What do Xi and Li's new year inspection visits mean?

Updated: 2016-01-07 17:19

By Yan Dongjie(chinadaily.com.cn)

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What do Xi and Li's new year inspection visits mean?

Chinese President Xi Jinping talks with workers during his visit to Guoyuan Port in Southwest China's Chongqing municipality, Jan 4, 2016. Xi made an inspection tour in Chongqing from Jan 4 to 6.[Photo/Xinhua]

President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang paid their first inspection visits in 2016 to Chongqing and Shanxi province respectively. But what political implications do these visits have?

New year inspection visits by senior leaders is routine, which usually sets the tone for the rest of the year.

Chongqing is a fast-developing municipality directly under Central Government, whereas Shanxi ranks among the provinces with the slowest GDP growth rate. This shows the emphasis in 2016 is to nurture the economic growth point and to push forward the economic upgrading.

Chongqing's economic prowess

While in Chongqing on Jan 4, Xi visited Guoyuan Port, the heartland of Liangjiang New District, and then BOE Technology Group.

The economy of Chongqing grew by 10.9 percent in 2014. The figure was even higher in 2015, reaching 11 percent. By contrast, the national GDP growth rate barely surpassed 7 percent.

The last time Xi visited Chongqing was five years ago. But Chongqing is a different city now, with its economy outrunning those of the other provinces and driving the economic development in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River.

What do Xi and Li's new year inspection visits mean?

Premier Li Keqiang rides in a tramcar as he inspects the Guandi mine of Xishan Coal Electricity Group Co Ltd in North China's Shanxi province, Jan 5, 2016. [Photo/Chinanews Service]

Shanxi's dire problems

Good examples are to learn from, whereas bad practices should be avoided.

Premier Li Keqiang, meanwhile, headed for Shanxi province for his first inspection visit in 2016.

Among the 34 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions in China, Shanxi, along with northeastern provinces of Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, has the lowest economic growth rate.

In the first half of 2015, Shanxi's economy grew by 2.7 percent, only 0.1 percent higher than that of Liaoning province, the last of the 34.

What is worth noting is that Li paid a special visit to the Chinese Businessman Museum in Shanxi. Through his visit, Li encouraged Shanxi to reduce its dependence on natural resources and switch to human capital.

"Coal is valuable, but the Shanxi Businessman Spirit is an inexhaustible mine and should not be ignored," said Li during his visit.

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