Zhang Dejiang: Always bearing the people in mind

Updated: 2012-12-24 22:02


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Zhang was born in Tai'an County in Northeast China's Liaoning Province in November 1946. In 1968, he was sent to Luozigou Commune in Wangqing County of neighboring Jilin Province to work as an "educated youth" -- a term referring to young intellectuals dispatched to the countryside from cities to learn from farmers during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). From 1972 to 1975, Zhang studied at Yanbian University and later served as deputy secretary of the General Party Branch of the university's Department of Korean Language. From 1978 to 1980, he studied at Kim Il-sung University in the DPRK.

The experience of working as an "educated youth" tempered Zhang's personality so that he learned to endure hardship and hard work, and it also gave him a deep understanding of grassroots people and their work. An old accountant who worked with Zhang at the time recalled that he was very hard-working and enjoyed high prestige among the "educated youths." Because of his excellent qualities, Zhang became the first among more than 100 "educated youths" in the commune to join the Party.

In 1983, 37-year-old Zhang left his post as vice-president of Yanbian University and embarked on his political career by serving as deputy secretary of the CPC Yanji Municipal Committee and later deputy secretary of the CPC Yanbian Prefectural Committee. In 1986, he went to Beijing after being appointed vice-minister of civil affairs and deputy secretary of the ministry's Leading Party Members' Group.

Zhang well understands the pain and hardship of the general public due to his many years of working in grassroots organizations, and he has a profound affection for the general public. When he served as vice-minister of civil affairs, he often went to different areas in the country to oversee disaster relief and poverty alleviation work and do good deeds for the public. He has said civil affairs work is an important component of the social management system and doing a good job in this regard can help create a stable and unified social environment for reform and opening up.

When he worked at the State Council, he actively pushed for building a new-type rural pension system and a pension system for urban residents. As of now, the systems cover almost all parts of China.

While working in Guangdong, he once said that projects should be blocked if project managers failed to get required permits for land appropriation, or failed to make compensation agreements with farmers who would lose the land, or failed to put the compensation payments in the hands of the farmers. Zhang's order won wide praise among the public. Media reports said behind Zhang's tough instruction was the idea of governing for the people, the awareness of administration based on law and on an open and transparent administrative style.

Zhang also worked as chairman of the Standing Committee of the Jilin Provincial People's Congress, the local legislative body, and has always attached great importance to legislative work. He once said, "The socialist economy is an economy under the rule of law. Likewise, the socialist harmonious society must be a society under the rule of law."

When he served as Party secretary of Guangdong, Zhang said that Guangdong, as the pioneer of reform and opening up, must take the national lead not only in economic development but also in pushing for the building of a law-based province and a civilized, law-based social environment.

Zhang is married to Xin Shusen, a senior economist and a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. They have a daughter.

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