Profile: Xi Jinping: Man of the people, statesman of vision

Updated: 2012-12-24 10:11


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Profile: Xi Jinping: Man of the people, statesman of vision

File photo taken in 1988 shows Xi Jinping (front), then secretary of the Ningde Prefecture Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), participates in farm work during his investigation in the countryside. (Xinhua)

"Making empty talk is harmful to the nation, while doing practical work can help it thrive," Xi said during a visit to "The Road Toward Renewal" exhibition in Beijing on the 15th day after his election as the CPC's new helmsman.

To put "practical work" in place, Xi presided over a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee that adopted eight measures to improve Party work style and tighten the bond with the people. The measures include more meetings with the people, traveling light with a small entourage and using fewer traffic controls, shortening meetings and speeches. The new measures have earned acclaim both at home and abroad.

"Only solid work ensures that one will take the lead," Xi has said. He has demanded concrete effort to tackle issues the people care about most. He believes that without implementation, the best blueprint will be nothing more than a castle in the air.

When he served in Zhengding county, Xi said that developing human resources was the key to shaking off poverty and backwardness in the county. He attended to the job himself by inviting professionals to the county and drawing up recruitment advertisements for talented personnel from across the country.

In the winter of 1983, he traveled to the provincial capital of Shijiazhuang to invite a cosmetics expert to work in Zhengding. Without a detailed address for the expert, he went door to door asking where the expert lived and finally found him at night after yelling his name near his home. Xi and the expert talked until midnight and Xi finally persuaded the man to work in Zhengding. The expert later created more than 300,000 yuan in revenue for the county within the first year.

In the same year, Xi decided to publish nine ways for recruiting talented personnel, something that was rare at the time and became a front-page story in the Hebei Daily. He wrote more than 100 letters to experts and scholars, as well as colleges and research institutions, and paid visits to dozens of experts. Within two years, Zhengding attracted 683 talented personnel and hired 53 well-known experts as economic counselors.

Xi, together with his colleague Lu Yulan, then deputy Party chief of Zhengding, despite heavy pressure, told superior authorities about the excessive burden faced by the county due to compulsory grain purchases. The issue was eventually resolved.

In Ningde, Xi was also practical and realistic. He pooled resources to implement aquaculture of the large yellow croaker, a local specialty, and greatly increased the income of local farmers.

He also ordered Party and government offices to make things convenient for the people. When serving in Fuzhou, he advocated the principle of "special procedures for special issues, and do things now" to make the government more efficient. This principle was attractive to numerous Taiwan enterprises and helped boost the local economy. He also proposed the compilation of two handbooks on government procedures for residents and overseas businesspeople.

In 2000, Xi initiated a move across Fujian to make the government more efficient. He proposed changes in government functions and procedures to reduce the number of matters that require government approval. By the end of 2001, the number was reduced by 40.4 percent, or 606 items.

In 2001, Fujian became the first province in China to enact a policy making government affairs public.

In August 2002, Xi published an article on a major newspaper on "The Experience of Jinjiang," which emphasized the importance of the private economy in the development of the county. Also in 2002, he published an article on Nanping City's effort to send officials to work in villages. The practice of Nanping was later introduced all over the province, thus enhancing ties between officials and farmers and making officials more oriented towards grassroots achievement.

In Zhejiang, Xi stressed provincial development in the fields of public security, the environment, culture, the rule of law and the marine economy.

To achieve these goals, he made an individual case study in addition to making overall arrangements. In order to know how the localities were affected by provincial policies, he went five times to a less-developed mountain village called Xiajiang within less than two years.

He paid special attention to the marine economy. In December 2002, he put forward the goal of building Zhejiang into a province with a strong marine economy, followed by guidelines and plans to realize this goal. The marine economy in Zhejiang has since developed quickly, with annual growth of 19.3 percent. It accounted for nearly 8 percent of the Zhejiang economy in 2005.

He pushed for the integration of Ningbo and Zhoushan harbors. In 2006, Ningbo-Zhoushan harbor had 420 million tonnes of cargo throughput, ranking the second in China and among the world's top three.

He also pushed for the construction of the Hangzhou Bay Bridge, an icon of cross-sea bridges in China and once the world's longest cross-sea bridge.

In 2003, Xi proposed that rural communities should be more like urban communities, and efforts should be made to reduce the urban-rural gap in quality of life.

Zhejiang had realized the development targets one by one during Xi's tenure. The province had the highest rating in ecology and the environment among all provincial-level regions in 2005. In 2006, 94.77 percent of the people were satisfied with the province's public security, making Zhejiang one of the safest provinces in the country.

When Xi was in Zhejiang, the province's GDP exceeded 1 trillion yuan in 2004, GDP per capita exceeded 3,000 US dollars in 2005 and stood at nearly 4,000 US dollars in 2006. The province ranked the fourth in sustainable development in 2006, next to Shanghai, Beijing and Tianjin.

Furthermore, all the province's poverty-stricken counties and townships shook off poverty during the period.

In 2007, Xi was appointed secretary of the CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee.

Within a month of his appointment, Xi conducted research on the people's livelihood, development, the Shanghai World Expo, and the fight against corruption. The ninth Shanghai municipal congress of the CPC was successfully held, which invigorated local officials, rebuilt Shanghai's image and set forth a blueprint for Shanghai for the next five years.

Xi has said that a county Party chief should visit all the villages within the county, a city Party chief all the townships and a provincial Party chief all the counties and cities.

He visited all the villages in Zhengding. In Ningde, he visited nine counties within the first three months, and traveled to most townships later on. After he was transferred to Zhejiang in 2002, he visited all 90 counties in just over a year. During his tenure in Shanghai, he visited all 19 districts and counties in seven months. After he came to work in the central authority, he visited all the 31 provinces, regions and municipalities on the mainland.