Information technology and communism were once viewed as incompatible bedfellows. Now Jiang Zemin believes they are an important vehicle for China to achieve economic prosperity. Some Western analysts have previously envisaged IT and the free flow of information as one day helping to bring about the downfall of communism. But in outlining China's main economic tasks for the coming two decades, Mr Jiang stressed the significance of industrialisation and in particular how IT must be included as an essential component of the process. 'It is necessary to persist in using IT to propel industrialisation,' said Mr Jiang in his working report. According to Mr Jiang, China must 'stimulate IT application, blazing a new trail to industrialisation which features high economic returns, low resources consumption, little environmental pollution and a full display of advantages in human resources'. 'We must give play to the important role of science and technology as the primary productive force and pay close attention to improving the quality and efficiency of economic growth by relying on scientific and technological progress and raising the qualities of the labour force,' he said. Mr Jiang's comment was an indirect admission that China's past reliance on cheap labour and simple manufacturing was unsustainable and the country needed to explore new growth opportunities to keep the economy going. While the market economy has been mentioned and justified in past congresses as necessary to the fabric of China's socialist economy, this is perhaps the first time for a party congress working report to officially attach importance to IT. In the 1980s, conservatives were sceptical about IT. By the 1990s, however, many mainland business people were pinning their hopes on the industry as a quick way to make their fortune.