This combined issue of Beijing Review carries the full text of the famous remarks made by Deng Xiaoping during his inspection tour of south China in early 1992. The text comes from the last essay in the recently published Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping, Volume III.
Reviewing the significant progress China has recorded on various fronts over the past two years and a study of the important theoretical theses expounded in the remarks on building socialism with Chinese characteristics was an exercise which was indeed close to our hearts.
It is common knowledge that Deng Xiaoping is the chief architect of China's reform and opening effort which began 15 years ago. The reform and opening policies have brought profound changes to Chinese society. Judging from the overall situation, however, prior to 1992 the basic conditions concerning China's reform were that the traditional planned economic system had broken down and the clue to a viable and vigorous new economic structure was visible. This structure, however, was far from being fully established. The intricate clashes and friction occurring during the transformation from the old system to the new became an important root cause for the emergence of many contradictions and problems. China's reform and opening effort at that time had obviously reached an important turning-point which was the focus of discussion both at home and abroad. Some expressed worry, others simply sighed with sympathy, while still others viewed the situation with a critical eye. Several self-proclaimed prophets claimed that China's reform and opening cause had collapsed due to the setback and was thus doomed to failure.
In the spring of 1992, a crucial historical moment, Deng Xiaoping journeyed to south China on an inspection tour. The ensuing publication of his important remarks, much like a southerly spring breeze instantly replacing the chilling air in the late days of winter, injected fresh impetus and vigor into China's reform and opening cause. Deng's south China talks marked the turning point. China stunned the world with a dramatic 12.8 percent increase in gross national product (GNP) in 1992, and an even greater increase in the growth to 13 percent in 1993. While much of the world has been in the grips of an economic recession, China's high rate of economic growth over the past two years has turned the heads of China watchers throughout the world and they now look at the country in different terms.
People throughout the world marvelled as to how Deng's south China remarks have created a so-called Deng whirlwind, a whirlwind which thus far has not subsided. In fact, since the publication of Deng's south China remarks, China's economy has entered a new stage of accelerated development, the enthusiasm of the Chinese people for reform and opening has soared to unprecedented heights and the face of China has changed dramatically. Those who look reality in the face can in no way deny the fact that the common understanding reached by the Chinese government and the public at large concerning the irresistibility of China's reform and opening success is by no means a fabricated boast, but instead is an indisputable fact.
Deng's south China talks have once again altered the country's outlook and have made historic contributions to China's transformation from a planned economic system to a market economic structure.
Why did Deng's south China remarks have such a strong appeal and such a profound impetus? By carefully reading the full text, one has no difficulty in realizing that the fundamental spirit of the remarks lies in an emancipation of the mind, seeking truth from fact, and daring to break new ground and experimenting to blaze a new trail and initiate new undertakings. This, in fact, is the keynote of contemporary China;
From the outset, the south China remarks established the thesis that as "revolution is to liberate productive forces, so is reform." This once again clearly defines the nature of reform as a revolution, and has thereby once again attracted the undivided attention of people from all walks of life and has aroused their enthusiasm for participating in reform and opening;
In addition, the famous thesis in the south China remarks that "a planned economy is not equivalent to socialism, nor is a market economy tantamount to capitalism" has guided the Chinese people to surmount otherwise puzzling theory and practice, and led them to unswervingly proceed with promoting the formation of a socialist market economic structure;
With regard to the fundamental tasks of socialism and the strategic steps required for socialist construction, the most appealing theses expounded in the south China remarks were to "seize the opportunity for self-development," "development is a cardinal principle" and "low-speed equals stagnation and even retrogression." These tenets have guided us to place priority on the correct emphasis for the tempo of development. They represent the theoretical motivation that has helped bring about rapid national economic development in China.
Both the domestic and foreign mass media believe that Deng's south China talks have once again altered the country's outlook and have made historic contributions to China's transformation from a planned economic system to a market economic structure. Just as the Seventh Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 1945 established Mao Zedong Thought as the guiding thought and recorded it in Party history, the 14th National Congress of the CPC in 1992 completed a scientific appraisal of Deng Xiaoping's theory on building socialism with Chinese characteristics and established the strategic task of using the theory to arm the mind and unify the thinking of the whole Party, while at the same time recording Deng's theory in Party history. It was precisely Deng's south China talks that were the soul of the 14th National Congress of the CPC.
It goes without saying that China will continue to advance toward the 21st century along the road guided by Deng's theory. People worldwide who hope to gain a profound and accurate understanding of China and who hope to feel the pulse of the development of China's reform and opening should carefully analyze Deng's south China remarks and read other related works.