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Xiangshan People proposed the construction of “Special Economic Zone” ahead of others

After ten-year catastrophe, China’s national economy was almost on the brink of collapse. In this circumstance, the primary task for the Party was to revive economy and improve people’s livelihood. After inspection in Hong Kong, Macao, European countries and America, officials at all levels submitted to the central government an Investigation Report on Economy in Hong Kong and Macao. It was highlighted in the Report that the advanced equipment and technology in developed countries played a vital role for the development of Hong Kong and Macao’s economy. It was also put forward in the Report that with the experiences learned from Hong Kong and Macao, Bao’An and Zhuhai in Guangdong Province could be developed into export bases, and gradually constructed into a considerable foreign production base, processing base and a tourist area which attracts Hong Kong and Macao guests.

In April, 1979, after the report by the relevant officials of Guangdong Province, Deng Xiaoping said: “Right! We should build a special economic zone. In the past, Shanxi-Gansu-Ningxia Border was a special zone! Since the central government doesn’t have money, it is your task to establish a special economic zone and fight a way out!” Through sufficient research and sound demonstration, the Regulations of Shenzhen Special Economic Zone was put forward by the State Council and was approved by the 15th meeting of the 5th Session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on August 26, 1980, announcing the establishment of three Special Economic Zones in Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Shantou. General Designer’s assumption has turned into reality. As was stated by the New York Times with moderate amazement: The iron curtain was pulled open, and the bell of great Chinese revolution is ringing loudly…

This history is still well-known for it happens at the beginning of China’s reform and opening up. Generally speaking, the establishment of special economic zone is the proposal and pioneering work of Comrade Deng Xiaoping. However, a browse of Compilation of Xiangshan Documents in Ming and Qing Dynasties would tell us that this is not definitely accurate. In the late Qing Dynasty and the early years of the Republic of China, Xiangshan People have proposed the idea of establishing “special economic zone”.

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