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Zhang Dejiang
Special> 18th CPC National Congress> Top Leadership> Zhang Dejiang
UPDATED: January 11, 2013
'Always Bearing the People in Mind' -- Zhang Dejiang

A few farmers once wrote to him to express their worries about grain prices. In response, Zhang braved snowy weather to visit farmers in a local county, pledging adherence to the protective pricing policy. He also assured them they would never face a scenario where grain output would rise but farmers' income would fall.

Zhang has attached great importance to the development of the private economy and has a deep understanding of its role in propelling a region's development.

"Numerous practices have proven that where there is a robust private economy, there is a developed economy and well-off people," he has said.

In Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces, the private sector accounted for more than 70 percent of the economies in both provinces during his tenure as Party secretary there.

"The private economy will grow vigorously as long as we offer it suitable soil and sunshine," he has said.

When the global economy experienced a slowdown, Zhang sharply perceived the crisis private businesses would face. While participating in a panel discussion of the Zhejiang delegation to the annual session of the National People's Congress in March this year, Zhang said, "Private capital is like water, and the real economy is like cropland. It is better to dig a well to bring benefits to both sides than just allow the water to flow beneath the cropland." He reminded Zhejiang's business people not to be beguiled by short-term profits but keep on operating physical businesses well.

Not long after he arrived in Chongqing as the city's Party secretary in March, he called a special meeting on boosting the private economy. He put forward the goal that the private economy should contribute 65 percent to the city's GDP by 2015. He also frequently solicited the opinions of representatives of private businesses from different sectors regarding how the government could serve them better, which won the applause of those invited.

'Educated youth'

Zhang was born in Tai'an County in northeast China's Liaoning Province in November 1946. In 1968, he was sent to Luozigou Commune in Wangqing County of neighboring Jilin Province to work as an "educated youth" -- a term referring to young intellectuals dispatched to the countryside from cities to learn from farmers during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). From 1972 to 1975, Zhang studied at Yanbian University and later served as deputy secretary of the General Party Branch of the university's Department of Korean Language. From 1978 to 1980, he studied at Kim Il Sung University in the DPRK.

The experience of working as an "educated youth" tempered Zhang's personality so that he learned to endure hardship and hard work, and it also gave him a deep understanding of grassroots people and their work. An old accountant who worked with Zhang at the time recalled that he was very hard-working and enjoyed high prestige among the "educated youths." Because of his excellent qualities, Zhang became the first among more than 100 "educated youths" in the commune to join the Party.

In 1983, 37-year-old Zhang left his post as vice president of Yanbian University and embarked on his political career by serving as deputy secretary of the CPC Yanji Municipal Committee and later deputy secretary of the CPC Yanbian Prefectural Committee. In 1986, he went to Beijing after being appointed vice minister of civil affairs and deputy secretary of the ministry's Leading Party Members' Group.

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