Author: Lu Kewen source: official account: Lu Kewen studio has been authorized to reprint
In May 1978, Gu Mu, vice premier of the State Council, led more than 20 senior cadres in charge of economy to study in five Western European countries.
Among the more than 20 people, only Qian Zhengying, Minister of water resources, and a staff member have been abroad. They have never seen ground glass or eaten ice cream. The staff must remind that some people have broken their glasses in front of the glass.
The inspection team visited more than 20 cities in France, Switzerland, West Germany, Denmark and Belgium. In West Germany, they saw an open-pit coal mine with an annual output of 50 million tons, which only required 2000 workers, while we needed 160000 workers to complete the same output; In France, they saw an iron and steel plant with an annual output of 3.5 million tons, requiring only 7000 workers, while Wuhan Iron and Steel Co., Ltd. of the same period had an annual output of 2.3 million tons, requiring 67000 workers; In Switzerland, they saw a power station with an installed capacity of 25000 kilowatts, with only 12 employees, while the Jiangkou hydropower station in Jiangxi, with an installed capacity of 26000 kilowatts, had 298 employees.
When meeting President Scheer of West Germany at the Rhine River, Scheer introduced the busy Rhine River in West Germany, saying that their Rhine River is very hard-working. Gu Mu said that our Yangtze River is longer than the Rhine River, but the transportation volume is small. It is not that the Yangtze River is not hard-working, but that we have not done a good job.
Gu Mu later wrote in his memoirs that these five countries all took the lead in power supply. First, they used their own water power and coal to ensure energy supply, so that there was no shortage of electricity in these countries. We should take the lead in power supply, take decisive measures to speed up the development of hydropower, pay attention to the role of the Yangtze River and major inland rivers, pay attention to the construction of ports, railways and highways, and change the backward traffic situation.
The delegation returned on June 30 and gave a report in the great hall. From 3:30 p.m. to 11:15 p.m., all the listeners were moved.
The recommendations on hydropower and the Yangtze River in the report have deeply affected China’s development strategy.
In July, the State Council held another 20 day retreat meeting on accelerating the construction of four modernizations. Gu Mu said at the meeting that Comrade Xiaoping put forward the policy of technology import and foreign trade export in 1975. The international situation provides us with an opportunity to use the scientific and technological achievements of the capitalist world to develop ourselves. We must seize it. (source: Gu Mu’s memoirs)
Gu Mu’s visit made Chinese people deeply feel the gap with the world. In December of that year, the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee made the important decision of “taking economic construction as the center and implementing reform and opening up”.
By “the international situation provides opportunities”, Gu Mu means that the United States has taken the initiative to show goodwill to China.
After the outbreak of the fourth Middle East crisis in 1973, the United States helped Israel beat the Arab coalition forces, but the Arabs could not fight on the battlefield. But thinking of the magic weapon of oil fields at home, they were angry and united to reduce oil production and led the oil price to soar. The Soviet Union, which was standing on the side eating melons, unexpectedly obtained a huge amount of finance through oil exports. With the surplus money in hand, they were itched. They wanted to fight the United States to the end in the world’s export revolution.
The 1970s was the heyday of the Soviet Union. The main reason for the fiscal boom was the rise in oil prices.
At that time, the United States saw that the Soviet Union was aggressive, and the high oil price forced the United States and Europe to be tight. Therefore, the United States first planned to improve its relations with the Soviet Union and turn its enemies into relatives. The second plan was to unite with China to control the Soviet Union. After all, China was the second top position of the socialist camp, and Sino Soviet relations had been frozen for many years. Pulling China over could control the Soviet Union around.
Nixon’s visit to China in 1972 first drew closer relations with China and improved the hostile situation. However, it did not give China any real benefits. It only reserved communication channels and allowed China to introduce some projects (to be discussed later). It mainly focused on the first plan. China was only the spare wheel in their hearts. It was unexpected that in March 1977, US Secretary of state Vance visited the Soviet Union, focusing on the second phase of the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, However, Brezhnev coldly refused the proposal of reducing intercontinental ballistic missiles, and was unwilling to exchange visits with US President Carter. Vance was wronged and returned to China to complain, saying that the Soviet Union was determined to kill us. Brzezinski, the national security assistant of the president, put forward the plan of “uniting China to control the Soviet Union”. Carter sent Vance to Beijing in August.
However, this visit to China was stuck in the Taiwan issue. Vance demanded that China should not use force to solve the Taiwan issue. The United States should continue to sell arms to Taiwan. Xiaoping clearly stated that the United States could only “sever diplomatic ties, withdraw troops, and abolish the treaty.” this time, it was not possible.
In November, the Soviet Union celebrated the 60th anniversary of the victory of the October Revolution. For the first time, a statue of Brezhnev with the same system as Lenin’s statue appeared in the huge parade crowd. The Soviet Union’s morale was high, and Su xunzong’s momentum was great. Seeing that the Soviet Union was attacking and defending the United States, the United States tried to send Vance to China again for negotiations, but Brzezinski thought Vance was unreliable. He took the initiative to find Huang Zhen, director of the Chinese liaison office in the United States, and said that he wanted to visit China, After our side agreed, Huang Zhen formally invited Brzezinski to visit China at a luncheon. Old Brzezinski immediately agreed. Only in this way did Vance get rid of him.
In May 1978, at the same time that Gu Mu led his team to visit Western Europe, Brzezinski arrived in Beijing and held talks with Xiaoping. Old Bush was very sincere and agreed to the three principles for the establishment of diplomatic relations. The United States would sever diplomatic relations with Taiwan, withdraw all military forces from Taiwan, and abolish the “mutual defense treaty” between the United States and Taiwan. The biggest obstacle to the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States was finally broken.
The negotiations on the establishment of diplomatic relations lasted for half a year. At the beginning of December, various details were finally finalized. The two sides agreed to formally establish diplomatic relations on January 1, 1979, and issued a communique and statement at the same time.
The exact time when the detailed talks between China and the United States were completed was December 4, 1978, while the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee was held from December 18 to 22, 1978.
We officially announced reform and opening-up only nine days before the United States officially established diplomatic relations with us.
The original intention of reform and opening up is to open the door of the country and receive technology and funds from the Western camp.
However, this is not a unilateral handout from the west to us. It is a result of our huge market.
When Gu Mu reported back to China, he said, “most of the countries in Western Europe are friendly to China. Due to the surplus of capital, the technology needs to find a market, and the commodities need to find a market, so they all attach great importance to developing economic and trade exchanges with China. As long as we do our work well, many seemingly difficult things can be accomplished.”
For example, in 2021, a total of 190 million Xiaomi mobile phones were sold, with a total sales of 328.3 billion yuan. In order to produce and sell these 190 million mobile phones, there are 30000 people in Xiaomi headquarters and hundreds of thousands of workers in the OEM factory. The company’s shareholders hope that the stock will rise year by year, the company’s financial report hopes that the sales data will be better year by year, and the company’s employees hope that the salary will be higher year by year.
However, the products have a life cycle. In a few years, China has already had one mobile phone per person, and the market will soon be saturated. Then we have to sell them to India and Southeast Asia, so we can’t get bogged down with India and Southeast Asia. We hope they can open the market.
Industrialization is not just the building of a factory. It requires five major factors: population, technology, capital, market and energy. None of them is indispensable.
We are greedy for Western technology and capital, and the west is greedy for our population and market.
Reform and opening up is a mutual need, not a handout from others.
The context of history is actually one thing after another.
On January 28, 1979, 38 days after the announcement of reform and opening up and 28 days after the formal establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States, Deng Xiaoping left for Washington to begin his official visit to the United States.
It was the first day of the lunar new year, and the Andrews Air Force Base was mixed with rain and snow, and the cold wind was biting.
According to the diplomatic specifications of the United States, it is generally enough for a high-level official to meet a foreign head of state, and the Secretary of state should meet him in the center of Washington.
However, on that day, vice president Mundell and his wife, Secretary of state Vance and his wife, and a large number of US political figures all came to the scene to welcome Comrade Xiaoping.
When the motorcade passed through Pennsylvania Avenue, the houses in the streets were covered with five-star red flags.
The White House meticulously prepared a dinner to welcome Xiaoping. At the cultural evening held at the Kennedy Center, 100 children of different colors were specially arranged to sing “I love Beijing Tiananmen Square”.
At the White House press conference the next day, when the reporter asked about Vietnam, Xiaoping said:
The children are disobedient. It’s time to spank them.
On February 5, Xiaoping returned from his visit to the United States. Only 12 days later, on February 17, the self-defense counterattack against Vietnam broke out.
In a narrow sense, the war lasted only one month, and we quickly withdrew after achieving our strategic objectives. We also took back the materials that were originally placed 50 kilometers away from the Chinese border in North Vietnam. During the Vietnam War, the United States was worried about China’s participation in the war, and the air force dared not bomb the border between North Vietnam and China. So North Vietnam placed important industrial and mining enterprises and a large number of materials that China provided to Vietnam. Taking back the materials was also one of our goals.
This was followed by a ten-year round battle between the two mountains.
The main purpose of the “two mountains” war was to bring down the Soviet Union.
In order to confront China, Vietnam was forced to maintain a million troops. However, the population of Vietnam is only over 50 million, and it has just experienced war chaos. It is simply unable to support such a large-scale army. It relies on the strong support of the Soviet Union, providing a large amount of food, oil, and various military equipment such as MiG fighters and frigates every year.
From 1979 to 1984, more than 90% of Vietnam’s oil, steel and fertilizer, 95% of its cotton and 77% of its grain were supplied by the Soviet Union.
Later, the Soviet Union collapsed. In 1988, it no longer managed Vietnam. After the death of Li bamboo shoots in 1986, Vietnam replaced a new speaker, Nguyen Van Ling. At that time, Vietnam was already beset with internal and external difficulties, and inflation reached 1000%. Nguyen Van Ling asked the Lao leadership to Send a message to China to ask for reconciliation. In September 1990, Nguyen Van Ling arrived in Chengdu for talks, and the two sides reconciled.
The war against Vietnam is a special way for us to express our sincerity to the United States, and it is also one of the important reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union’s finances were exhausted by the manipulated fall of oil prices, the deliberate depreciation of the US dollar, the war in Afghanistan, and the two mountain wars in China.
When talking about reform and opening up, many Chinese intellectuals always add “China has opened its doors since then”.
It seems that before this, China has been actively closing its doors to the world.
In fact, new China has never taken the initiative to close its doors. The most serious period was the 18 years from 1960 to 1978, when it passively closed its doors.
In July 1960, the Soviet Union withdrew 1390 experts in China, terminated the dispatch of more than 900 experts, tore up 343 expert contracts, and abolished 257 scientific and technological cooperation. This marks that we have lost our industrial teachers since then, and also marks the break with the Soviet Union.
Until 1979, before the reform and opening up, we had no teachers for 18 years. Moreover, we were almost enemies of the United States and the Soviet Union. In order to protect a little industrial kindling that we could not easily obtain, “make preparations for superpowers to use atomic bombs or bombers to destroy our coastal areas”, we could not concentrate all our industries on the northeast and eastern coasts. We were forced to start the third line construction in 1965 to integrate energy, aviation Weapons and other industries have moved to the southwest, northwest and central China, and a large number of air raid shelters have been dug throughout the country to store materials.
The cost of the third line construction is extremely high, and about 200 billion yuan has been spent in 15 years, making the national finance unbearable.
Financial overdraft will lead to social conflicts, so the most turbulent period after the founding of new China was concentrated in the 18 years from 1960 to 1978.
The stage of passively closing the country’s doors is the most difficult stage for the state’s finance, and also the stage of being unable to receive technology and funds, and the most difficult stage for the people’s lives.
China has never taken the initiative to close its doors. We have always been modest and studious students. It is only when others teach us something but also want our sovereignty that we firmly choose sovereignty.
After the end of World War II, the whole world was divided into the cold war camp. Every new country was forced to choose between the Soviet Union and the United States. Either the Soviet Union or the United States was the teacher. If a big country like China did not make a choice, it would be isolated by the two factions, unable to obtain industrial resources, and unable to upgrade from an agricultural country to an industrial country.
At the beginning of the founding of the people’s Republic of China, we chose the Soviet Union and followed the Soviet Union’s industrial system. Most of the factories were at the industrial level of the Soviet Union in 1947. Through the war to resist US aggression and aid Korea, we gained the trust of the Soviet Union’s allies and obtained 156 industrial projects. Before that, China was a traditional agricultural country with several thousand years of history. From the Westernization Movement to the Republic of China, industrialization was difficult to move. Most of the cities were agricultural cities, and it was impossible to manufacture special steel Power stations, cars, airplanes, etc. only with the hands-on instruction of the Soviet Union can we truly have the foundation of industry.
This is a groundbreaking event in Chinese history.
After several years of cooperation with the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union replaced its new leader, Khrushchev. The other side felt that it had given too much and asked China to build a long wave radio station and a joint fleet.
The long wave radio is a device that sends instructions to the underwater submarines of the Navy. At that time, China did not have an advanced ocean going submarine force, so the establishment of the radio was to serve the Soviet Union’s navy. The Soviet Union would send troops to China to garrison, and the troops of other countries would appear on China’s land.
The joint fleet also means that our navy was extremely weak at that time. This fleet was actually the Soviet Union’s fleet. After its establishment, the Soviet Union’s navy will be distributed in China’s waters, and the eastern coast will be under the actual control of the Soviet Union.
What the Soviet Union meant was that if it wanted to continue to take resources from us, it had to surrender sovereignty.
We firmly refused.
The ultimate goal of China’s revolution from generation to generation is to build an independent, rich and powerful country. When the interests of the moment and the sovereignty of the country need to be chosen, we will never cede sovereignty.
This decision made us pay a heavy price. Since all the heavy industry and military industry undertaken by the Soviet Union in the early stage, there is no project that can make money abroad. After breaking away from the Soviet Union, we are also in a hostile state with the United States. The two financial routes of the East and the West are cut off at the same time, and the construction of the third line makes the financial expenditure of our country difficult. Therefore, the quality of life of the people has been at a low level and the living standard has been slightly improved, It was also because of the fourth Middle East crisis, when the oil price soared, that we also took the opportunity to sell a wave of oil for foreign exchange, and introduced 26 large-scale industrial projects from Europe, America and Japan with us $4.3 billion (actually more than US $4.3 billion), mainly related to chemical fertilizer and chemical fiber, which increased the output of grain and promoted the “Dacron” among the civilian class. Therefore, this program is also called the “four three program”.
The four three program was implemented in 1973, while Nixon visited China in 1972. Without the nod of the United States, even if there were money, it would be impossible for the European, American and Japanese countries to sell equipment to China. This also shows the importance of China’s choice between the United States and the Soviet Union. Only by maintaining harmony with one of the two world leaders can we ensure the continuous improvement of the people’s quality of life.
Simple pro Soviet and anti Soviet, pro american and anti American will not be comprehensive.
To simply deny the suffering caused by safeguarding sovereignty in the first 30 years, or to simply deny the gap between the rich and the poor caused by reform in the last 40 years, is to look at the problem one sidedly.
No matter how excellent people are, they also have shortcomings. Everything has two sides. We should look at problems in a comprehensive and comprehensive way.
China was originally an agricultural country and needed to find an industrial teacher to absorb nutrition. However, both teachers intended to control our sovereignty when transferring knowledge to us.
The Soviet Union needs us and transfers industries to us. It needs a strong ally against the United States; The United States needs us because it was unable to withstand the Soviet Union’s attack at its peak in the 1970s and needs us to help break up the Soviet Union.
Our relationship with the United States and the Soviet Union has always been one of mutual need and interdependence, not one of charity and sympathy.
After giving us certain resources, the Soviet Union directly wants our land, while the United States wants to control our spirit.
One is physical attack and the other is magic attack.
We have received 156 projects from the Soviet Union, and at the same time, we have also received the shortcomings of bureaucracy and rigid system, because learning from the Soviet Union is a matter of learning both hardware and software, and their management style is also a matter of learning; We have received light industry from Europe and the United States, and at the same time we have received a large number of literary and artistic elements who submit to Europe and the United States. Because learning from Europe and the United States is also learning from both hardware and software. When doing business with European and American people, we can be guided by their laws and aesthetics.
In the northeast, I can still see that the rigid bureaucratic thinking has not dispersed for a long time, which is a trace left by the Soviet Union; In the literary and art circles, all kinds of lawyers, writers, painters and directors still worship the American values. Anyone who dares to question the American values is the public enemy of mankind. This trend of thought can not be washed away, and all kinds of demons and moths continue to exist. This is a trace left by the United States.
As long as it can make China progress, it is acceptable to have some side effects. There is no perfect thing in this world. These are also contradictions among the people, not life and death.
Our relations with the Soviet Union broke down in 1960. In 1982, Brezhnev made a slight relaxation in the Tashkent speech. It was not until Gorbachev’s visit to China in 1989 that we reconciled. However, in 1991, the Soviet Union died. This teacher taught us for 10 years and was hostile to us for 29 years.
Our relations with the United States have been antagonistic from 1949 to slightly eased in 1972, and diplomatic relations were formally established in 1979. The two sides have been antagonistic for 23 years, but since 2019, they have begun to move towards a semi confrontational mode, and the middle has been eased for 40 years.
From 1960 to 1979, we had no teachers, and we had a very hard time. It was the most difficult period in New China. A large number of acute social problems arose. The 19 years of suffering brought about China’s complete sovereignty today, and China’s military and economic development.
In May 1978, Gu Mu, vice premier of the State Council, led more than 20 senior cadres in charge of economy to study in five Western European countries.
In that year, China imported the 1947 industrial technology from the Soviet Union, which was already very backward and had a generation gap with other countries in the world. After we opened the door, we introduced foreign technology and funds, and were also hit by foreign products in urgent need of markets. Ten years later, a large number of factories had no sales and began to close down, leading to the strike hard in the 1980s and the wave of laid-off workers in the 1990s.
We have re opened two important industrial areas in the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta by using the market for technology. We have started anew, adapted to the new generation of industrial environment, and thrived to become the largest industrial country today.
Pain is like a shed skin. It is a trace of history and a national epic.