Zhang Dejiang: Always bearing the people in mind

Updated: 2012-12-24 22:02


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To ensure the safety of overseas Chinese nationals after Libya's situation deteriorated drastically in mid-February 2011, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council launched the largest-ever evacuation undertaken by the People's Republic of China since it was founded. Within 12 days, a total of 35,860 Chinese citizens were safely brought back to the motherland by sea, land and air.

The commander-in-chief of this "national operation" was none other than Vice- Premier Zhang Dejiang.

It was a massive undertaking to safely evacuate, under emergency circumstances, more than 30,000 people spreading widely across different areas of a country with an area of 1.76 million square kilometers. Entrusted with the task at the critical moment, Zhang called an emergency meeting to order the Foreign Ministry, the Commerce Ministry, the Transport Ministry, the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, and the Civil Aviation Administration of China to immediately launch the large-scale withdrawal. That enabled the world to witness China's lofty ideal of "diplomacy serving the people."

As vice-premier in charge of industry, Zhang has repeatedly urged the adjustment and optimization of the industrial structure, improvement of product quality and enhancement of industrial competitiveness. He has also stressed that the deepening of reform of State-owned enterprises (SOEs) must center on the core task of ensuring the preservation and appreciation of State-owned assets.

China's SOEs have grown at a fast pace in recent years, with their number on the Fortune Global 500 list increasing from 20 in 2007 to 54 in 2011. Meanwhile, notable achievements have been made in the reform of SOEs. Take the corporate system reform for example: More than 90 percent of SOEs have so far completed reform in corporate governance and their share-holding system. The percentage of centrally administered enterprises that had completed these reforms by the end of 2011 was 72.3 percent, compared to 64.5 percent in 2007.

When major disasters occurred, Zhang, as director of the State Council Work Safety Committee, would set out for an accident site immediately to oversee rescue operations, no matter how far away the site was and no matter how tough the conditions were.

On March 28, 2010, the Wangjialing Coal Mine in North China's Shanxi Province flooded, but Zhang reached the mine that very night to supervise rescue work. In the end, 115 miners were pulled out of the shaft alive in a "miracle" rescue.

Again, after the fatal high-speed train crash in the eastern Chinese city of Wenzhou on July 23, 2011, Zhang arrived at the scene quickly and put saving people's lives as the top priority. When he saw the wreckage of train carriages piled in a pit, he gave a clear instruction that no one should bury the wreckage, and the accident site and the train carriages should be properly preserved in order to guarantee investigation and analysis of the cause of the accident.

A string of successful rescue operations has demonstrated Zhang's personal quality of responsibility and his talent for handling complicated issues.

As vice-premier, Zhang has made many overseas visits. In July 2011, he led a delegation to visit the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). He attended the commemorative activities of the 50th anniversary of the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between China and the DPRK. He also visited his alma mater, Kim Il-sung University.