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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

ILO: Women Still Losing Out in Global Work Place

International Labor Organization says women are marginally better off now than they were 20 years ago More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More