An Inspection Tour: Cross-Legged on the Kang

Latest (probable) directive from the propaganda department (in these or other words):

“Dampen great nationalist expectations, but strike a chord with them nevertheless. Dampen expectations among the masses at large. Display the care and awareness of the Central Committee for those stricken by hardship. Spread a message of hope and glory, but modest glory.”

Former foreign minister (and probably still a central-committee member) Li Zhaoxing showed that kind of concern in global terms, in an interview with the Guangzhou Daily. Around the same time, Xi Jinping demonstrated his awareness locally, on December 29 and 30, 2012.

Main Link: Xi Jinping visits People in Straited Circumstances in Fuping Country, Hebei Province
Links within blockquotes added during translation.

Eradicating poverty, improving the people’s livelihood and to achieve common prosperity was the innate character of socialism, Xi Jinping told people in Fuping, Hebei Province, during a visit last year.

[...] we will pay special attention to people in straitened circumstances, we will care especially for them, and we will do our best to help them to dispell their worries and to solve their problems.

我们要格外关注、格外关爱、格外关心,千方百计帮助他们排忧解难

From December 29 to December 30, the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and Chairman of the Central Military Commission Xi Jinping visited and comforted people in straitened circumstances in Hebei Province’s Fuping County. This picture (Xinhua Newsagency) shows him visiting the poor Tang Rongbin’s family in Luotuowan Village, Longguan town.

12月29日至30日,中共中央总书记、中央军委主席习近平在河北省阜平县看望慰问困难群众。这是习近平在龙泉关镇骆驼湾村到困难群众唐荣斌家看望。 新华社发

From December 29 to December 30, the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and Chairman of the Central Military Commission Xi Jinping visited and comforted people in straitened circumstances in Hebei Province’s Fuping County, inspecting the [local] work to help the poor. This picture (Xinhua Newsagency) shows Xi Jinping in Gujiatai Village’s retail department, inquiring about the rural village’s everyday supply situation.

12月29日至30日,中共中央总书记、中央军委主席习近平在河北省阜平县看望慰问困难群众,考察扶贫工作。这是习近平在龙泉关镇顾家台村的小卖部,了解农村日常用品供应情况。新华社发

After the picture section, the actual article:

Xinhua Newsagency, Shijiazhuang, December 30, 2012 — the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and Chairman of the Central Military Commission Xi Jinping went to Fuping Country, Hebei Province, to visit and comfort people in straitened circumstances, and to inspect the work of helping the poor and development support there. He pointed out that eradicating poverty, improving the people’s livelihood and to achieve common prosperity was the innate character of socialism. We will pay special attention to people in straitened circumstances, we will care especially for them, and we will do our best to help them to dispell their worries and to solve their problems, with the safety and well-being of the masses always on our heart, and we will send the party’s and the government’s warmth to the innumerable homes.

新华社石家庄12月30日电 中共中央总书记、中央军委主席习近平近日到河北省阜平县看望慰问困难群众,考察扶贫开发工作。他强调,消除贫困、改善民生、实现共同富裕,是社会主义的本 质要求。对困难群众,我们要格外关注、格外关爱、格外关心,千方百计帮助他们排忧解难,把群众的安危冷暖时刻放在心上,把党和政府的温暖送到千家万户。

On December 29, Xi Jinping, in the freezing conditions of more then minus ten degrees C., travelled more than 300 kilometers by car and then arrived in Fuping County, in the depths of the Taihang Mountains. Fuping is an old revolutionary base area, in the border area of what was then the location of the Jin Cha Ji government. Fuping County is a major national poverty country [sometimes also referred to as key counties for poverty reduction]. Xi Jinping was perfectly concerned about the area’s cadres and masses, coming there especially before New Year to visit them.

29日下午,习近平冒着零下十几摄氏度的严寒,驱车300多公里来到地处太行山深处的阜平县。阜平是革命老区,是当年晋察冀边区政府所在地。阜平县也是全国重点贫困县。习近平对老区干部群众十分挂念,元旦前特地来到这里看望。

Xi and his entourage didn’t fail to make the point that unforgettable achievements had been made from the once-revolutionary base, plus pointing out the need to improve lives which remained comparatively difficult (生活还比较困难), and that with confidence, the yellow ground [i. e. the loess ground] would turn into gold (习近平强调,只要有信心,黄土变成金).

Xi Jinping [...] visited Tang Rongbin’s and Tang Zongxiu’s family, sat cross-legged on the kang with them hand in hand with the villagers, inquiring in detail about their incomes during the year, about food supplies, clothing and heating coal during the winter, the distances the children had to cover to attend school, and about conveniences and inconveniences when having to see a doctor.

习近平逐一走进困难群众唐荣斌家、唐宗秀家看望,盘腿坐在炕上,同乡亲手拉手,详细询问他们一年下来有多少收入,粮食够不够吃,过冬的棉被有没有,取暖的煤炭够不够,小孩上学远不远,看病方便不方便。

One of the more concrete contents of Xi’s tour was the mention of the new rural cooperative health system (新型农村合作医疗制度).

Wang Huning, Li Zhanshu and central responsible comrades in charge accompanied [Xi] on the inspection tour.

王沪宁、栗战书和中央有关部门负责同志陪同考察。

To see Xi Jinping cross-legged on the kang, go to this story republished by the “Global Times”.

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Related

» How they cried, December 24, 2012

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2 Comments to “An Inspection Tour: Cross-Legged on the Kang”

  1. If I merely look at the images on Global Times, he looks to me like the man of the people, even lets the villagers touch him, sits on their bed, smiles like a human being (compare that to Hu and Wen). I’m not familiar with his believes, nor do I closely follow PRC’s politics, but it looks to me, that there’s a break in the way he approaches people. If there will be a shift in policies is yet to be seen. How do you see all this?

  2. What matters is what happens behind the camera, not in front of it. ;-)

    My interpretation from what regularly happens in front of it is that Xi would be a people person. To try to find out if he’s a man of the people, one might have to look at his biography instead. He’s seen hardship when he was young, not because he’s a man of the people, but because he is a princeling – son of one of the first generation of Chinese Communists in power.

    He’s certainly self-confident, more so than Hu Jintao, Hu’s childhood family is said to have been rather poor, but that didn’t keep them from facing trouble, either, given that the Hu family was what they probably called petty bourgeois.

    Mao Zedong probably was a people person, too – at least at times. It may be a genuine attitude, it may be just a style, but either way, a man of very humble origins seems to be less likely to be that kind of guy.

    That said, self-confidence can lead a man to make a big difference, or to lead great changes. That’s what many cadres probably complain about when the person at the top is decisive. Gorbachev is self-confident, I believe.

    But I believe that politically (and to be a man of the people would be political, too), photos say very little.

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