Xi Jinping

Xi brings 'mass line' message to home of revolution

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 July, 2013, 4:44am

President and Communist Party chief Xi Jinping visited the hallowed revolutionary ground of Xibaibo yesterday just three weeks after urging Politburo members to adhere to his "mass line" campaign to bolster public support.

In Xibaibo - the headquarters of the People's Liberation Army before its 1949 victory in the civil war - Xi cited the famous "two musts" speech by late party leader Mao Zedong , who developed the mass line leadership doctrine, state media said.

Xi reminded cadres of Mao's order to preserve modesty and prudence, while sticking to a plain lifestyle and keeping up the struggle. He said the remarks were Mao's insights on how a new ruling party could maintain a long and peaceful reign.

Xi told local officials that "revolutionary history is the best nutrition for communists".

He also toured Zhengding county in the northern province of Hebei , where he began his political career as deputy party secretary more than three decades ago.

Although the visit was later announced by state media, the first official report came from Hebei's weather bureau.

It posted a photograph of Xi waving to onlookers in the street, noting Zhengding's weather "is cool and good for inspection tours".

Analysts saw the trip as a well co-ordinated effort to support Xi's year-long mass-line campaign, a revival of Maoist doctrine to strengthen the party's ties with the people.

Xi officially launched the campaign after a three-day meeting of the decision-making Politburo last month.

"The visit to the rural area in Hebei and Xibaibo is designed to appeal to the conservative wing within the party," said Johnny Lau Yui-siu, a Hong Kong-based commentator.

Lau noted that Xi's visit came after his high-profile trip to Guangdong in November, in which the new party chief voiced his commitment to the economic opening under late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping .

In contrast, Xi's predecessor, Hu Jintao , picked Xibaibo for the site of his first inspection tour soon after being named party chief in 2002.

"The trips with different political symbolism are deliberately designed to appeal for political support from both camps within the party," which also suggested that "the new leader still lacks the confidence to push ahead with his own political agenda".