China / Society

Mass line campaign benefits poverty-hit families

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-01-04 07:14

JINAN - Zhang Guiqin observed the New Year of 2014 in her new house -- a first for her poor family. She had dreamed of moving to a new house all her life.

Zhang lives a very hard life. She has a congenital leg disability, and her aging husband is in poor condition. Her son suffers from a congenital disease as well. Her parents, who are in their 90s, have been plagued by disease for years.

With little income and total dependence on subsidies, it used to be impossible for such a family to build a new house on their own. However, their situation changed with a visit from a local official to Zhang's village.

In a campaign aimed at building closer ties between officials and the masses, He Ximing, a chief accountant with the State Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of Jining City, visited the village in March last year and decided to help Zhang after learning about her difficulties.

He raised a total of 60,000 yuan ($9,836) from government subsidies for reconstruction of dangerous rural houses and through donations from staff of his own unit.

"I did not dream of a new tile-brick house. I should thank the official sent by the municipal authorities," said Zhang, in tears.

In the campaign in Jining, 73,000 officials made direct contact with 1.81 million rural families, according to He Siqing, head of the organization department of the Jining City committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Each leading official from the city selected ten households to contact and must spend no less than five nights in the village each year for research, the official added.

A one-year "mass-line" campaign was launched in June last year by China's leaders to boost ties between CPC officials, members and the people, while cleaning up four undesirable work styles: formalism, bureaucracy, hedonism and extravagance.

The move by Jining City is also part of the efforts for Party members and officials to improve their work styles.

The cadre-household contact program covers all officials and households, bringing benefits to the masses and training officials, said He.

Now is a key period for development and reforms, accompanied by various social complaints, which requires officials to feel the living conditions of the masses, sincerely respond to their various demands and mingle with them, said Ma Pingchang, secretary of the CPC Jining committee.

The performance of officials in their contact with rural families will be reviewed at the end of the year and the results will serve as a reference for promotions, according to He.

In August 2013, Shandong province issued a guideline to mobilize CPC members and cadres to contact needy families, urging that all families hit by absolute poverty should be contacted via visits, telephone, or letters.

The campaign will prompt officials to reflect on problems in their work styles so as to improve themselves, said Sun Shaocheng, vice governor of Shandong.

Similar moves have also been launched in other provinces.

In southwestern Tibet Autonomous Region, 49 officials at the regional level contacted 116 poverty-stricken households and distributed more than 390,000 yuan from their own pockets in aid to them last year.

In Baodi District of the northern port city of Tianjin, about 15,000 CPC members and officials offered help to about 6,000 households in their livelihood, employment, medical care and education.

Directly contacting needy families is a concrete implementation of the mass line and is very realistic, according to Wang Zhongwu, a professor of sociology at Shandong University.

"The CPC has more than 80 million members. If each member could reach out to needy people, it would contribute a lot to improving their livelihoods and the overall image of officials," he said.

As the central authorities care greatly about people's well-being, the innovative moves to improve ties between cadres and the masses will bring benefits to more ordinary people, he said.

Meanwhile, the solution to problems affecting people's well-being will lay a solid foundation for the country's stability, he added.

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