Li Keqiang

Premier Li Keqiang makes high-profile visit to Chongqing

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 April, 2014, 4:08am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 April, 2014, 4:08am

Premier Li Keqiang has visited Chongqing, the first top state leader to visit the city since the 18th party congress in November 2012.

Li began his trip on Sunday and focused on economics and people's livelihoods, steering clear of sensitive political topics.

He was accompanied by Zhang Gaoli, another standing member of the Politburo and several ministers with the central government, including Zhou Xiaochuan, the central bank governor, reported China Central Television.

There were no references made to the former party chief in Chongqing, Bo Xilai, in state media coverage of the trip.

The former Communist Party chief is still a divisive figure in Chongqing, with supporters saying his policies, including welfare programmes, helped the needy. Others who were the victims of Bo's political vendettas are seeking compensation from the city government.

Bo was jailed for life in September last year for corruption, bribery and abuse of power.

"Li might have come to Chongqing to help solve certain economic problems as the city still has many difficulties inherited from Bo's era," said Zhang Ming, a political scientist at Renmin University in Beijing.

A local journalist, who asked not to be named, said local people had been hoping a senior leader would visit as Bo had left a huge negative impact on the city.

"We need a boost from the central government for the city's future development," he said.

Li visited a telecommunications company on Sunday.

He found many staff had moved to the city after they were displaced by the Three Gorges Dam project. "Once you get a job, you can get some income and gradually live a better life," Xinhua quoted Li as saying.

About 1.2 million people were relocated for the construction of the Three Gorges project and finding them work has proved a struggle for the governments in Chongqing and Hubei province.

Li also toured by boat port infrastructure on the Yangtze River.

"The golden waterway is the best ship channel to connect the eastern, middle and western parts [of China]. [We] need to use the golden waterway to connect the 'string of pearls' along the Yangtze economic zone," Li said.

Huang Chengcheng , who was detained during Bo's time in office for writing posts online critical of his administration, said he hoped Li would look into the cases of people who were victimised by Bo.

Additional reporting by Keith Zhai