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When top leaders from China’s Communist Party made their annual pilgrimage to the seaside resort of Beidaihe last month, they turned to an old master for economic advice, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The leadership, ensconced on the shores of the Yellow Sea, consulted former Premier Zhu Rongji, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks were private. Zhu, 86, has been hailed for his role in transforming China’s economy nearly two decades ago. Specifically, they wanted the retired leader’s thoughts on President Xi Jinping’s plan for overhauling the country’s $16 trillion state-run industrial sector, one of the people said.

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