Nothing could touch the hearts of 1.3 billion people more deeply than the images of a tearful premier calling out 'This is Grandpa Wen' to children buried in the rubble of a primary school after the mainland's deadliest earthquake in 32 years. Clambering over shattered buildings, tearfully comforting victims, caressing weeping children and cradling infants, Wen Jiabao has become a symbol of the leadership's claim to be representatives of the people. Analysts said Mr Wen represented a positive image for a leadership tarnished in recent decades by the widespread corruption and wrongdoing of lower-level cadres. State television's non-stop broadcasting of images of the 65-year-old head of government have dominated the mainland public's view of the earthquake that hit the southwestern province of Sichuan on Monday. 'Premier Wen's images have really touched the hearts of many Chinese people at a time when the country is suffering its most deadly disaster in recent memory,' said Xiong Wenzhao, a professor of politics at the Central University of Nationalities. At www.tudou.com , China's equivalent to YouTube, a video entitled 'Dear Premier Wen, You Moved China and the World' is attracting hundreds of views. On the China Central Television website, people created a forum called 'Premier Wen, We Love You'. 'The premier's emotional face, his non-stop trips between the badly-hit towns, villages and schools, and his strong statement that the government would spare no effort in relief work, is an unprecedented response to a calamity from the leadership,' Professor Xiong said. Mr Wen rushed to the scene a few hours after the 7.8-magnitude quake struck on Monday afternoon. Since then, he has appeared wherever and whenever emergency relief has been delivered in badly hit areas. Within about three days, he has paid whirlwind visits to almost all the worst-hit cities and towns, including Dujiangyan, Deyang, Mianzhu, Mianyang, Beichuan and Wenchuan. At every stop, the premier has shown his compassion and offered words of encouragement. 'Your pain is our pain, and we are here to help you,' Mr Wen told victim's families over the debris of a school that buried more than 100 students. 'If there is only the slightest hope, we will spare no effort.' Mr Wen told rescuers: 'Time is life.' He has appeared at many previous disaster sites as premier, but the government has received more criticism than praise for past rescue and relief operations. Early this year, the central government was criticised for its slow reaction to the worst snowstorms in half a century, and Mr Wen did not visit the blizzard-hit areas for more than two weeks. The central government also drew international criticism for delays in reporting cases of Sars in 2003, when the disease spread to other countries and killed almost 800 people worldwide. Analysts said Mr Wen's heart-on-his-sleeve approach had set him apart from most top leaders, who were often viewed as aloof and distant. Steve Tsang, a professor of politics at St Antony's College at Oxford University in England, said Mr Wen's presence at the disaster site ensured a high priority was given to helping victims of the disaster. 'It is definitely a positive change from the past,' Professor Tsang said, adding that the people were likely to rate Mr Wen's performance highly. Cheng Li - a China watcher and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think-tank - compared Mr Wen to a few other very capable leaders such as Zhou Enlai , Deng Xiaoping and Zhu Rongji . 'Mr Wen certainly belongs to this group, but he is also one of the most humane leaders in PRC history, very similar to Hu Yaobang ,' Professor Cheng said. He added that this explained why three Communist Party bosses - Hu Yaobang, Zhao Ziyang and Jiang Zemin - all chose him as their chief of staff; and why Mr Zhu insisted that Mr Wen succeed him as premier. 'Mr Wen gives a human face to China,' Professor Cheng said. 'His remarkable initiatives in crises have made a huge difference.' Since becoming premier in 2003, Mr Wen has built a reputation as a kindly leader focused on helping the poor and needy. Analysts have attributed Mr Wen's political survival to his interpersonal skills and management ability. Ma Guoxian, director of the Public Policy Research Centre at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, said Mr Wen's performance represented the leadership's change in mindset in the face of an increasingly open and sophisticated society. 'If China's leadership can successfully show their skills in the management of deadly disasters, they can succeed in winning support,' Professor Ma said.