Ella Chou has translated part of the recently published four-volume collection of materials on Zhu Rongji. Here’s a great rant, and go read some more.
ZHU: (Reminded the Americans that China made concession even before April on the agricultural sector.) You come here this time, saying U.S. is making an unprecedented compromise; China is not responding correspondingly; and you are throwing tantrums all over this. I’ll make one point: you don’t know how much concession we’ve made in agriculture. I am blamed by the people in the entire country for this, do you know that?I reiterate that I will never back away from the concession we’ve made in agriculture, but if we cannot reach an agreement this time, we will never ever make any compromise on the agricultural front!(On the Two 51% issue — share of foreign investment in telecommunication and insurance industries) I still think that the “two 51%” issue is not a big problem. I have said this again and again, and to Mr. Summers too, blowing an agreement for a couple of percentage is very stupid. The percentage of foreign investment in insurance companies we have approve so far is as high as 49% sometimes, and sometimes 50%, sometimes even 51%; you could check to see what difference it makes? Not at all! Even for those with 49%, it could be managed by the foreign partner. That’s why the couple of percentages don’t make any actual difference. But why are we insisting on this? Not to go back on our words, but the situation has changed. First of all, it’s because you shouldn’t bomb our Embassy in Yugoslavia… Chinese have always thought that the telecommunication and insurance industries are of vital interests [to the nation]. They think that if I agree to 51%, I’m selling out China’s interests – even though I don’t think so. From there on, a rumor is spreading in and outside of China that “Zhu Rongji is going to quit; [he] is going out of office.” That’s a complete unfounded. But the truth is I’m criticized by all sides. Such criticism comes from the people – they don’t understand the real situation. You don’t understand our public opinion. If I’m not in China, but in the U.S., I would be out of office long ago. Now I have to stick to the “two 51%” in order not to fail the entire population. So I’m happy that you no longer insist on the “two 51%” issue, though it doesn’t have any practical impact, you indeed helped me out on this one. You could tell your insurance industry people that 51 or 50% aren’t really different. I have more friends in the American insurance industry than you do. There is not one big insurance company that I do not know; they’ve all come to me before. They’ll understand.