Premier Li Peng has expressed support for state factories, farms and mines in Heilongjiang. A bastion of Stalinist-era heavy industry, the northeastern province has been repeatedly hit by labour incidents including strikes. During his visit, which ended on Friday, Mr Li told cadres and workers the central Government would help them regain their 'past glory'. 'Heilongjiang had a resplendent past and is still making important contributions to the country,' the national media yesterday quoted the premier as saying. Mr Li admitted the province had encountered 'some difficulties' in developing the socialist market economy. The head of the State Council toured state-owned factories, farms and mines, including the Daqing oilfield, which was made a 'national paragon unit' during the Cultural Revolution. Mr Li also visited the Harbin Light-Industrial Chemicals Factory, where he worked during the late 1940s. Xinhua (the New China News Agency) quoted him as telling workers there to 'develop superior traditions, rely on technological progress, open new markets and provide more and better products'. However, Xinhua quoted him as asking local cadres to study President Jiang Zemin's recent speeches on state enterprises, which indicated Beijing was committed to bailing them out. Mr Jiang also stressed that workers in state factories would remain 'masters of the country'. In trips to the recession-hit northeast in the past year, top leaders including Vice-Premiers Zhu Rongji and Wu Bangguo have promised hefty government loans as well as subsidies to workers. Political analysts said senior cadres including Mr Li needed the support of the managers and workers of state enterprises in order to retain their political clout in Beijing.