Reviving NE China needs concrete support

Source:Global Times Published: 2016-3-15 0:28:01

During the two sessions, Lu Hao, governor of China's northeastern Heilongjiang Province, said a local State-owned mining group called LongMay was not in wage arrears to its 80,000 workers. He apologized later after thousands of miners marched through the streets to protest, saying a lack of important information caused his untrue remark.

The incident has triggered a public debate about the predicament of development in Northeast China. In the last two years, GDP growth rates in the three provinces in the region - Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning - are among four of the slowest across the country. How to achieve economic transition in Northeast China has become a heavy mission.

Northeast China used to be praised as "the first son of the republic." It was liberated from the Kuomintang's regime earlier than the rest of China. It had a favorable industrial basis, on which China's industrialization was started. It played a significant role in the development of China's heavy industries in the era of the planned economy. It was also China's granary, making a lot of contributions to the country's self-sufficiency in grain.

In the past, oil, coal, timber, grain and machinery produced in Northeast China were transported to every corner of China. We must give credit to the region for its contribution to help the country out of its early hardships.

State-owned enterprises constitute a large portion of companies in Northeast China. That is why it is more difficult to conduct reform and economic transition. There are quite a few resource-based cities in Heilongjiang. Once their lifelines of natural resources are exhausted or the demand for these resources declines dramatically, these cities will find their economy difficult to function in a sustainable way, and social stability will be at high risk.

China must conduct a smooth industrial transition in Northeast China, revitalize its economy and highlight local people's well-being. It requires not only efforts within Northeast China, but joint support from other regions. The region itself will find it hard to cope with the troubles.

Developed regions should understand that they are supposed to help Northeast China. National policies should also incline toward this region, giving it more favorable treatment.

Public opinion should be understanding toward Northeast China's troubles, trying not to excessively compare the region with other developed regions in major economic indexes, or castigate it for some difficulties that are hard to resolve overnight. The Northeast knows the urgency of reform, but it needs more solid support and encouragement than pressure.

Support and sympathy cannot replace Northeast China's own efforts. The people in the region should think out of the box and be creative in reform. The incident about unpaid wages shows that the traditional mind-set prioritizing government performance over people's well-being still exists.

Northeast China has abundant experience to conduct this reform, and all it needs is confidence and courage. If Northeast China can be revitalized, it will shore up China's development again like it used to.

Posted in: Editorial

blog comments powered by Disqus