The Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping

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Reform and Opening To the Outside World Are A Great Experiment




June 29, 1985


The Shenzhen Special Economic Zone is an experiment. It will be some time before we know whether we are doing the right thing there. It is something new under socialism. We hope to make it a success, but if it fails, we can learn from the experience. In building socialism the central task is to develop the productive forces. We are adopting all measures to develop them, including use of foreign funds and introduction of advanced technologies. This is a great experiment, something that is not described in books.

Our greatest experiment is the reform of the economic structure. We started the reform first in the rural areas. It was only after it had produced results there that we had the courage to launch it in the cities. In fact, the urban reform is a reform of the economic structure as a whole and is very risky. No sooner had it been started than problems appeared. Late last year we found that we had issued 10 billion yuan more than we should have, and this year inflation has been higher than we expected. But none of this matters much. It will take some years to straighten out the relations between the various economic sectors. If we succeed, we shall be sure of quadrupling the annual gross value of industrial and agricultural output by the end of this century. We have to proceed in accordance with the law of value and other economic laws. If all goes well, we shall be able to lay the foundation for sustained, coordinated development of the economy over the next 50 to 70 years.

It takes courage to carry out a comprehensive reform of the economic structure; we must be determined and proceed steadily. Right now, for our Party and country, reform is the task that takes precedence over everything else and that is the most difficult.

(Excerpt from a talk with a delegation from the Party of the National Liberation Front of Algeria.)



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