Xinhua Insight: Xi's smogbound hutong tour boosts populist image
                 English.news.cn | 2014-02-27 02:12:59 | Editor: Mu Xuequan

CHINA-BEIJING-XI JINPING-INSPECTION TOUR (CN)

Chinese President Xi Jinping (C), also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, shakes hands with residents as he visits a historical and cultural preservation area along the banks of the Yuhe River during an inspection tour in Beijing, capital of China. (Xinhua/Ding Lin) 

BEIJING, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Beijing's hutongs in the heavy smog on Tuesday, calling for strengthened efforts to address pollution and improved city management.

Such a visit by Chinese leaders is rare, but it is not the first time Xi has made such a surprise appearance among ordinary people, moves that show his populist approach.

Xi visited trendy Nanluoguxiang Hutong and walked along the banks of a nearby river on Tuesday. He also visited Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall, Capital Museum, a water plant and the command center of Beijing's subway.

IMPROVED CITY MANAGEMENT

Xi visited courtyard homes on Nanluoguxiang, a popular tourist spot famous for its boutiques, restaurants and bars.

He stopped to ask about residents' work, salary, the materials they burn for cooking and heating, as well as how far their homes are from the nearest toilet.

"I am familiar with this region, and today, I come here to visit old neighbors and listen to your opinions on renovation of the old urban district," Xi said.

Renovation work should be carried out in accordance with residents' different aspirations and demands, according to the president, who called on the public to better understand and support the government's decision to carry out such work.

After learning of Xi's visit to the hutongs, residents crowded around and greeted the President. Xi shook hands with many and wished them a better life.

He later came to the Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall to learn the capital's history, geographical conditions, planning and functional orientation.

Xi said scientific planning will produce maximum benefits, while planning faults will be the greatest waste. He added that the capital should stick to people-oriented and sustainable development in city planning.

During his visit to the command center of Beijing's subway, he inquired about procedures of subway operation, safety management and ways of assessing passenger flow.

He asked for strict subway security checks and rigor in safety operations.

The president noted that resolving the city's travel difficulties is a huge problem, calling for priority to be given to finding ways to ease traffic congestion.

Next was Beijing's Capital Museum on Tuesday afternoon, where Xi asked officials to attach equal importance to exhibition and the compilation of history in order to inspire national pride and confidence.

He noted that long-term painstaking efforts are needed to ensure Beijing's sustainable and sound development.

Officials were also urged to clarify the city's strategic position and strengthen its function as the center of national politics, culture, international communication and technological innovation.

Xi called for optimization of industrial structure, a focus on high-end, service and low-carbon-oriented industries, effective limiting of population size and promotion of regional balanced development.

The president also wants improved city infrastructure and city management.

Related:

Xi makes hutong stop amid Beijing smog

BEIJING, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping made a visit to Beijing's hutongs in the heavy smog on Tuesday, waving hello and chatting with residents.

The president visited courtyard homes on Nanluoguxiang Hutong, a popular tourist spot famous for its boutiques, restaurants and bars.  Full story

Xinhua Insight: Smog becoming key test for Chinese officials

BEIJING, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- Smog has blanketed the Chinese capital for at least a week and the Great Hall of the People, where lawmakers will meet next week for the country's parliamentary session, is hardly visible.

Much of north and central China, or one-seventh of the country, was covered in the pall over the weekend.  Full story

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