What has SIP Brought to China?
Back in 1993, when Singapore proposed to establish Suzhou Industrial Park, Senior Minister Lee Kwan Yew predicted that it would a "cooperation project of unprecedented scale".
Public administration of Singapore, generally acknowledged to be the most efficient in Asian, was transplanted to a Chinese region by a "through train", to assist the development and administration of SIP, an 80-km2 experimental plot combining industries, commerce and residential quarters.
While going all out to attract foreign investment, introduce technologies, and turn out GDP, SIP has over the years created an added value, namely, a team of competent Party and government cadres trained and tempered through modern administration.
Prominently in the newly elected 17th CPC Central Committee are Party officials who participated in the construction of SIP.
Wang Min, the former Secretary of CPC Suzhou Municipal Committee, rose to member of the Central Committee, skipping over alternate membership. Now aged 57, he has been repeatedly promoted since 2002, when he took up the leading position in Suzhou, and he already has the background of being governor and Party secretary of Jilin Province.
Chen Deming, the party secretary of Suzhou before Wang Min, is now alternate member of CPC central committee. The 58-year-old Chen was secretary of CPC Suzhou Municipal Committee, and concurrently Secretary of SIP Party Working Committee, and Chairman of China-Singapore SIP Stock Co., Ltd. When he left Suzhou, he was promoted to acting governor of Shaaxi Province, governor of Shaaxi Province, and now a vice-chairman of National Development and Reform Commission.
Liang Baohua, the current governor of Jiangsu Province, is another member of CPC Central Committee with the background of SIP. The 62-year-old Liang was the secretary of CPC Suzhou Municipal Committee in the 90s, and later promoted to be deputy secretary of CPC Jiangsu Provincial Committee and vice-governor of Jiangsu. He became acting governor in 2002 and governor in 2003. Due to the official background of Liang, Chen, and Wang, Suzhou was reputed as the "cradle of provincial governors".
Apart from adaptation of experience in administration, SIP played the role of experimental base for financial innovations on many occasions. China-Singapore Hi-tech Fund, one the of 5 major funds approved by the State Council with a total scale of 55 billion RMB, is primarily oriented to investment in SIP.
The value of SIP lies in the fact that the time has been greatly shortened for China to explore advanced experience in administration from the outside world. In the words of Lee Kwan Yew, it is a simplified process of mutual benefit, "otherwise, why should a vice-premier of a country with 1.3 billion population sit together with a deputy prime minister of country with a population of only 3 million and co-chair a meeting on cooperation?"
Nov. 23, 2007