CHINESE patriarch Deng Xiaoping has thrown his weight behind another round of fast-paced growth even though many objectives of the four-month-old austerity programme have not been reached. A host of liberal cadres, including aides to ousted party chief Zhao Ziyang, have also re-surfaced to lend their support to radical economic liberalisation. Chinese sources said yesterday that in spite of his failing health, Mr Deng had recently expressed concern that ''sustained, high-speed, and healthy growth'' should not be jeopardised by the on-going retrenchment exercise. The sources said the 89-year-old senior leader had coined a new slogan - ''Only speedy development passes the rigorous test of reason.'' They said Mr Deng had expressed worries that excessive concentration on ''curing and restructuring the economy'' might detract the nation from the ''core'' task of fast-paced growth. The patriarch's argument, which has already resulted in a moratorium being put on many aspects of the austerity programme, was endorsed by an unusual economic conference held in Beijing yesterday. The nearly 100 participants included aides to the late party general secretary Hu Yaobang and Mr Zhao. The quasi-official China News Service yesterday quoted participants as warning that an undue emphasis on ''boosting macro-level adjustments and control'' - the standard euphemism for retrenchment - might lead to a restoration of the ''old system''. Analysts said liberal economists were echoing Mr Deng's warning that conservative planners in the State Council were taking advantage of the austerity programme to reinstate elements of a ''command economy''. Professor Wang Jue from the Central Party School contended that ''excessively radical means'' to cool down the economy were detrimental to reform. ''Macro-level adjustments and control must be based on market economics,'' he said. ''If this basis is not adhered to, [economic policy] will go back to the old system of the planned economy.'' Professor Xiao Zhuoji from Beijing University even disputed widespread assessments that the economy was overheated. ''The question of overheating does not exist,'' he said. ''We need to speed things up on two fronts: expediting reform and development.'' A former head of the Propaganda Department, Zhu Houze, a close aide to both Hu and Mr Zhao, urged Beijing to give more power to the enterprises. ''Society can only have development when the state retreats from areas which it does not need to, should not, and cannot control,'' he said. Liberal economist Wu Mingyu cast doubt on the desirability of the austerity programme, contending that while it had failed to cool down economic activities in rich areas, retrenchment had dealt a blow to poorer districts. Analysts in Beijing said whether to continue the programme had become a political issue that pitted liberal cadres and regional leaders led by Mr Deng against cautious planners led by former Politburo members Yao Yilin and Song Ping. They said the tug-of-war had put Executive Vice-Premier Zhu Rongji, architect of the austerity programme, in a difficult position. ''Problems that Zhu set out to tackle, including hyperinflation, are still very serious and the vice-premier is reluctant to call a stop to the austerity programme,'' a Chinese source said. ''However, Zhu risks offending his mentor Deng as well as powerful regional leaders if he does not heed the new call.'' Since early last year, Mr Deng has urged that the economy grow by 10 per cent or more every year. But Chinese economists generally agree that growth of eight to nine per cent is the highest the country can aim for if it is to avoid double-digit inflation.