Leaders head out to people

By Fang Yang Source:Global Times Published: 2014-1-29 0:38:01

In an attempt to reach out to ordinary people, Chinese leaders have visited poverty-stricken and remote areas ahead of the lunar new year.

Since Sunday, President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang have visited North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Northwest China's Shaanxi Province. They visited welfare institutions, shantytowns and rural families, joined ethnic minorities for their traditional festival celebrations, and held talks with migrant workers.

Chinese leaders have a tradition of visiting ordinary people around Spring Festival, especially poverty-stricken regions and remote areas inhabited by ethnic minorities, Wang Zhanyang, director of the Political Science Department at the Central Institute of Socialism, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Xi visited soldiers at a border frontier base in Inner Mongolia on Sunday at -30 C. He inspected a shantytown renovation project in Arxan city, according to the Xinhua News Agency's official Sina Weibo account.

The two destinations on Li Keqiang's tour, Shangluo and Ankang, are home to 1.5 million people who have a low standard of living, according to Xinhua.

Wang suggested this year's visit highlighted an authentic touch with the people as the Communist Party of China (CPC) cleaned up the four undesirable work styles: "formalism, bureaucracy, hedonism and extravagance."

"There will be no prearrangement by local governments and the leaders will be able to see the real state of those regions," Wang said.

The leaders' man-of-the-people stylings during recent visits have attracted media attention.

China Central Television (CCTV) showed Xi in camouflage clothing joining border soldiers on a patrol and eating lunch with them.

While visiting a resettlement community in Zhen'an county of Shangluo in Shaanxi Province, Premier Li received a letter from junior high school student Jiang Xintong and promised to reply to her.

Asked whether he could give a hug, Li replied "no problem" and hugged the girl, news portal chinanews.com.cn reported on Monday. 

The CCTV website on Monday also posted a five-minute roughly edited video showing Li's visit to a rural family in Xunyang county on Monday.

The video recorded the premier's conversation with the family. He consoled the child, whose father was still working in coastal Zhejiang Province, and extended holiday wishes to the migrant father and his workmates over the phone, thanking them for their contribution to the country.

The leaders' visits are in line with the official emphasis on improving people's livelihoods stipulated in potential reform measures rolled out at a plenary meeting of the CPC Central Committee in November last year.

Zhang Xixian, a professor at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, told the Global Times that the intensive grass-roots inspections by the central leadership have sent out signals about deepening reform.

During their visits, the leaders wasted no time examining the situation of people's livelihood and steering major policies to lift the population out of poverty.

On the train to Ankang on Sunday morning, Li held a meeting and vowed to wage war against poverty with a stronger resolve and prevent it from afflicting future generations, CCTV reported.

The premier emphasized local governments' responsibility for ensuring basic living standards and finding ways to increase people's wealth.

"Those inspections are to make a case for further moves in the fight against poverty," Zhang said. The leadership visits served as a useful survey for further reforms, he believed.

Posted in: Politics, China Watch

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