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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 14, 1987

NOTE ABOUT A MEETING OF COMRADE DR. HERBERT WEIZ WITH COMRADE LI PENG, ON 14 MAY 1987

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    Both sides report on current economic conditions in their respective countries and discuss plans for future cooperation, specifically in science and technology.
    "Note about a Meeting of Comrade Dr. Herbert Weiz with Comrade Li Peng, on 14 May 1987," May 14, 1987, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, BStU, ZA, HA XVIII, 18262. Translated by Bernd Schaefer. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/209562
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[Ministry for State Security of the GDR]

[Main Department XVIII]

[14 May 1987]

Note

About a Meeting of Comrade Dr. Herbert Weiz[1], Member of the Central Committee of the SED, Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers the GDR, and Minister for Science and Technology, with Comrade Li Peng[2],  Member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CCP and Deputy Prime Minister of the State Council of the PR China, on 14 May 1987 [in Beijing][3]

Comrade Dr. Weiz thanked for the opportunity of his visit to the People’s Republic of China and the meeting with Comrade Li Peng. He expressed his sympathy with regard to the forest fires in the North of the People's Republic of China. He was hoping the damages can be limited to a minimum.

Comrade Dr. Weiz underlined that his visit is serving the purpose to implement a long-term agreement between the GDR and the People's Republic of China, which had been signed by Comrades Günter Mittag and Li Peng during the visit of Comrade Erich Honecker in October 1986 in China.

Comrade Dr. Weiz brought cordial greetings from Günter Mittag[4] which Li Peng reciprocated in kind.

Comrade Dr. Weiz emphasized that cooperation between the GDR and the People's Republic of China has developed well. Especially the visit by Comrade Erich Honecker to the People's Republic of China in October 1986 has launched a new phase in relations between both states. Party and Government of the GDR are constantly working for the development of relations between the GDR and the PR China. He has the mandate from the Government of the GDR to do everything to contribute towards the development of mutually advantageous and good relations. Such relations will contribute towards the strengthening of socialism and thus also to securing the peace.

Comrade Dr. Weiz provided an overview of the efforts by the GDR in the area of developing the economy; in order to prove that socialism is the better system for society where the people can live safely and pleasantly. Despite a harsh winter, planning targets have been achieved during the first months of the year. He explained the successes in the continuing increase of work productivity, the development of science and technology, and the latter’s connection to production as a basic factor for the economic development of achievements; he also explained the amount of financial expenses for science in the GDR and methods of their distribution. The objective of scientific research is always to gain direct benefit for society and the economy. He referred to the need to train highly qualified workers. Citing several facts, he proved the positive effect of applying science and technology also to agriculture. Life in the countryside has permanently improved,  this is why today the village is having a major attractive appeal.

Looking at what he saw during his visit in the PR China, Comrade Dr. Weiz could state that in many respects both countries are pursuing the same scientific-technological goals. It also was the purpose of this visit to gather information about scientific research in the PR China in order to draw conclusions on opportunities to cooperate. The delegation has learned and seen a lot, numerous talks were held with scientists. One has noted that remarkable results have been achieved. Comrade Dr. Weiz is convinced that the GDR can be a good partner for a cooperation with the PR China. There are good opportunities for mutual give and take, for instance in the fields of materials, especially ceramic ones, laser technology, and in other important areas.

Comrade Dr. Weiz acknowledged the positive role for the development of scientific-technological cooperation between the GDR and the PR China played by the visit of State Commissar and Director of the State Science and Technology Commission, Song Jian[5], in the GDR in 1986. The foundations for cooperation in scientific-technological fields have been explored and agreed upon, the Joint Commission has begun its work. The long-term agreement extends to 33 thematic complexes, numerous personal contacts have been developed. Conditions do exist for direct collaboration between partner institutions to solve concrete tasks.

Comrade Dr. Weiz cordially thanked again in conclusion for the great hospitality shown to his delegation. The delegation has had unforgettable impressions and found true friends. It is returning with many thoughts and inspirations, which one will thoroughly evaluate. The foundation for good cooperation has been laid.  

Comrade Li Peng thanked for the sympathy expressed by Comrade Dr. Weiz regarding the forest fires. The visit by Comrade Dr. Weiz has further strengthened the collaboration between both countries in the area of science and technology. There are different strands of scientific-technological research in China: the research institutes of the Academy of Sciences; research institutions of ministries, local organs and factories; and research institutes of universities. Together they assemble a good potential. A respective Central Committee decision is orienting scientific research towards the economy. However, basic research has also to be considered. The latter is especially relevant to China as a developing country. It is important to stimulate the researchers in the field of scientific research and to create conditions so that it becomes impactful.

The Plan ‘Spark’ has the task to introduce scientific-technological results into agriculture. In the industry one is currently in the process of establishing “factory clusters”. Through such clusters of factories the scientific potential of the industry also becomes stronger. Research institutes could be integrated in such “factory clusters”; you could also establish loose ties between scientific institutions and other factories. Material results of such collaboration will be beneficial to both sides. The factories have also the option though to achieve scientific research results through their own capacities. Successes having been achieved in China are primarily results of our own efforts. However, one can also trace them back to introductions of modern findings in the context of the policy of opening up.

There does exist progress, as well as there are deficits in China’s development. Progress is an expression of the correctness of the course of the 3rd Plenum [of the CCP Central Committee] in late 1978. China emphasizes the need to keep the four basic principles, of which maintaining the socialist path and the leadership of the party are the most important. At the same time we are also sticking with the policy of opening up and reform. Both sides are building a unity, none of them is dispensable. The delegation of the GDR has seen very good regions. However, in China there are also still very poor and backward regions where the food and clothes problem has not been resolved yet. Achieving the objective to reach an average per capita national income of 1,000 Dollar in the year 2000 requires us to continue with the policy of opening up. The opening is also bringing negative ideological tendencies into the country, in part those are also emerging in the country itself. One does emphasize the four basic principles to guarantee a healthy ideological development.

China is a very large country. Therefore it is not possible to steer everything from Beijing. Delegation of powers down to lower levels does not mean the abandonment of planning. On the macro-level planning has to be guaranteed.

The tendency of bourgeois liberalization in late 1986 and the subsequent change in the position of the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CCP has raised the question of political stability in China. Comrade Li Peng can assure that the situation is politically and economically stable. The mistakes committed by the former General Secretary[6] of the Central Committee of the CCP touched upon the maintaining of the four basic principles. One does not have abandoned the policy of reform and opening up, however one is fighting against the bourgeois liberalization.

In conclusion, Comrade Li Peng praised the visit of Comrade Erich Honecker to the PR China as very successful. Now it is important to join and apply forces to implement the long-term 15-Year-Agreement reached during this visit. This agreement is of a programmatic nature. Now it has to become concrete. Comrade Li Peng expressed his conviction that the upcoming visit by the acting General Secretary and Prime Minister, Comrade Zhao Ziyang[7], to the GDR will again lead to further progress in the development of relations between the GDR and the PR China.

[1] Born 1924.

[2] 1928-2019. Vice Premier of the PRC 1983-1987, Prime Minister 1988-1998/

[3] This is a document originating from the SED Central Committee founding its way to MfS Main Department XVIII.

[4] 1926-1994. Member of the SED Politburo and Secretary for Economy in the SED Central Committee.

[5] Born 1931. Director of the PRC State Science and Technology Commission 1985-1998.

[6] Hu Yaobang (1915-1989). General Secretary of the CCP 1982-1987.

[7] 1919-2005. Premier of the PRC 1980-1987, General Secretary of the CCP 1987-1989. Lost power in June 1989 and spent the rest of his life under house arrest.