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Premier sets sights on economic growth

Updated: 2013-03-17 06:46


Li spent some of his early years living and working in the countryside, where he took on a job as CPC chief of a production brigade. He came to be acquainted with the hardship and bitterness of rural life and developed a strong devotion to the populace. Since assuming officialdom in the State Council, he has conducted frequent in-depth field surveys in his quest to solutions to improving people's livelihood.

Understanding the truth through investigations has long been Li's work style. His inspection tours were low-key and he has maintained this value since entering the central government.

Li is adept at studying small clues to find what is coming and seeking proper ways to resolve systemic problems.

On a snowy day in December, Li arrived in the village of Qingbao in Longfeng Township in central China's Hubei Province, which he visited five years ago. Gathering villagers to his side, Li listened to their complaints and recorded them in his notebook.

Upon departing, he spotted a corn field on a steep slope on the roadside. Climbing up the muddy slope, he grabbed some soil in his hand. "That's exactly the farmers' way, just like what we farmers do when checking our land," recalled villager Yang Fang.

Villagers cited difficult access, strenuous management and poor harvests as their biggest problems in cultivating the sloping fields. After discussing the matter with villagers, Li suggested turning cultivated land into economic forest, relocating villagers to towns, and adjusting the local industrial structure. His proposal has been put on the State Council's agenda and a national work conference was held in Longfeng in March.

Li's profound understanding of agriculture has impressed a villager, who recalled that when Li came to the paddy field, he instantly bent over to check how the rice grew and discussed with the villager how to increase harvest and farmers' income.

Prior to this year's Spring Festival holiday, Li made an unplanned visit to the house of Gao Junping, a resident of a run-down area in north China's city of Baotou. Surprised by the new visitor, Gao's grandson, who had been taking an afternoon nap, fled into a bedside closet half-naked.

As Li chatted with his grandpa sitting on the bed, the boy darted out and ducked under a quilt, exposing his buttocks to the camera. The unedited footage broadcast by China Central Television (CCTV) made a splash online, with netizens applauding Li's down-to-earth work style and the "cute and spontaneous" images.

Li later held a meeting with the shantytown's neighborhood committee. He remarked that China should not "build high-rises on the one side and keep slums on the other side" in the course of urbanization. He called for greater efforts to renovate the city's dilapidated areas and provide better houses for its residents. "This is an overarching issue concerning people's livelihoods that should be pushed ahead against all odds," he said.

During an inspection tour of Fenghuang County in central China's Hunan Province two years ago, Li was told that a local girl named Long Guiju was too poor to go to college. Li said he hoped the local government could lend a hand, and he urged a thorough resolution of education-related difficulties. "We cannot only fulfill her own dream of going to college. Such problems should be discovered and resolved in an overall manner," he said.

During this year's NPC annual session, Li asked about the matter again when attending a panel discussion with NPC deputies from Hunan. He was told that other eight poor students had received financial aids like Long Guiju.

Li believes that as people's living standards rise, so does their demand for a quality life. He has attached great importance to promoting environmental protection, especially when it involves a threat to public health.

Responding to mounting complaints over worsening air pollution in some cities, Li called for the monitoring and release of PM2.5 (air-borne fine particles measuring 2.5 microns or less in diameter) data to be conducted nationwide at a conference on environmental protection held in December. As a result, China has adopted stricter air quality standards, and PM2.5 monitoring is now conducted in 113 cities.

Li brings modern managerial expertise when analyzing China's actual condition. He said the government should prioritize basic needs when providing social services, as well as build an all-inclusive security network.