its per capita veg­e­ta­tion area has hit 25.44 square me­ters.

Nowa­days, Pudong fo­cuses as much on so­cial devel­op­ment and so­cial progress as on build­ing sky­scrapers and grow­ing the econ­omy. CP: What in­flu­ence has Pudong’s devel­op­ment and open­ing up ex­erted on the peo­ple’s mind­sets?

Shao: At the out­set of Pudong’s devel­op­ment, many were still fo­cused on planned econ­omy philoso­phies. Be­fore per­form­ing a job, they al­ways awaited in­struc­tions from su­pe­ri­ors or searched rel­e­vant gov­ern­ment doc­u­ments for per­mis­sion. We were do­ing some­thing un­prece­dented that re­quired the courage to in­no­vate and break through old sys­tems. It would never have worked if we had stuck to our for­mer work­ing meth­ods. We eman­ci­pated our minds and pi­o­neered many new prac­tices in Pudong. One ma­jor break­through Pudong has made dur­ing its re­form and open­ing up over the past 28 years is that we no longer ask “what we can do,” but in­stead ask “what we can­not do.” We need to take bold ac­tion to at­tempt new things, be­ing bound only to ex­ist­ing laws and reg­u­la­tions.

In the early days of Pudong’s devel­op­ment, large amounts of funds were needed to carry out in­fra­struc­ture projects, but the ini­tial cap­i­tal ran short quickly. In 1992, we boldly adopted the prac­tice of “con­duct­ing land trans­fer with idle pub­lic cap­i­tal.” In times of se­vere fund short­ages, this prac­tice ef­fec­tively fa­cil­i­tated the gov­ern­ment’s demon­stra­tive and lead­ing role in in­vest­ment. Of course, it also re­ceived push­back and crit­i­cism. Some ar­gued that it didn’t con­form to any ex­ist­ing gov­ern­ment doc­u­ments or poli­cies.

To­day, it has be­come con­sen­sus in Pudong to take on more re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, ask for fewer in­struc­tions, elim­i­nate empty talk and seek greater in­no­va­tion. Pudong en­cour­ages in­no­va­tion and tol­er­ates mis­takes. CP: How will Pudong New Area achieve greater devel­op­ment in the new era?

Shao: Lo­cal lead­ers have a clear vi­sion of Pudong’s fu­ture devel­op­ment. Right now, Pudong is go­ing to great lengths to im­ple­ment na­tional strate­gies as it faces greater and greater dif­fi­culty in pro­mot­ing in­dus­trial re­struc­tur­ing largely due to un­cer­tain­ties in the global econ­omy. More­over, the devel­op­ment of its cul­tural in­dus­try can­not match the pace of its eco­nomic growth. Pudong may be rich in hu­man re­sources and com­mer­cial at­mos­phere, but it is in­suf­fi­cient in cul­tural am­bi­ence. The ad­min­is­tra­tive ca­pac­ity of the lo­cal gov­ern­ment doesn’t meet the needs of modern ur­ban devel­op­ment. One must stay vig­i­lant when walk­ing on thin ice and re­mem­ber Xi Jin­ping’s warn­ing of the dan­gers of in­ca­pac­ity. The over­all qual­ity of cit­i­zens has been out­paced by de­mand for modern ur­ban devel­op­ment.

So, we still have a long way to go to com­plete the devel­op­ment and open­ing up of Pudong. Con­struc­tion of a modern city should tar­get all-round devel­op­ment. Along­side growth in GDP, it should also en­hance the moral qual­ity of so­ci­ety, im­prove the cul­tural am­biance of its peo­ple and strengthen the rule of law. More­over, Pudong has yet to com­pletely ful­fill its re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in terms of na­tional devel­op­ment.

If we com­pare Pudong’s devel­op­ment and open­ing up to a sym­phony orches­tra per­for­mance, Deng Xiaop­ing was the com­poser, and the CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee with Xi Jin­ping at the core is the con­duc­tor. Ev­ery con­trib­u­tor to Pudong is a per­former. To­gether, their per­for­mance is a song for the ages, the an­them of China’s re­form and open­ing up. The great re­ju­ve­na­tion of the Chi­nese na­tion be­longs not only to China, but also to the world.

Since his re­tire­ment, Shao Yudong has been de­voted to re­search­ing the the­o­ries and prac­tice of Pudong’s devel­op­ment and open­ing up. by Qiao Zhenqi

In the early sum­mer of 2017, the 5,000-square-me­ter bloom­ing pur­ple­top ver­vain formed a “sea of flow­ers” in the Mon­treal Gar­den of Cen­tury Park in Pudong, Shang­hai, draw­ing tourists and lo­cal res­i­dents alike. VCG

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