|Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) presides over a meeting on earthquake relief work in a tent in southwest China's Sichuan Province, May 21, 2013. Xi made an inspection tour to hard-hit Lushan county and visited local residents from May 21 to May 23. A 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Lushan on April 20, killing at least 196 people. (Xinhua/Huang Jingwen)
CHENGDU, May 23 (Xinhua) -- President Xi Jinping has asked local governments in southwest China's Sichuan Province, which was hit by a strong earthquake last month, to shift their focus to rehabilitation.
During a three-day visit to hard-hit Lushan County that ended on Thursday, Xi urged local governments to carefully evaluate the damage and draft a rehabilitation plan based on local conditions.
After his arrival at Lushan, Xi visited people in tents, inquired about patients' health conditions and spoke to primary school students.
The rehabilitation program should not only consider local economic and social conditions, but also provide a chance for quake-hit areas to upgrade and realize sustainable growth, Xi said.
Local governments should create preferential rehabilitation policies targeting investment, taxation, land use, employment and social security, he said.
Rehabilitation should also include the participation of the private sector and local residents, he said.
"We should encourage local people's initiative to help themselves, to rebuild their local economy and improve their own livelihood," he said.
A 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Lushan on April 20, killing at least 196 people.
Currently, a major work of governments is to help local people get through the hard times by providing medical treatment, necessities, drinking water, food and temporary shelter, President Xi said at a meeting with local officials on Tuesday evening.
Schooling in the quake-hit zone was one particular concern of the president, who visited a primary school on Tuesday afternoon.
In Longxing Central School of Longmen Township, where prefabricated structures were erected as classrooms and offices, Xi asked students to "be strong, brave, united and fraternal."
During the evening meeting, Xi stressed that efforts should be made to restore normality in schools and provide psychological counselling.
The president acknowledged quake rescue and relief progress made by the Sichuan provincial government and the armed forces.
"A serious disaster tests the capacity of local Party organs and members, and also presents a chance to improve their performance," said Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.
Local CPC organs in quake-hit regions should educate officials and members and improve their working style, he said.
"Where there are dangers and difficulties, there are CPC members," Xi said.
During his trip to the quake zone, Xi also met officers from the People's Liberation Army, military pilots, armed police, and paramilitary rescuers, praising them for their rescue and relief efforts.
Many local farmers lost both their homes and crops in the earthquake. When examining corn farms, Xi asked farmers to focus on agricultural production and make the best use of their land.
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