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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 27, 1986

MINISTRY FOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, 'REPORT ABOUT A VISIT BY THE STATE COMMISSAR AND DIRECTOR OF THE STATE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMISSION OF THE PR CHINA, COMRADE SONG JIAN, IN THE GDR BETWEEN 18 AND 25 MAY 1986'

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    Song Jian visited the GDR to discuss science and technological exchanges between East Germany and China.
    "Ministry for Science and Technology, 'Report about a Visit by the State Commissar and Director of the State Science and Technology Commission of the PR China, Comrade Song Jian, in the GDR between 18 and 25 May 1986'," May 27, 1986, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, BStU, ZA, HA XVIII, 18262. Translated by Bernd Schaefer. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/220086
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[Ministry for State Security of the GDR]

[Main Department XVIII]

Ministry for Science

and Technology

27 May 1986

Report about a Visit by the State Commissar and Director of the State Science and Technology Commission of the PR China, Comrade Song Jian[1], in the GDR between 18 and 25 May 1986[2]

The State Commissar and Director of the State Science and Technology Commission of the PR China, Comrade Song Jian, visited the GDR upon invitation by the GDR as head of a government delegation between 18 and 25 May 1986.

We were able to fulfill the confirmed directive from 8 May 1986 regarding the reception of the government delegation in all details.

The guests from the PR China received explanations concerning the foreign policy of the GDR aimed at securing the peace and at solidification of the alliance with the socialist fraternal countries.

During the meetings, the conviction was communicated that the GDR is interested - in accordance with the orientation provided by the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the SED, Comrade Erich Honecker to the XI Party Congress of the SED[3] - in further expanding scientific-technological cooperation as an element of overall relations with the PR China, in developing those in long-term perspective, and in consequently directing them towards the expansion of economic relations.

Comrade Song Jian was informed about results and experiences of the application of scientific-technological progress for the comprehensive intensification of the economy. Based on the foundation of the decisions by the XI SED Party Congress, he was explained the main economic objectives for science and technology for the successful continuation of the Main Task[4] in its unity of economic and social policy.

As essential foundations to implement these objectives, our central state planning and the link between science and production in the Combines was emphasized. Through contractual research cooperation between the Combines and institutions of the Academy [of Sciences] and the universities, this cooperation is getting further expanded according to economic criteria.

For that reason, the guests were provided with the opportunity to see the results of the successful economic policy of the SED right on the spots, namely through visits in the Combines Carl Zeiss Jena, Robotron [in Dresden], Schwarze Pumpe[5], the Semiconductor Plant Frankfurt [Oder], and in the Central Institutes of the Academy of Sciences for Cybernetics and Informational Processes as well as for Optics and Spectroscopy.

As a summary of his visit, Comrade State Commissar Song Jian emphasized the following:

- His expectations were exceeded by the results of the visit by far.

- He is considering it as a great honor that he was received for an extensive talk by the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the SED, Comrade Erich Honecker, where he also met the Member of the Politburo [for the Economy], Comrade Günter Mittag. Also, that the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the GDR, Comrade Willi Stoph, had taken the time to receive him for a longer talk.

He was especially impressed by the cordiality he was encountering during these conversations; and also by the concordance of opinions on the policy of peace, the rejection of arming the space, and the opportunities for collaboration between both countries as expressed in these meetings.

- The CCP understands very well the policy of the SED directed at preserving world peace and is supporting it to fullest extent.

- It is a consequent and firm principle of the PR China to maintain Marxism-Leninism, the socialist path, the leadership of the Communist Party, and the dictatorship of the proletariat. The policy of opening up and economic reform is implemented while maintaining this principle.

- As a result of the visit, his assessment has been confirmed that the GDR is the first socialist country that can compete in economic terms with leading capitalist industrialized countries.

- There are good preconditions existing to rapidly continue with expanding scientific-technological cooperation and to aim at economic results for mutual benefit - because of the congruence in basic political questions to preserve the peace; because of the effort in both countries to develop economic policy on the basis of scientific-technological progress; and because of the high scientific-technological and technological level of the GDR.

- He was in particular impressed by the methods of economic guidance with the Combines as the core element, by the leading role of the Party in directing the economy, by the technological level, by the order and discipline in the factories he visited, and by the flourishing of the country which became obvious during his visits to the various cities.

The Ambassador of the PR China, Comrade Ma Zusheng, expressed at the farewell for the guest that the visit by State Commissar Song Jian will be assessed as one of the most successful and important visits by a high-ranking politician from the PR China to the GDR.

The consultations with the government delegation of the PR China headed by Comrade State Commissar Song Jian and the conference of the Permanent Commission for scientific-technological Cooperation between the GDR and the PR China taking place during the stay of the delegation ended with the following results:

- According to the decision by the Politburo of the Central Committee to the SED from 13 May 1986, a new government agreement about scientific-technological cooperation between the GDR and the PR China was signed. In this agreement, the cooperation in science and technology is consequently directed at the development of economic relations. The relevant correlation here between the operations of the Permanent Commission for Scientific-Technological Cooperation to the work of the Joint Economic Committee has been clearly defined in the agreement and the statute of the Commission.

- It was agreed to coordinate areas of focus for the long-term development of scientific-technological cooperation and to confirm them by the end of the 3rd quarter of 1986. For those purposes, the GDR submitted proposals according to the areas listed in the directive, namely coal mining and coal processing, chemical industry, metallurgy, mechanical engineering, electric and electronic engineering, agriculture, forestry, as well as geology and building trade. The development of cooperation is supposed to follow the objective to support the exports of the GDR and to utilize the scientific-technological findings of the PR China for the GDR.

- Conditions were agreed on the non-hard-currency equivalent exchange of specialists in order to save on hard currency means. They [conditions] are based on the GDR proposal coordinated with the Ministry of Finances.

- The agreement of the Chinese side, and of Comrade State Commissar Song Jian in person, was achieved to sign as soon as possible an official agreement between the GDR and the PR China about the handover of scientific-technological findings for payment on a contractual basis. Comrade Song Jian called it an anachronism that the principle of economic incentives in technology transfers had been introduced as an important element of economic policy in the PR China itself, but there is still no clarity in this regard when it comes to relations with the socialist countries. He expressed his intention to overcome all obstacles still existing in his country in this regard.

During the meetings, Comrade State Commissar Song Jian offered his thoughts on the following areas to be reviewed with regard to economically beneficial cooperation between both countries:

- Comprehensive utilization in the PR China of the Know How of the GDR in the area of coal gasification.

During his visit at the Combine Schwarze Pumpe, he had convinced himself that the GDR is possessing comprehensive practical experiences in coal gasification. With the new Enhanced Flow Gasification Process[6], the GDR is also prepared for future innovation. In the PR China there do not exist any experiences in this area at all.

On the other hand, one can call the coal resources in the PR China as being almost infinite. It would be of decisive importance for the economic and social development in his country to comprehensively implement coal gasification.

One should think about whether it is appropriate to establish a joint company in order to utilize the Know How of the GDR in association with deliveries of equipment and licensing, as well as with training to be conducted in the PR China.

For that the GDR would not have to invest any capital at all. Solutions would be found for creating mutual economic benefit. Everything that would constitute an obstacle in current legislation in the PR China he [Song Jian] would push aside.

Comrade Song Jian received our promise to draft a pertinent proposal.

- Program of the PR China to accelerate scientific-technological progress in the countryside (Program “Spark”)

Comrade Song Jian informed that a program has been passed as part of the 7th Five-Year-Plan of his country. It stipulates that, based on scientific-technological progress, the rural areas where 800 million people are living are supposed to be elevated from simple natural economy to the level of a socialist product management.

Its is planned to establish small and medium businesses in the different areas of the economy in the countryside. Based on the currently available levels of technology, this is supposed to achieve a significant increase in productivity.

The Five-Year-Plan for 1986 to 1990 stipulated to turn 100 equipments for rural uses into mass production and to create 500 model businesses to demonstrate to the rural population modern modes of production, guidance, and quality control.

In this context, there are plans to train one million of rural school graduates as well as to qualify directors of rural businesses.

To implement this program, also cooperation with foreign countries is envisaged. A list of projects was handed over here, which are identified by the PR China as potential areas of cooperation (Appendix).

It is interesting that this is a centrally planned program and its funding is supposed to come in equal parts from the central government, the provinces, and the program’s users themselves.

We promised Comrade Song Jian to review the possibility of cooperation concerning selected projects from this program. It appears to be economically of interest to the GDR to expand this way its exports of products from the metal processing industry, licenses, and training programs.

Comrade Song Jian proposed to focus during cooperation at first on 2 to 3 concrete projects in order to study forms and conditions - and to eliminate potential obstacles due to the current existing legislation in the PR China.

- Development of Forestry

Comrade Song Jian was impressed by the high level of forestry in the GDR, what had become evident to him when seeing the condition of the forests and hearing the information he received during his visit.

There are major problems in this area in the PR China; actually there is a lack of any organized forestry, and therefore there are major negative effects in place.

He asked for providing a delegation of specialists from the PR China with the opportunity to comprehensively study the forestry of the GDR, this is plant breeding, reforestation, forest management, the organization of forestry, and all the way up to the use of forestry resources.

He was promised that a reception of such a delegation will be prepared.

All meetings and conversations during the stay of Comrade State Commissar Song Jian were characterized on his side by politically clear, open, and friendly attitudes towards the GDR. They allow for the conclusion that it pays off to further pursue and expand with determination the relations with him and the State Commission for Science and Technology of the PR China.

In this context it will be urgent to enlarge the economic-political section of the GDR [Embassy] in Beijing by a cadre position for scientific-technological cooperation.

Conclusions

1. Consequent implementation of the agreements reached within the framework of the Permanent Commission for Scientific-Technological Cooperation and the Joint Economic Committee GDR/PR China on the basis of a new government agreement.

2. Preparation and finalization of the agreements on long-term scientific-technological cooperation until the end of September 1986, based on GDR proposals confirmed by the directive and on the proposals of the PR China.

3. Drafting of a proposal about the economic application of Know How in the area of fixed-town pressure gasification of brown coal, and in other forms of coal processing, through application of new forms of economic relations with economic organizations of the PR China.

4. Drafting of proposals on cooperation in implementing the program of the PR China to develop rural areas, with the objective to open up new lanes of exports [for the GDR] of immaterial services in combination with the export of products of the metal processing industry.

5. Expansion of direct relations between the Ministry for Science and Technology of the GDR and the State Commission for Science and Technology of the PR China, among else in the areas of scientific-technological information and in the procurement of research demands to replace imports from the NSW.

6. Preparation of a cadre from the Ministry for Science and Technology for deployment in the economic-political section of the GDR Embassy in the PR China, and creating the necessary conditions for this jointly with the State Planning Commission and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Appendix

Working Translation[7]

Projects of “Plan Spark” recommended for Cooperation

1. Process and equipments for slaughter and processing of poultry and water fowl

2. Process and equipment for feed: a) complex feed, b) granulated feed

3. Processing and process for conservation of water products

4. Process and equipments for processing of fruit juices on a small scale

5. Equipments for the production and filling of beer into bottles (resp. cans) on a small scale

6. Process and equipments for soft packaging of drinks

7. Process and equipments for processing and packaging of milk products

8. Processing procedures for vegetables

9. Process and equipments for processing and packaging of baked bread goods

10. Process and equipments for the processing and refining of vegetable oils for food purposes

11. Comprehensive process for use of animal fats

12. Process and equipments for freezing and cooling conservation

13. Equipments for the processing of small grain seeds (flowers, vegetable, fruits)

14. Process and equipments for processing of potatoes

15. Production procedures and complete sets of equipments for the industrialization of plant cultivation

16. Process for the processing of furs

17. Process for the processing of leather

18. Production procedures for furnitures

19. Kitchen dishes and kitchen products

20. Sanitary facilities

21. Metal products for building trade

22. Small machinery and tools for rural building trade

23. Production and construction procedures for construction materials

a) Material for walls

b) Material for wall coverings and wall surfaces

c) Material for thermal insulation

d) Small concrete parts

24. Development of processes for building lining

25. Material for decorations of building and repairing process

26. Mining and ore mining processes for small non-iron-ore mines

27. Design and knitting processes for knitted clothing

28. Production equipments for clothing

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

[2] This is a document originating from the Ministry for Science and Technology founding its way to MfS Main Department XVIII.

[3] Held in Berlin between 17 and 21 April 1986.

[4] “Hauptaufgabe”, term for the main tenet of SED economic and social policy.

[5] “Black Pump”, a suburb of Spremberg south of Berlin with a large Combine complex for lignite (brown coal) energy production.

[6] This is a translation take on a term without an English equivalent. This is about a highly technical term for a gasification process called “Staubdruck” exclusively developed in the GDR.

[7] Of Chinese original.