Fudan Professor Wang Zhengxu comments on Pudong’s opening up
17 Nov, 2020  |  Source:Fudan University  |  Hits:2083

Invited by China Plus, the official English website of China Radio International, Wang Zhengxu, Professor of Political Science at Fudan University shared his views on the 30 years of Pudong’s development and opening up on World Today, China Plus’s podcast on November 12.


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Anchor: Chinese President Xi Jinping attended a grand gathering this morning that celebrates the 30th anniversary of the development and opening up of Shanghai's Pudong. President Xi says efforts should be made to make Pudong a pioneer of reform and opening-up at a higher level and a vanguard in fully building a modern socialist country. 


On April 18, 1990, China announced the development and opening up of Pudong. 30 years on, Pudong has become not only China's most iconic skyline but a symbol of the country's link to the world.


For more, we now join on the line by Wang Zhengxu, Professor of Political Science at Fudan University. So Professor Wang, what is your takeaway from President Xi's speech in Shanghai this morning?


Wang: I think it marked the importance of Pudong in China's overall development for the last 40 years and also its central position in China's future development in the next 15 to 30 years. Pudong, when it was announced to [be] open up to the outside world and to be a new development focus for the country in 1990, it marked a new stage of China's development, because, in the 1980s, the major economic centers for opening to the world and for development [we]re mostly in the south—in Guangdong, in Fujian which are very marginal cities or special economic zones, and so on. Shanghai [by contrast] was always an economic center for China. In 1990, the shift to, or the addition of development focus of Pudong was really a major step. It marked the beginning of a major phase of China’s development. 


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Anchor: What do you think is behind Pudong’s success over the past 30 years and what inspiration do you think it could provide to the rest of the country?


Wang: We have to put the Pudong story in the context of China's overall development. We've been with a large population starting from a rather low base in the late 1970s. From the 1980s, China was on a trajectory to becoming, to rapidly develop itself, so Pudong had the whole Chinese economy on its back and then it served as the interface between the whole Chinese economy and the global economy. So it played a very unique role in attracting international/foreign investments and then capitalizing domestic investments and domestic capacities, and linking up China's internal areas, the Yangtze River area and Eastern China area to the global economy.


So, this way Pudong gained a very big momentum for its own development. For the rest of the country, I think Pudong served as a very good example. Its success story was repeated or replicated in quite a few places later on. You see many cities all have their own development zones. Like Tianjing, you have this TAIDA Area. Chongqing has Liangjiang New District, and so on. This model of a major city economy opening up a new area for—and I want to mention Suzhou as well, Suzhou also had a new area of development. All these are new area models became quite a strong Chinese characteristic. Quite a large number of cities across the country adopted this Pudong model, you can say, and became economic centers in China. 


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Anchor: China is implementing this new development model where the domestic and foreign markets can boost each other with the domestic market as the mainstay, so what role do you think Pudong could play in China's new development plan?


Wang: Pudong will remain a very critical city, or model, or place for China's overall economic development. On the one hand, it will serve as the leader or as a frontier of domestic economic players or economic development and it will also remain a major interface between domestic China and the global economy. More specifically, in terms of driving up scientific and technological innovation, in terms of building up China's financial market and capital market, in terms of further integrating the Chinese economy with the global economy, Pudong will still be important. 


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Anchor: China has made it clear that this new development structure is not a closed domestic circulation, but a more open dual circulation between overseas and domestic markets. How do you understand this and what do you think this will mean to the rest of world?


Wang: In the face of some countries in the West, mostly the U.S. and some European countries are showing kind of inward looking tendency. They are retreating somehow from international and global integration. Also they are kind of carving up their own sphere of influence, you can say, and some people say they are trying to block China from access to the Western market. 


So, China's response is yes, we will continue to engage in the world economy. China will still be a major player trying to promote globalization and to integrate China and the world economy. Also the Chinese economy domestically is now big enough and strong enough, so there is enough space domestically to keep the economic momentum. So you know this change in the global situation forced China to think, yeah we should have a dual circulation model, but it does not mean that China will close off itself And for the rest of the world. 

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