Sweech

Hassle-FREE Online Campaigns On Sweech

China’s Li can learn a lot from ex-premier Zhu’s reforms

Comment on this story


Of all the reporting trips I made in my Washington days, flying with Lawrence Summers to Beijing so he could kiss Zhu Rongji’s ring ranks among the most fascinating.

Anyone who has spent inside of five minutes with Summers knows he’s not the grovelling type. But this was in January 1998, when Summers was deputy secretary of the US Treasury, and Bill Clinton’s White House feared China would devalue the yuan and toss more fuel onto Asia’s already blazing crisis. Zhu, China’s reformist premier-in-waiting, was the man to see. Summers won pledges from Zhu not to weaken China’s currency and to keep Hong Kong’s dollar pegged to the US’s.

I’m reminded of the experience because the economic challenges China faced then are eerily similar to those it faces today. Looking at the problems, you might imagine the 15 years separating Zhu’s inauguration as premier in March 1998 and Li Keqiang’s last March never happened.

In the late 1990s, Zhu was the first visit of every foreign policymaker for a reason. He was the face of “new China” – a boisterous, confident, English-speaking technocrat who understood free-market language and was beyond reproach as a reformer. Summers said he viewed Zhu as China’s answer to Paul Volcker. And he’d be proved right. Like the former Federal Reserve chairman who defeated inflation of the late 1970s with harsh monetary medicine, Zhu threw out more than 40 million workers to trim the influence of state-owned companies.

Zhu saw China’s 2001 entry into the World Trade Organisation as a Trojan horse. Joining meant opening the economy and financial industry to foreign investment and, to an extent, international conventions of trade, intellectual property and environmental management. He didn’t view the internationalisation of the currency as a tool of financial hegemony but as a means of forcing change.

Everything changed when Zhu and his boss, President Jiang Zemin, retired in 2003. Their respective successors, Wen Jiabao and Hu Jintao, feared modernisation would jeopardise growth and fan social unrest. Where Zhu was a protege of Deng Xiaoping, who opened the economy in the 1970s and 1980s, Hu and Wen were more from the Mao Zedong mould. Reform died, free speech was curtailed, and state-owned enterprises reasserted their dominance over the economy. If Zhu had been marooned on a desert island during the Wen-Hu years and returned to Beijing today, he’d be excused for thinking little had changed. He’d find things worse off.

China is the second-biggest economy, has $3.5 trillion (R35.8 trillion) in currency reserves and spreads its largesse to win energy contracts and friends. But over the past 10 years, the economy has regressed as the state companies Zhu tried to tame used cheap capital to expand their grip and now impose a significant drag on growth.

So far, Li has displayed only one flash of Zhu-like bravado: a clampdown on credit in June that drove the benchmark interest rate to a record 12.45 percent.

The target was a shadow banking sector that has seen phenomenal growth and escapes supervision. The sector has encouraged an explosion of debt among state companies and local governments, while a plethora of wealth management products obscures the true level of liabilities.

Since then, Li has acted far more conservatively. Vested interests have grown as rapidly as debt over the past 15 years. Things were corrupt in Zhu’s day, but there were fewer Communist Party millionaires and billionaires defending the status quo. The bigger difference may be nerve. Zhu developed a reputation as a risk-taker during his days as mayor of Shanghai, where he made it easier for foreigners to start businesses. And, as the world is learning from his new book, Zhu’s pragmatism kept the Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing from spreading to China’s biggest city.

On the flight back, Summers recounted something Zhu had told him. The crisis slamming Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea and Thailand had educated China about the dangers of economic models that didn’t work. Fifteen years on, Chinese leaders seem to have forgotten those lessons. Li might want to pick up Zhu’s book and refresh his memory – fast.

William Pesek is a Bloomberg columnist.


sign up
 
 

Comment Guidelines



  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.

     

Join us on

IOL-Social networks IOL-Social networks IOL-Social networks IOL-Social networks
Xtine
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 38.
View Profile
Dreamer1987
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
dreamsoftly
I'm a 49 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 47 and 58.
View Profile
Believer001
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 45.
View Profile
Sosialemeis2
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 46.
View Profile
blondgirl
I'm a 57 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 53 and 60.
View Profile
veldmuis007
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 28 and 35.
View Profile
Natz79
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
Comet43
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 54.
View Profile
blom788
I'm a 25 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
KarooBoereMeisie
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 40.
View Profile
Athena
I'm a 37 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 37 and 45.
View Profile
AngelBabe1
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 39.
View Profile
itu22
I'm a 22 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 37.
View Profile
love_passionately
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
molletdelvalles
I'm a 39 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
chicky582
I'm a 25 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 30.
View Profile
HoopvolleToekoms
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 39.
View Profile
PixelFairy
I'm a 21 year old woman looking to meet men and women between the ages of 18 and 35.
View Profile
Diena_van_die_Eike
I'm a 49 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 49 and 62.
View Profile
profile01
I'm a 42 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 39 and 47.
View Profile
Belind4_M
I'm a 19 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 19 and 30.
View Profile
Lady66
I'm a 48 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 47 and 55.
View Profile
Lvit2C
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 27 and 39.
View Profile
AMy_303
I'm a 39 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
Viv42
I'm a 42 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 55.
View Profile
mystiqueZN
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 27 and 45.
View Profile
kristella
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 40.
View Profile
voelkos
I'm a 54 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 56.
View Profile
Gem24
I'm a 24 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 40.
View Profile
Duifie038
I'm a 45 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 36 and 50.
View Profile
Gem31
I'm a 24 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
Liefterdiefter
I'm a 48 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 63.
View Profile
iamclassy
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 50 and 62.
View Profile
Stella143
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 34 and 45.
View Profile
Lala_69
I'm a 45 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 59.
View Profile
CC82
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
Stiletto1
I'm a 53 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 50 and 57.
View Profile
_Alwayssmiling
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 41.
View Profile
Poppielap007
I'm a 23 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 29.
View Profile
ThisIsTheRemix
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 31 and 41.
View Profile
Ldp123
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 44 and 58.
View Profile
Omdraai
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 41 and 49.
View Profile
KayBee75
I'm a 39 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 49.
View Profile
Boulderhopper
I'm a 44 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 50.
View Profile
Smarag
I'm a 20 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 22 and 30.
View Profile
Pretty_Nerd
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 37.
View Profile
Lisa_Jayne
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 23 and 35.
View Profile
DaffodilTulip
I'm a 48 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
DelightfullyTipsy
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 38.
View Profile
Chanex
I'm a 20 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 23 and 26.
View Profile
AmaJ
I'm a 44 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 42 and 50.
View Profile
HottFoxx
I'm a 46 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 55.
View Profile
xine_414
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
AM1234
I'm a 41 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 46.
View Profile
KiTella
I'm a 31 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 29 and 42.
View Profile
SATYNTJIE
I'm a 52 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 60.
View Profile
Mianli
I'm a 31 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 40.
View Profile
Lulu_101
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 45.
View Profile
Liesie
I'm a 31 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 33 and 45.
View Profile
LuckyCharm_440
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 29 and 40.
View Profile
MustLoveDogz
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 33 and 43.
View Profile
Charms1203
I'm a 39 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
lenQ313
I'm a 19 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 22 and 28.
View Profile
ioio
I'm a 37 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
Elyn1980
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 42.
View Profile
Softberry
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 55.
View Profile
KaraatPlus
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 41 and 54.
View Profile
Gypsey4Life
I'm a 51 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 50 and 62.
View Profile
bluemon
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
JustLooking69
I'm a 56 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 50 and 60.
View Profile
ChatRouge
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 43.
View Profile
kim2702
I'm a 46 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 50.
View Profile
devotedlady
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 43 and 55.
View Profile
Rietjie007
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 46.
View Profile
Veronica2477
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
Grace62
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 33 and 42.
View Profile
Sugababe
I'm a 41 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 42.
View Profile
KissFromARose
I'm a 58 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 55 and 64.
View Profile
This_is_m3
I'm a 45 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 50.
View Profile
supe24
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 65.
View Profile
Kosmos075
I'm a 39 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
Isolabelle
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Seagull12
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 40.
View Profile
LOVINGLIFE417
I'm a 45 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 43 and 50.
View Profile
Blueyes_612
I'm a 40 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 36 and 45.
View Profile
ddb65
I'm a 49 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 50 and 60.
View Profile
Graciousheart
I'm a 47 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 44 and 56.
View Profile
butterflykisses14
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 31 and 51.
View Profile
pesin15
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
AGX
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 44.
View Profile
00butterflygirl00
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 28 and 36.
View Profile
OneWay
I'm a 39 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 47.
View Profile
Lemoenbloeisel
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
ContagiousLaughter
I'm a 41 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 37 and 44.
View Profile
Kwarenina
I'm a 47 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 42 and 52.
View Profile
foxy583
I'm a 20 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 20 and 27.
View Profile
PhoenixLin
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 42.
View Profile
lookingsexy200
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 34 and 45.
View Profile
thrillsandfrills
I'm a 40 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 41 and 45.
View Profile
audiess
I'm a 50 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 39 and 64.
View Profile
Double_N
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 50.
View Profile
DoctorSpin
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
annns
I'm a 51 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 56.
View Profile
happymaker66
I'm a 48 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Breukes
I'm a 35 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 26 and 35.
View Profile
letslook
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
gentlebutcrazy
I'm a 58 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
Ben_57
I'm a 57 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 42 and 55.
View Profile
Virion
I'm a 30 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 33.
View Profile
MAX_33
I'm a 55 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 33 and 53.
View Profile
TheRisingSun
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 40.
View Profile
rossi46
I'm a 66 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 55 and 65.
View Profile
Rumrun
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 44 and 56.
View Profile
CapeLover
I'm a 49 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 41 and 50.
View Profile
Marley77
I'm a 37 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 35.
View Profile
Free_Spirited
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 32 and 42.
View Profile
Boereman
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 52.
View Profile
Kent123
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 60.
View Profile
Fairtalk101
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Btt76
I'm a 38 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 42.
View Profile
big_guy_soft_heart
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 42.
View Profile
Cruisingoldie
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 50.
View Profile
Woody777
I'm a 50 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
WanderingShadow
I'm a 39 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 20 and 40.
View Profile
tigercat
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 22 and 54.
View Profile
Soulsearcher72
I'm a 42 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
OldGoat4400
I'm a 53 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 48.
View Profile
Stressfree
I'm a 58 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 42 and 52.
View Profile
Glorious_Quest
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 32 and 45.
View Profile
matiekat
I'm a 66 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
QuietDreamer
I'm a 34 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
TheDuke_99
I'm a 36 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 42.
View Profile
Mfactor
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 40.
View Profile
Red_Red_Wine
I'm a 61 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 39 and 59.
View Profile
koolstoof55
I'm a 59 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 63.
View Profile
Pete_1
I'm a 70 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 55 and 65.
View Profile
skyandsand
I'm a 31 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
WieEnWaar
I'm a 63 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 62.
View Profile
maybe_111
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 23 and 39.
View Profile
longingforu
I'm a 35 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 38.
View Profile
Gster1
I'm a 64 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 60.
View Profile
Stream_Net
I'm a 32 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 24 and 33.
View Profile
MAN_BOU
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 75.
View Profile
TheRealPeterPan
I'm a 35 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 35.
View Profile
Eugene053
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
ch_nb
I'm a 28 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 45.
View Profile
Tall_fun
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
niemandsland
I'm a 30 year old man looking to meet men between the ages of 28 and 40.
View Profile
B_B_B
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 45.
View Profile
Determined_69
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 47.
View Profile
oth1982
I'm a 32 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
JONGKEREL
I'm a 62 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 49 and 55.
View Profile
cloudhopper
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
WagOngeduldig
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
sailor_X897
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 60.
View Profile
Geard1977
I'm a 37 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 27 and 38.
View Profile
Romanticseb
I'm a 59 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 57.
View Profile
Kawa1000
I'm a 49 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
LoveFriendFirst123
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 72.
View Profile
heartroll
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 49 and 60.
View Profile
IceDad66
I'm a 48 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
philip_unplugged514
I'm a 62 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 65.
View Profile
boersoekvrou14
I'm a 39 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 42.
View Profile
Lifechanger_7
I'm a 25 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 30.
View Profile
Carden
I'm a 32 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 24 and 30.
View Profile
bellagio
I'm a 69 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 55 and 65.
View Profile
Bushbaby210
I'm a 27 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 21 and 35.
View Profile
Liefasb
I'm a 63 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 60.
View Profile
MOOLMAN
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 62.
View Profile
Rick1508
I'm a 49 year old man looking to meet women aged 39.
View Profile
Thebestone1
I'm a 57 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 52.
View Profile
FeaturedProfile
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 54.
View Profile
LEO1982
I'm a 32 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 24 and 40.
View Profile
Jurrels
I'm a 44 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 34 and 45.
View Profile
cornrlius205
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 50.
View Profile
arew
I'm a 49 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 55.
View Profile
srchinluv
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 46 and 65.
View Profile
Rich_H
I'm a 48 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 48.
View Profile
BobTheExtremeBuilder
I'm a 47 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 47.
View Profile
Mark_tv
I'm a 42 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
MysticKitesurfer
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 27 and 36.
View Profile
Summerstorm_007
I'm a 60 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 58.
View Profile
Espavo
I'm a 50 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 48.
View Profile
umustbsomewhere
I'm a 61 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
deeptime
I'm a 53 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 58.
View Profile
LiveLifeAlways
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 33 and 41.
View Profile
JustJve99
I'm a 47 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 45.
View Profile
Dreamzzz
I'm a 48 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 45.
View Profile
Yinyani
I'm a 57 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 55.
View Profile
Rebelinbluejeans
I'm a 62 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 62.
View Profile
oldschool_romantic
I'm a 26 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 19 and 31.
View Profile
waitingforgodot
I'm a 68 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 53 and 60.
View Profile
chester3
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 49 and 76.
View Profile
shadowwarrior
I'm a 59 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 38 and 55.
View Profile
AJK1110
I'm a 59 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 55.
View Profile
GenuineJ
I'm a 64 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 64.
View Profile
drurie
I'm a 66 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 60 and 66.
View Profile
50pluslooking
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
saks001
I'm a 61 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 47 and 59.
View Profile

Business Directory