New Mode of International Cooperation,Opens a New Chapter in Reform and Opening-up
    Late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping visited Singapore in November 1978 shortly before the 3rd Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the Party. He was greatly impressed by the beautiful, clean, and dynamic garden city, especially its urban construction and the Build-To-Order (BTO) system. During his southern inspection tour in 1992 (January 18 to February 21), he said: "Singapore's social order is rather good. Its leaders exercise strict management. We should learn from their experience, and we should do a better job than they do."
    The experience of Singapore in building up the country provided a role model for China's reform and opening-up, and promoted and resulted in the launching of Suzhou Industrial Park through China-Singapore cooperation, which subsequently create a brand-new mode of Sino-foreign economic and technological cooperation of mutual benefit.
        It took the Chinese government 14 years from the implementation of the policy of reform and opening up in 1978 to the decision on joining hands with Singapore in launching Suzhou Industrial Park.
        In December 1978, the 3rd Plenary Session of the 11th Party Central Committee made a significant decision on reform and opening up. In 1980, China set up four special economic zones in Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Shantou, and Xiamen. The application of some preferential policies then gradually expanded to Hainan Province, Shanghai Pudong, the areas along the Yangtze River and the coastal areas, as well as a series of inland cities. As a result, by the late 1980s, the multi-tier and all-directional opening-up pattern including both coastal and inland areas from the east to the middle and the west had taken shaped in the country.
        But during the process of attracting capital, advanced technologies, and management experience from foreign countries, China also took in some corrupt Western ideas and lifestyle with corrosive and damaging effect upon the Chinese society. Some leaders and people failed to see clearly the propriety of reform and opening-up policy, and some even debated on which to follow, socialism or capitalism. Then Deng Xiaoping, known as the general designer of China's reform and opening-up, gave his firm and inspiring answer to the question. When you open the window, he said, you'll let in air as well as flies and mosquitoes, but there are ways to handle this. He turned his eyes once again to Singapore, the small garden city in the South Pacific.
        Deng visited Singapore in November 1978 shortly before the 3rd Plenary Session of the 11th Party Central Committee. At that time, 13 years after its founding, Singapore had achieved initial prosperity based on its advantageous conditions of the world's sea transport hub and export-oriented economy. Jurong Town in close vicinity of a harbor, once a wasteland and a mash, was built into a five-square-kilometer industrial township with adequate infrastructure developed through large-scale land development by using foreign capital, as well as a series of modern factories including three large oil refineries, iron & steel, petrochemical, and ship-building facilities. In introducing capital, technologies, and professionals from foreign countries to realize rapid economic growth, Singapore managed to shut the door to possible negative impacts from the Western world and to maintain national cohesion, ethnic harmony, social stability, and cultural dignity.
        Lee Kuan Yew, the Prime Minister of Singapore at the time, introduced to Deng Xiaoping in detail the development of the country, its opening policy, and various measures for attracting foreign investment. The Chinese leader was greatly interested in the achievements of Singapore and impressed by the beautiful and clean garden city, especially its urban construction and BTO system. Since then, Chinese socialist construction has been closely related to Singaporean experience.
In 1988, China faced the problems of overheated economic growth and inflation. Deng admitted it to the visiting Lee that China was short of experience in reform but said China could learn things from others, such as Singapore.
        Deng toured the southern areas including Wuchang, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, and Shanghai during January 18 through February 21 in 1992 and made a series of important speeches on reform and opening up. When talking about the "four dragons" in Asia and the socialism with Chinese characteristics, Deng said: "we should not only aspire for economic prosperity but also maintain good social order and public conduct. We should overpass them in building both material and ethical civilizations and that is the socialism with Chinese characteristics. Singapore's social order is rather good. Its leaders exercise strict management. We should learn from their experience, and we do an even better job." His speeches got active response among Singaporean leaders.
        The visionary speech pointed out the right direction of China's reform and opening-up and had far-reaching significance. Singapore serves as a valuable role model in the sense that the country developed its economy with foreign capital but at the same time successfully avoided the negative Western impacts. To reinforce the tie with Singapore would reassure those with doubts on reforms and at the same time break the sanction imposed on China by Western world so as to develop socialist market economy. The farseeing national strategy and complicated international background made the founding of China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park possible.
        Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew visited Suzhou at the end of September 1992 and said before concluding his visit in China on October 8 that the two countries would find a place in Suzhou to develop a model project with Singapore experience for other Chinese cities and towns.
        The proposals made by the state leaders of both countries eventually led to the founding of Suzhou Industrial Park.
    Fortune favors the prepared mind. With the support from the central government, both Suzhou and Jiangsu Province tried their best in preparing for the project.
        On August 18, 1993, Suzhou Municipal Government submitted to the provincial government the Request for Learning Singaporean Experience and Management Software in Suzhou. The document elaborated on the four aspects of the significance of learning from Singapore, the city's advantages, the organization plan, and the ways of learning.
        On October 17, 1993, a State Council delegation composed of nine administrative authorities including the Special Zone Office of the State Council, Ministry of Public Security, Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council, Land and Resources Bureau, and Ministry of Construction arrived in Singapore for a 12-day visit and investigation. The delegation visited over 20 government offices and statutory bodies and had a comprehensive understanding on the development and administration of the country.
        From October 18 through 26, Jiangsu provincial government sent a delegation to Singapore and signed with Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry the MOU on Singapore Government Agencies Providing software of Singapore in Economic and Public Administration to Suzhou Municipality, according to which the two sides reached agreement on developing Suzhou Industrial Park with Singaporean experience. On December 26, the provincial government submitted to the State Council the Project Proposal on Suzhou Industrial Park, analyzing the economy and public administration experience of Singapore and listing the learning contents for a start.
        On December 26, 1993, the Special Zone Office of the State Council sent to the State Council an Investigation Report on Singapore and Suzhou Municipality Jointly Developing an Industrial Park and Transferring Administrative Software.
        On February 11, 1994, the State Council issued the Reply on Several Issues Concerning the Development and Construction of Suzhou Industrial Park, approving in principle "learning and absorbing independently and selectively the applicable experience of Singapore in economic and public administration in Suzhou Industrial Park.
The strategic decision made with a big picture in mind reflects the vision of the central government in taking comprehensive consideration of both domestic and international situations as well as the courage of emancipating the mind.
        At that time, Singapore had great confidence in the project. On February 22, 1994, Lee Kuan Yew told a reporter from Xinhua News Agency that he believed China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park would have a good prospect and they would transfer the economic administration software to SIP. In answer to the question of why Suzhou, he said the city was located in the developed Yangtze River Delta Area close to the regional leader of Shanghai and therefore enjoyed a favorable environment         for economic growth.
On February 26, 1994, China and Singapore officially signed in Beijing the Agreement on Joint Development of Suzhou Industrial Park. On the same day, Suzhou Municipal Government and Singapore Jurong Town Corporation signed the Agreement on Learning and Using Singapore's Experience in Economic and Public Administration.
        Lee Kuan Yew told the journalists that day that the project had his full support and that he was optimistic about it, for with the support from the leaders of both countries, there was no reason why it wouldn't be successful.
        The great journey of Suzhou Industrial Park thus started.