Guangdong takes one step ahead in China

Last century, Ezra F. Vogel, the author of Japan as Number One: Lessons for America and a distinguished scholar from Harvard University, wrote a book titled One Step Ahead in China: Guangdong under Reform, which describes the breakneck pace of economic and political changes in Guangdong province, a Chinese coastal region that functioned as a miraculous test case for the reform and opening-up policy of reform-minded Deng Xiaoping.


With more and more coastal cities and even the inland cities like Chongqing increasingly opening up to the outside world, will Guangdong take another step ahead in China after the country’s once-in-a-decade leadership transition?


In a group discussion of the Guangdong delegation to the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party (CPC), the delegates reiterated confidence in the socialist path, theories and system mentioned in Hu Jintao’s report delivered at the opening session of the Congress.


Guangdong ought to have confidence in its reforms as it witnessed the birth of a great many of China’s significant development strategies and theoretical conceptions. In 1992, Deng Xiaoping made his famous south China tour, inspecting Wuchang, Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Shanghai, marking a new round of reform in China. During his trip, the former Chinese leader delivered important speeches that later developed into the backbone of the Deng Xiaoping Theory. In 2000, Jiang Zemin first announced the Theory of the Three Represents in Guangdong. In 2003, incumbent Hu Jintao put forward the Concept of Scientific Development in Guangdong.


Under the reign of Wang Yang, a candidate likely to become a member of the next Politburo Standing Committee of the CPC, Guangdong launched a new round of reform featuring “emancipation of mind”.


With regard to economic reform, Guangdong has speeded up the transformation of the economic development mode and upgraded the economic and industrial structures. It is believed that Hu Jintao, general secretary of the Central Committee of the CPC, thinks highly of Guangdong’s strategy of transforming its economic development mode, which is in line with that of the CPC Central Committee.


In the field of opening up, Guangdong is pushing forward the economic integration of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau. “It is undisputedly clear that the economic integration of Guangdong and Hong Kong is bound to promote the transformation of the province’s economic system despite speculation that Guangdong is going to encroach on Hong Kong, one of the world’s freest markets,” said Wang.


What is more likely to happen is that Guangdong will push forward political reform after it was praised for its peaceful handling of a standoff between Wukan villagers and officials, which was caused by farmland expropriation in 2011. The defusing of the dispute marks a possible exploration for China to launch a pilot project of democratic election at grassroots level. Guangdong is now launching a trial of reform of administrative system, which is an important part of the political reform.


Guangdong is taking lead in China’s economic and political reform and will help enhance confidence in the socialist system.

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