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Vice-Premier focuses on livelihood issues

08-17-2011 10:20 BJT

HONG KONG - Vice-Premier Li Keqiang dropped in on some of Hong Kong's everyday people on Tuesday, with stops at care centers and other locales, as he set about acquiring an in-depth understanding of the city and its people.

Vice-Premier Li Keqiang chats with Yeung Sau-goi as he meets his family in Lam Tin, Hong
Kong, on Aug 16, 2011. [Photo/China Daily]

The Tuesday afternoon visits were the first on his itinerary for his three-day trip.

Li met with elderly residents of the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals in Ho Man Tin. He was accompanied by Chief Executive Donald Tsang and Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, secretary for the Labour and Welfare Department.

The vice-premier talked to the elderly residents, some of whom were getting physiotherapy treatments, and sent his good wishes for their good health and longevity. He also talked to volunteer workers in the care center to understand the care service.

Staff showed him how the center operates, including the food delivery services, and how elderly residents spend their time learning handicrafts, singing and keeping active in other ways.

"Respecting the elderly is a tradition among Chinese people," Li said during the visit. He urged staff at the center to carry on with the work.

Wearing a broad smile, the vice-premier shook hands with the residents of the center, who later described Li's manner as "amiable".

One observed that Li appeared happy at seeing the elderly people happy and faring well.

"He (Li) sent his regards to us, and asked if the care assistants have been treating us well. I was very moved by it," an elderly lady said.

Another senior added that she would be happier if more people visited them.

Li also came bearing gifts, an electric stand-up wheelchair and a 55-inch color television. He received a set of handcrafted models of traditional Hong Kong dim sum foods from the residents.

Later, Li was accompanied by the chief executive and Eva Cheng Yu-wah, secretary for transport and housing and chairman of the Housing Authority, on a visit to the Hong Kong Housing Authority Exhibition Centre, which showcased the history and policy of public housing in the city.

Affordable housing has remained one of Li's major focuses in his position, in addition to healthcare system reform and food safety.

Li then went on a visit to the home of a grassroots family in Ping Tin Estate, one of the public estates clustered in Lam Tin. Later, he went to see a middle income family in Laguna City, a private housing estate in Lam Tin.

"Public housing serves a crucial role for citizens of Hong Kong. It provides homes for more than two million Hong Kong people," Li said during his visit to a 40-square-meter public house.

He also asked about the monthly rent for the house and whether the security services and maintenance of the building were adequate.

Neighbors stood by watching. Li waved as he passed by.

He spoke about the nation's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) with the family in Lam Tin. He also asked the family about the couple's work and the daughter's school work.

The family was given a tea set as a gift. They gave Li a book as well as a drawing by the daughter in return.

Wong Kwok-kin, deputy of the National People's Congress and vice-president of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, said: "By sparing the time to visit the grassroots and middle class households, Li Keqiang will be able to gain a clearer awareness of how Hong Kong people live. And by learning about the economic structure of Hong Kong, he will be able to make further recommendations concerning economic cooperation between the mainland and Hong Kong."

Lam Wai-kei, internal vice-president of the Hong Kong Youth and Tertiary Students Association, said: "Li Keqiang's visit reflects the care of the central government for Hong Kong. While he tours around Hong Kong, I hope he feels the energy and commitment of young people here, as well as seeing their passion to serve the motherland and contribute to Hong Kong."

Tam Yiu-chung, a Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee member and chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said: "Li Keqiang is in charge of the national economy and the 12th Five-Year Plan. We hope he will deliver good news about Hong Kong's implementation of the national program and gain an in-depth understanding about the society and livelihood in Hong Kong."

Wong Hung, an associate professor at the Department of Social Work at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told China Daily: "(Li's first-day visit) may have revealed that the central government is paying attention to the deep-seated social problems in Hong Kong, including housing, the low-income population and the welfare system for retired people."

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: China Daily

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