Zhang Gaoli: From "poor boy" to political figure

Updated: 2012-12-25 22:12


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Zhang is known among local officials for his down-to-earth work style and rigorous requirements.

He always called district and county officials at night, asking them about how work was going on.

Some local officials joked that they were afraid of "neither the god of heaven nor the god of earth, but only Secretary Zhang's night call."

"Do more, speak less" is his motto.

The day after he arrived in Tianjin in 2007, Zhang went to the Binhai New Area, a comprehensive reform pilot zone regarded as a new economic engine of the country, for an inspection of factories and the port. He also visited residential communities and talked with residents.

In the following years, he conducted an inspection tour of Binhai almost once a month to spot problems in its development and to help find solutions.

"Serve the people, work in a pragmatic manner and be clean," are the words Zhang always uses to advise himself and his colleagues.

While in Tianjin, he often went to markets, parks and residential compounds accompanied by just one or two aides in order to get to know what the public was really thinking about.

He could also be seen riding in a taxi or playing chess on the sidewalk with gray-haired senior citizens -- all in the hope of soliciting public opinion.

"I, myself, was born a poor boy, and so I feel my duty as an official is to try my best at work, be upright and serve the people whole-heartedly," Zhang told a journalist on the sidelines of the annual session of the national legislature in March.

A netizen commented, if an official remembers he was previously "a poor boy," it means he understands the people's weal and woe.

For Zhang's native villagers, however, the person behind the big name remains almost a stranger, as he seldom returns to Panjing, where his brother still lives.

As a member of the top leadership, Zhang said after his promotion that he is ready to continue to be under the scrutiny of the people.

"If anybody comes to you for favor under the name of my family, relatives or friends, please never hesitate to refuse him or her," Zhang was quoted as saying to senior officials who welcomed him to lead to work in Shandong.

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