Xi charts Shenzhen’s new mission

By Li Xuanmin in Shenzhen, Shen Weiduo and Liu Xin in Beijing Source: Global Times Published: 2020/10/14 20:44:40

Sheds light on China’s strong determination to open up amid complexities

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, on Wednesday presents a flower basket to the statue of Comrade Deng Xiaoping at Lianhuashan Park in South China's Shenzhen, expressing his deep respect for Deng. President Xi, also chairman of the Central Military Commission, gave a speech at a grand gathering to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Shenzhen SEZ. Photo: Xinhua

With a new blueprint laid out by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Shenzhen, the southern city that has been viewed as a paragon  of China's economic miracle over the past 40 years, is now embarking on another historic mission - to lead the country's process of socialist modernization, build a new pattern to deepen reform, and expand opening-up on all fronts.

At a grand gathering celebrating the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone (SEZ) on Wednesday, Xi delivered a speech, in which he not only stressed the valuable experience gained from the development miracles of China's first SEZ, but also outlined a clear new mission for the city.

Shenzhen is a brand-new city created by the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese people since the country's reform and opening-up, and its development over the past 40 years is a miracle in the world development history, Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, said.

Xi identified the valuable experience in 10 aspects, including adhering to the Party's leadership in the construction of SEZs, and always keeping construction in the right direction, upholding and improving the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and making the system more mature and stable through reform practices.

Looking ahead, Xi said Shenzhen should enrich the new practices of the "one country, two systems" cause, and lead the country's process of socialist modernization.

The city should build itself into a pilot zone for socialism with Chinese characteristics, set an example for cities of a modern socialist country, increase its capabilities to implement the new development philosophy, build a new pattern to deepen all-round reform, expand opening-up on all fronts, and contribute to the construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the president said. 

To further empower Shenzhen's future growth path, the CPC Central Committee  will give Shenzhen more autonomy to carry out reforms in important fields and at key links. China will also roll out 27 reform measures and 40 prior authorization items for Shenzhen, Xi said.

"The President's remarks indicated the central government's high recognition of the Shenzhen model, offered a clear guideline and policy support for Shenzhen's future development path, injecting fresh momentum to the city, which is at the frontline of the China-US trade war," Liu Guohong, director at Department of Finance and Modern Industries under the Shenzhen-based China Development Institute, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

As the ceremony also comes ahead of the fifth plenum of 19th CPC Central Committee, a key meeting that will chart China's economic and political direction for the next five years, Xi's words are not only an expectation for Shenzhen, but a hint of the country's future economic course - persisting in greater reform and opening-up no matter how complicated the external environment will be, experts said.

Photo:Li Hao/GT

Strong inspiration 

Xi on Wednesday called on Shenzhen to build itself into a global leader in technological and industrial innovation.

Ahead of his speech, Xi, who was also on an inspection tour of Guangdong Province, visited local firms and stressed the importance of independent innovation - a sign many industry players saw as an encouragement for them to counter the current US crackdown.

Shenzhen tech practitioners told the Global Times that they feel inspired by Xi's visit, especially at a time when Washington launched a relentless crackdown on Beijing's tech rise. Shenzhen, dubbed as China's Silicon Valley, is home to a number of big-name Chinese tech giants, including Huawei, Tencent, ZTE, DJI, some of which have been targeted by the US.

"The President's comment is sending a clear signal that China's path [of opening-up] has yielded huge success. It also rebuts some Western world's prejudice and discrimination against China's path," a spokesperson of leading Shenzhen-based drone maker DJI surnamed Xie told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

Xie said that Chinese tech players in Shenzhen will be encouraged to do their best. "We have succeeded before, and the US attack won't stop or frighten us this time. We will strive to be a leading player in important tech fields," Xie noted.

Prominent businesspeople including Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei and representatives from all fields such as renowned respiratory disease expert Zhong Nanshan were among the audience. And representatives of people who have made great contributions to Shenzhen in the past four decades also spoke at the gathering on Wednesday. 

Chen Zhilie, founder and chairman of Evoc Intelligent Technology, shared how he developed his business career in Shenzhen over the past decades, and vowed to lead in special computer products sector.

The Hong Kong-listed firm is primarily engaged in the research, development, manufacturing and distribution of special computer products, and the trading of electronic products and accessories.

"With entrepreneurship embedded in the Shenzhen spirit, we have every reason to believe that Shenzhen can counter the tech attack from the US, though we face extreme difficulties. A higher opening-up will only nurture the rise of new tech giants like Huawei and Tencent," Liu said.

Shenzhen residents were also enthusiastic in welcoming Xi's visit and celebrating the 40th anniversary of the city's designation as a SEZ. 

"Today is a big day for Shenzhen. We're about to open a new chapter of development after four decades of reform and opening-up. But while we march forward, we will never forget how we got here," an excited local resident surnamed Zheng told the Global Times on Wednesday.

In the main street in Qianhai of the city, flowers blossomed, and Chinese national flags and banners marking the 40th anniversary hung everywhere.

In recent days, many visitors have been taking photos with the landmark stone in Qianhai, as Xi stood near the stone during his visit to Shenzhen in 2018. 

Lianhuashan Park, another landmark site in Shenzhen where the bronze statue of former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping - who spearheaded the reform and opening-up policy - was erected, also becomes a favorite of local residents in recent days. On Wednesday afternoon, Xi presented a flower basket to the statue of Deng Xiaoping at the park, expressing his deep respect for Deng.  


Xi summarizes experience of Shenzhen and other SEZs' reform and opening-up in 10 aspects Infographic: GT

Door opens to the world 

While stressing the importance of domestic firms' innovation, Xi also acknowledged foreign contribution to China's economic success. In his speech, Xi extended a fresh welcome to foreign countries to participate more in the reform, opening-up and development of China's special economic zones.

Foreign participation has been indispensable in the building of the special economic zones over the past 40 years, which in turn has also created vast development opportunities and offered development benefits to foreign countries, Xi said.

More than 90,000 foreign-invested enterprises have been set up in Shenzhen since the city issued the first business license for a foreign-funded company in 1981. By the end of July, the city licensed over 94,000 foreign direct investment projects, with nearly $120 billion in foreign capital used since the establishment of SEZ, the Xinhua News Agency reported. 

Francine Hadjisotiriou, the General Manger of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China's South China Chapter, told the Global Times that European companies will keep a close eye on the implementation of detailed measures and how Shenzhen's path of "socialism with Chinese characteristics" will head the city in the coming years. 

"Since Deng Xiaoping's 1992 tour, southern China has been at the forefront of economic opening throughout the country," Hadjisotiriou said, noting that European companies are ready to deepen their positions in China, if given the right opportunities.

She added that the growing input from European companies will facilitate China's industrial upgrade and promote the bilateral communication on cutting-edged high tech. 

Infographic: GT



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