News / Asia

Chinese Leader Seeks Cleaner, More Efficient Government

China's newly-elected President Xi Jinping delivers a speech during the closing session of the National People's Congress in Beijing March 17, 2013.China's newly-elected President Xi Jinping delivers a speech during the closing session of the National People's Congress in Beijing March 17, 2013.
x
China's newly-elected President Xi Jinping delivers a speech during the closing session of the National People's Congress in Beijing March 17, 2013.
China's newly-elected President Xi Jinping delivers a speech during the closing session of the National People's Congress in Beijing March 17, 2013.
William Ide
Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered his first address as head of the country Sunday during the closing ceremony of the annual legislative meetings called the National People’s Congress. In his address, Xi pledged to fight corruption, improve government efficiency and fight for what he called the great renaissance of the Chinese nation.
 
China is facing tremendous challenges. After three decades of strong economic growth, the rate of expansion of the world’s second largest economy is slowing. The gap between the rich and poor is widening. Public disgust with official graft is threatening the very life of the party that has single-handedly ruled this country for more than six decades.
 
President Xi Jinping called on leading Communist Party officials to be an example to the public.
 
Xi said the Party and its leaders should always put the people above all else and fight against bureaucracy, an over-emphasis on formalism, extravagance and hedonism. He says it should also fight against corruption and all kinds of misconduct.
 
Xi has been talking up the government’s fight against corruption since taking over as head of the Communist Party late last year. Earlier this week, China completed its leadership transition when he was selected, during a largely ceremonial meeting, as the country’s president.
 
The National People’s Congress meets every year and is an opportunity for officials to lay out their vision for the year ahead. Although it is largely considered a rubber stamp body, several votes faced a large number of opposing ballots during this year’s meetings.
 
During Sunday’s session, the budget for China’s central government and local governments passed, but 509 representatives voted against the budget and 127 of the body’s appoximate 3,000 delegates abstained.
 
In a sign of the country’s growing displeasure with the widespread problem of pollution, delegates cast 850 opposing votes and mustered 140 abstentions in a ballot to select members of the legislature's environmental protection committee.
 
In his speech, Xi called on the country’s leadership to work tirelessly for the country and to achieve the dream of rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
 
President Xi says that in the face of mighty trends of the times and the earnest expectations of the public for a better life, the Party cannot be complacent or show signs of slacking off.
 
Although there were no real surprises in Xi’s speech, his effort at repackaging the challenges China’s government faces and its pledges to take a more down-to-earth approach is already resonating among the public.

Street reactions
 
In interviews with VOA on the street in Beijing, residents were optimistic about the road ahead.
 
One woman, surnamed Zhang, a 30-year-old white-collar worker, said that ever since China’s new leaders began assuming their roles late last year, they have shown a new style of work and vigor.
 
Zhang said that it seems that China’s new leaders are more in touch with the public. She added that while they have yet to come out with any concrete policies - and it is not clear what the future will hold - they have gotten off to a good start.
 
One middle-aged Beijing man told VOA that the most important thing for the government is to improve people’s lives.
 
He said the government has stepped up efforts against corrupt officials, tightened the government's budget and limited unnecessary expenses. These are all welcome policies, he said.
 
During his speech Sunday, Xi also stressed the importance of economic development, saying it would remain a top priority. Speaking to the military, President Xi urged it to improve its ability to win battles and firmly protect national sovereignty and security.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid