Officials carry out extensive field research

By ZHANG YI | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-04-28 06:50
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Government officials and legislators carry out research at a job market in Qujing, Yunnan province, a home for the elderly in Nantong, Jiangsu province, and a neighborhood committee in Shanghai. JIANG WENYAO/XU CONGJUN/LIU YING/XINHUA

Work will help nation make good start to new modernization drive, experts say

Chinese officials at different levels, including top leaders and ministers, have been engaged in extensive research and studies of various fields this year, which experts said will help the nation secure a good start to its new modernization drive.

The officials' research tours included visits to shops, business areas and factories. They talked with domestic and foreign entrepreneurs to understand their difficulties, checked sewage discharge levels in rivers, and visited campuses, nursing homes and communities for the elderly to hear people's concerns.

The fact-finding drive, launched by the Communist Party of China leadership last month, requires officials to get out of their offices to better understand situations on the ground, and to find solutions to pressing problems.

Experts said that carrying out research and studies in a down-to-earth manner — a long-cherished work method for the century-old CPC — will help the Party identify and solve problems hampering high-quality development in the new era.

President Xi Jinping conducted a four-day inspection trip to Guangdong province, long considered a pace setter for the country's reform and opening-up, from April 10 to 13.

On this trip, Xi, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, set a new goal for the province — to be a trailblazer for the Chinese path to modernization.

Xi's itinerary in the cities of Zhanjiang, Maoming and Guangzhou, the provincial capital, included visits to a port, a company manufacturing new energy vehicles, and a village where lychees are grown, among other destinations.

For the focus of his research, he chose the western part of Guangdong, which is less developed than the Pearl River Delta, which is home to numerous manufacturers and high-tech companies.

"Chinese modernization is aimed at promoting common prosperity and addressing unbalanced development among regions," he said, calling for adherence to the mass line and for people's problems to be solved.

Xu Ping, a professor at the CPC Central Committee's Party School, said that in embarking on a new journey of building modernization and realizing high-quality development, China faces many new challenges, risks and various long-standing problems.

By advancing the Party-wide campaign of in-depth research and studies in a solid and practical manner, officials can carry out further research in light of new situations to better understand a changing China and a changing world, thus benefiting the nation's development, Xu said.

Over the past 100 years, Chinese Communists have formulated a basic ideological line of seeking truth from facts, Xu added.

Carrying out fact-driven research and studies is a cherished tradition for the Party, helping it achieve "successive victories in different circumstances", he said.

History shows that by adhering to the ideological line and adopting the work method, the causes of the Party and nation proceed smoothly; otherwise, it is easy to encounter problems, Xu added.

Every generation of Chinese leaders has attached great importance to investigation and research, which was promoted by late Chairman Mao Zedong, the founding father of New China.

An expert and master of this method, Mao once said: "No investigation, no right to speak. Those who do leadership work must rely on their own personal investigation and research to solve problems. Today, we need to investigate, and in the future, our sons and grandsons will also need to conduct investigations in order to continually gain new knowledge and understanding of new things."

Mao conducted or organized numerous in-depth investigations during China's arduous revolutionary and construction period. He left behind a wealth of classic reports that he wrote himself, ranging from 2,000 words to tens of thousands.

One well-known piece is "Report from Xunwu", which comprises about 80,000 words, his longest such work. The report was based on a survey Mao carried out in 1930 of the people, economy, society and history of rural Xunwu county, Jiangxi province.

As a leader of the Red Army, Mao asked its publicity team, "Did you do an investigation in Xunwu?" The team replied, "Yes, we did." Mao then asked, "Tell me, which type of business is the most popular in Xunwu?" Several replies said, "Probably the tofu business!"

Mao next asked, "Which families in Xunwu make the best tofu?" This stumped everyone. He then provided the answers and the team later came up with the same result after carrying out an investigation.

Through his investigations, Mao gained a clear understanding of local production output and the prices of various products, as well as the number and proportion of personnel in different industries. The investigation of rural China laid the foundation for his thought on choosing a revolutionary road of encircling the cities from the rural areas, and his idea of seeking truth from facts.

"This kind of in-depth and practical style is worth learning," Xi said while referring to Mao's investigation in Xunwu at the opening ceremony for the CPC Central Committee Party School in November 2011, when he served as the school's president.

Xi said that when officials conduct investigations and research, they should go into the fields and factories, discuss problems with the masses, listen to them, sense their emotions and suffering, sum up their experiences, and draw on their wisdom.

"The social practice of the masses is the source of obtaining a correct understanding, and also the fundamental place to test and deepen our understanding," he said.

When Xi was Party chief of Ningde prefecture, Fujian province, he traveled to nine counties in his first three months in office. Later, he went to Xiadang township, becoming the first prefecture Party chief to visit the area, which is located deep in the mountains.

Xi once said a county Party chief should visit all the villages in the county, a city Party chief should visit all the townships, and a provincial Party chief should go to all the counties and cities.

Xu said, "No matter what position Xi has held, his first task is to carry out investigations and basically go everywhere within his jurisdiction."

Thorough research and studies prompted Xi to come up with numerous policies that suit China's situation, he said. For example, Xi put forward the concept of "targeted poverty alleviation" while visiting the then-impoverished village of Shibadong during an inspection of Hunan province in 2013.

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