SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONES SHOULD SHIFT THEIR
ECONOMY FROM A DOMESTIC ORIENTATION TO
AN EXTERNAL ORIENTATION
August 1, 1985
We have only just begun to shift the economy of our special economic zones from a domestic orientation to an external orientation, and so we still don’t have many good, exportable products. Until Shenzhen has become a city with an export-oriented economy, it cannot be truly considered a special economic zone, and it cannot be said to be developing properly. But I understand there has been some progress in this direction.
Recently I told a foreign guest that the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone was an experiment. That made some people abroad wonder if China was going to change its policies again and if I had reversed my previous judgement about special economic zones. So I want to confirm two things here and now. First, the policy of establishing special economic zones is correct; and second, the special economic zones are an experiment. There is no contradiction here. Our entire policy of opening to the outside is an experiment too, and a big one from the world point of view. In short, China’s open policy will remain unchanged, but in pursuing it we must proceed with caution. We have achieved some successes, but we must stay modest.
(Excerpt from a talk with the 13th delegation sent to China by the Komei Party of Japan.)