摸著石頭過河， 是富有中國特色、中國 智慧、符合中國國情的改革方法。摸著石頭過河就是摸規律。對於必須取得突破但一時還不那麼有把握的改革，就先行試點，尊重實踐、尊重創造， 鼓勵大膽探索、勇於開拓，取得經驗、看得準了再推開。中國改革開放30多年來就是這樣走過來的，是先試驗、後總結、再推廣不斷積累的過程，是從農村到城市、從沿海到內地、從局部到整體不斷深化的過程。這種漸進式改革，避免了因改革情況不明、舉措不當而引起的社會動蕩，為穩步推進改革、順利實現目標提供了保證。摸著石頭過河，符合人們對客觀規律的認識過程，符合事物從量變到質變的辯證法。不僅改革開放初期要摸著石頭過河，現在全面深化改革同樣還要摸著石頭過河。當然，摸著石頭過河也是有規則的，要按照已經認識到的規律來辦，在實踐中加深對規律的認識，也要在實踐探索的基礎上大膽突破，不能光摸石頭不過河。
Crossing the River by Feeling for Stones
Crossing the river by feeling for stones is a distinctly Chinese approach to reform, one that embodies Chinese wisdom in addressing issues specific to contemporary China. It calls for prudence in feeling our way forward in unfamiliar territory, and testing the waters before a major course of action aiming at achieving breakthroughs is launched. It encourages innovation, exploration, and trailblazing efforts, while at the same time emphasizing the importance of identifying and promoting best practices on the basis of lessons learned. This is how China’s reform and opening up has proceeded in the past three decades. It has been a gradual process, starting with pilot programs, followed by larger campaigns to copy the successful experience to other places after a careful analysis of their outcomes. The process has spread from the countryside to the cities, from coastal areas to the interior, and from localized projects to nationwide implementation. Such an incremental approach could help prevent potential social upheaval that could accompany an inappropriate major move resulting from lack of understanding of its implications. It ensures steady progress in moving ahead with our reform and in achieving our objectives. Not only was this approach applicable to the initial phases of reform and opening up, it is also relevant in today’s context when China is driving the reform to a deeper level. It should be applied judiciously, though. We should pursue our reform by taking into account what we have learnt from our past initiatives, and further deepen our understanding of what works and what does not, and blaze new trails on the basis of our new experience. Instead of simply feeling for stones, we should keep on moving forward to cross the river.