Thursday, March 12, 2009

China needs more leaders like Shi Zongyuan

(Comrade Shi Zongyuan, above, at the March 2009 National Peoples Congress)
China needs more Shi Zongyuans

Shi Zongyuan is the Party Secretary of south-west China’s Guizhou Province. Last year he personally intervened in the Weng’an Incident after the masses had attacked local government offices and set cars and buildings on fire. The Weng’an Incident was a very complicated affair. I covered it in a post here, and, as far as one can from a distance, judged Shi Zongyuan’s actions as having been very much in the mould of the true leader. I was impressed by his statement that “You cannot impose the dictatorship of the people onto the people themselves”.

I was therefore intrigued to see an interview with Shi on the Caijing website in which he explains how he uses the internet to monitor and respond to people’s complaints and difficulties.

China needs more honest Party leaders like Shi Zongyuan. The efforts of the working class and peasants to keep China on the socialist road require the Communist Party to be composed of communists.

The interview follows:

A Chat with Webaholic Shi Zongyuan
03-12 17:05 Caijing comments( 0 )
The party secretary of Guizhou has directly handled more than 600 cases based on opinions posted on the comment board on the internet.
By Editor Hu Shuli

( On the eighth day of the National People’s Congress, I had a chance to dine with Shi Zongyuan, secretary of the Guizhou Provincial Party Committee. How he surfs the Internet interests me most.

A former head of the General Administration of Press and Publication, Shi is a kind of “webaholic.” The first thing he does every day is surf the net. He usually turns on the computer at about half past seven. “I do odds and ends when the computer is powering up. After the program starts, I read the web.”

He spends about an hour on the Internet. His most visited sites are, and Generally, he first visits the People site. Apart from important news, he never misses reading a comment board for local authorities on the People site. He opens his ears to the Guizhou public. Some people leave messages with an IP address but no other contact information. Others, however, provide contact details that allow him to take note of messages and reply when there is any important news.

“I don’t give feedback on the comment board,” he said. “But I try to take real action in response.” This is the principle Shi follows. He said he has directly handled more than 600 cases based on opinions posted on the board. “I have done as much as I can do.”

I later visited Shi’s comment board on the People site and found 1,038 messages on his pages through March 11, 2009.

Shi told me he usually visits the news page of Sina for international news and then domestic news to try to grasp the breadth and depth of current issues.

In fact, Shi’s history of listening can be traced back to five years ago when he was head of the General Administration of Press and Publication. After that, less attention was paid after he was appointed secretary of the Guizhou Provincial Party Committee in December 2005. But in responding to a special event in Weng An County last August, Shi’s speedy management and frank manner won him a great deal of support from the general public. That event shifted my attention toward him and now, like many people, I feel he is a good boss.

The Weng An case was triggered by a girl’s death last June 21. The girl, Li Shufen, after having dinner with her boyfriend and other friends, jumped into a river and drowned. Local police conducted a postmortem examination, but the girl’s relatives refused to accept the results and claimed she had been killed. The incident aroused a great deal of attention from the local public.

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