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

Multimedia Ferguson, Missouri Streets Calm After Days of Violence

Police official says authorities responded to fewer incidents, noting there were no shootings, Molotov cocktails or fires More

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

For Chanthy Sok, rap infused with Cambodian melodies is a way to pay respect to the survivors of the victims of Khmer Rouge genocide More

Study: Our Life with Neanderthals Was No Brief Affair

Scientists discover thousands of years of overlap between modern humans and their shorter, stockier cousins More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid