Caixin
Aug 27, 2020 02:45 PM

社论 | 深圳40年的启示 Editorial: China Needs More Cities Like Shenzhen (Bilingual)

The Pingan International Financial Center in Shenzhen in 2018.
The Pingan International Financial Center in Shenzhen in 2018.

本月,深圳经济特区迈入第40个年头。从一个荒僻的边陲小城到繁荣的一线城市,从改革开放初期GDP不足2亿元,到2019年逼近2.7万亿元,敢为天下先的深圳是中国改革开放的先行者,也是最佳诠释者。回望过去的40年,拓荒不止的深圳,犹如一面镜子,映射出中国体制的变迁和区域发展的起落。在新的历史时期,深圳依然被寄予厚望,同时面临诸多巨大挑战。

This month, the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone will celebrate its 40th birthday. In that time, Shenzhen has gone from a provincial backwater to one of China’s richest first-tier cities, increasing its GDP from a mere 200 million yuan in 1980 to nearly 2.7 trillion yuan last year.

Shenzhen is a true pioneer of Chinese reform and opening, and also its best example. Looking back on the last 40 years, the southern Chinese city’s progressiveness has acted as a kind of mirror reflecting the path of China’s systemic transformation and the highs and lows of regional development. In a new historical period, Shenzhen remains a bastion of home, while simultaneously facing all sorts of massive challenges.

起初,特区之“特”,主要在于政策优势。“中央没有钱,你们自己去搞,杀出一条血路来”是嘱托,也是授权。在“政策洼地”的优势逐渐削弱乃至抹平后,深圳依然能够保持稳定持续发展,说明深圳的成功绝非依赖特殊政策,而是靠自身的真功夫。梳理深圳历史,可以看出一条清晰的脉络:无论是经济特区建立初期破除重重阻力,还是邓小平南方谈话后的加速发展,以及进入新世纪后的转型升级,尊重企业和劳动者,尽可能赋予市场主体更多自主权,深圳均一以贯之。通过细致入微的政府服务,深圳营造了比较宽松自由公平的营商环境,成为创业创新的一方沃土。较好地处理了政府与企业的关系,是深圳崛起的基本经验,也是当下深圳最值得其他地方借鉴之处。

To start with, the “special” in “special economic zone” mainly lies in its policy advantages. Deng Xiaoping’s famous exhortation that “China has no money, so you must go make some — cut open a vein to let it in” gave Shenzhen that authority. That advantage gradually diminished in subsequent years as other parts of China also opened up, but Shenzhen was still able to retain stable, sustainable growth, showing that its success did not just come down to particular policies, but also to its own merits.

A clear thread runs through Shenzhen’s history. The city has always done its utmost to grant more autonomy to market entities, as seen in the way the economic zone’s establishment initially broke though significant obstacles, in Deng’s call to accelerate its development during his famous 1992 southern tour, in the zone’s transformation and upgrade during the 21st century, and in its respect for business and workers.

Thanks to meticulous government support, Shenzhen has created a relatively hands-off, free and fair business environment, and become a fertile ground for innovation. The city’s experience of managing the relationships between private enterprise and the state has been key to its rise, and it provides the most salient lessons for other places in China.

  

如今,在深圳,政府、企业和市民之间的良性互动形成了一个共生生态。与当初外在的政策优势相比,三方共同打造的符合市场规律的营商环境更具有内在生命力。其中,企业是主体,政府是主导。不仅有世界级的企业为深圳创建“总部经济”,还有千千万万中小微企业在新陈代谢。在地方政府中,深圳较早地具有了边界意识、服务意识,虽然至今存在不少短板,但相对走在了前列。近年来,深圳市提出,“群众和企业办什么事烦,就把什么列入改革的范围;办什么事难,就把什么纳入必须解决的范畴。”这是值得推广的。

Today, Shenzhen boasts a mutually beneficial environment characterized by positive interactions between the government, businesses and citizens. Compared with its original extrinsic policy advantages, those three parties have built a market-based business environment that possesses intrinsic dynamism.

Within that framework, businesses are the main protagonists, while the government acts as an overall guide. Not only do world-class businesses set up headquarters in Shenzhen, but so do any number of vibrant micro, small and midsize ones.

In local government terms, Shenzhen was one of the earliest places to embrace limits on state reach and a service-oriented mentality. Although the city’s model still has many shortcomings, it remains one of China’s most progressive. In recent years, the Shenzhen municipal government has adopted an attitude of simplifying all tasks that businesses and individual citizens find difficult or cumbersome — a policy that other localities would do well to study.

深圳的发展也非一帆风顺,始终在争议中前行。特区创立之初,主政者们用“上前线”“改革必伴热血流”等描述来表明心志,也足证创业艰难。虽经思想解放运动,但在极“左”思潮仍令人心悸之时,冲破体制机制桎梏,自然会冒极大风险。每到发展的关键时刻或遇到关键问题,总会招致不解和非议。“租界论”“姓社还是姓资”的诘难乃至“违宪”的质疑,均曾掀起滔滔声浪。进入新世纪后,“深圳,你被谁抛弃”的网络悲情文章,也曾引发关于特区之特的大讨论。然而,虽屡陷争论,深圳的改革不仅没有倒退,反而更加坚定了市场化改革的方向。可以说,每次争论都为深圳赢来一轮思想解放,经济社会发展也踏上新台阶。

Shenzhen’s development has not always run smoothly. From the start, it has proceeded amid controversy. When the economic zone was first built, policymakers referred to it as “the frontlines” and said “reform must accompany blood, sweat and tears,” reflecting the difficulties in revving up businesses there.

Although many officials moved away from the ultra-leftist thinking of the late 1970s and early ’80s and came to recognize the value of a market-based economy, Shenzhen still had to break through systemic and regulatory shackles and run extreme risks.

Whenever the city came to an inflection point in its development or hit a major snag, it always kicked up discord and criticism. People asked whether Shenzhen was another treaty port of the kind established by foreign colonial powers in China during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Others questioned whether an area designed to increase capital flows could ever be called socialist. Still more decried it as “unconstitutional.”

But despite all the arguments, Shenzhen continued along its reformist path and even adopted market-based policies more decisively than before. It might be said that every controversy heralded a new round of ideological liberation for the city, allowing it to take its economy and society to new heights.

深圳是改革开放的一座丰碑,其意义不限于一隅。它不仅是全国改革开放的“拓荒牛”,还是“领头羊”。早期的制度创新数不胜数。即使在市场经济被确立为中国经济体制改革的目标后,其探索也未止步,例如,1998年前后深圳在全国率先开始了审批制度改革。当前,深圳又承担起建设中国特色社会主义先行示范区的重任,实施创新驱动发展战略,构建现代产业体系,形成全面深化改革开放新格局。人才、技术、资本等的充分流动,是市场的选择,背后又离不开体制机制革新的基础建设。深圳应该倍加珍惜成功经验,坚定地全面深化改革,“社会主义现代化强国的城市范例”对深圳的要求是全方位的。

Shenzhen is a monument to reform and opening up whose significance cannot be understated. It represents not just the vanguard of China’s economic transformation, but the leading example around which other reforms have been arranged.

In the early years, Shenzhen bore witness to a succession of systemic innovations. Even after the market economy had been established as the ultimate goal of China’s reforms to its economic system by the central government, Shenzhen still has acted as a bold explorer. For instance, from around 1998 Shenzhen became the first place in China to streamline its approval system.

Currently, the city has taken on the significant responsibility of building a pilot zone for socialism with Chinese characteristics. It is also implementing a development strategy to boost innovation, establishing modern systems of production, and forming a new model for deepening comprehensive reform and opening.

The abundant flow of human talent, technology and capital are the bedrock of the market, but they are backed up by a basis of systemic and regulatory reform. Shenzhen should redouble its valuable experiences of success and resolutely and comprehensively deepen reform. The demands of the pilot zone are all-encompassing for the city.

打造良好的营商环境,不是靠文件落实文件,而是要有具体的落地举措,从细节中见精神。法治政府不能停留在口号上。把权力关进制度的笼子,压制住“权力搅买卖”的冲动,要触动灵魂,更需要体制机制保障。近年来,中国经济呈现南强北弱态势,企业和人才纷纷东南飞,很大程度上是在用脚为各地的营商环境投票。有些地方,也在学习中央改善营商环境的文件,甚至组队赴深圳考察,却总是学不到精髓,见不到实效。是不能还是不愿,引人深思。

Creating favorable business conditions does not depend on implementing actions on paper, but on undertaking specific, detailed measures that capture the right spirit. Government by rule of law cannot be just a slogan. Erecting barriers to official overreach and suppressing the urge to interfere in the market requires systemic and regulatory safeguards.

In recent years, China’s southern regions have enjoyed stronger economic development than the North. Companies and professionals have converged on the southeast, largely due to its better business environment. Some local governments have studied central policy documents on improving the habitat for entrepreneurs, and have even sent teams to inspect Shenzhen. But they seem to internalize little of the city’s essence, leading to muted results. We must reflect on whether they are unable or simply unwilling to recreate Shenzhen’s success.

应该承认,深圳仍面临不少挑战,方方面面的体制也有待完善。即以营商环境而言,它立志向国际一流水平看齐,但仍存在显著的差距。有些问题,企业和市场抱怨较多,当地政府也坦然承认,例如,政务服务水平仍有较大提升空间;“大城市病”治理还面临不少难题;生产经营成本较高,工业厂房、商品住房的租金和价格节节上涨;民生保障还存在不少短板,优质教育和医疗资源相对不足,社会办学、办医的潜力未充分发挥。这些问题背后实际上仍是亟待摆脱的深层次的体制羁绊。

It should be said that Shenzhen still faces many challenges. Several aspects of its systems are awaiting further improvement. To take the business environment as an example, Shenzhen aims to keep up with the world’s best, but constantly falls short in certain respects.

Certain problems, such as the substantial room for improvement in the field of government services, have been bugbears for both businesses and markets for some time, and the local government has even admitted fault for them. Others include the difficulties governing an increasingly sprawling urban area; the high production and operation costs; rising factory, store and home rents; and inadequate safeguards for people’s livelihoods, high-quality education, and medical resources. In practice, behind all these issues lie deep-rooted systemic ties that must be relinquished.

深圳的发展系于国家民族命运。40年前,路线、方针、政策的转变,使得它从防务前沿,变得极具区位优势。它赶上了中国改革开放突飞猛进的好时候。今天,深圳站在了更高的平台。在全球化遭遇挫折、国际关系不确定因素增多的背景下,深圳欲求得进一步发展,无疑需要有更宽的视野和胸襟,需要进一步解放思想,不唯书、不唯上、只唯实。它将是世人检验中国“改革不停顿、开放不止步”承诺的一把标尺。中国需要更多的深圳,国家的整体发展也将从根本上塑造深圳的未来。

Shenzhen’s development is tied to the fate of the Chinese people. Forty years ago, transformations in the party line and policy turned the city near Hong Kong from a defense outpost into a regional hub.

Today, Shenzhen sits on a higher plane. Against the background of beleaguered globalization and uncertain international relations, Shenzhen must develop even more. Certainly, it needs to take a wider view, further liberalize its thinking, and focus on practical results. The city is a yardstick for the world to evaluate China’s commitment to continued reform and opening. China needs more Shenzhens, and the country’s overall development will also inform the course the city takes in the future.

The Chinese version of this article was published in Caixin Weekly on Aug. 10, 2020, and is only available for Caixin Global’s app users. To unlock more bilingual articles, download the Caixin app.

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