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Vice premier meets, reassures disadvantaged Inner Mongolians


08:53, February 07, 2013

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang (2nd L) visits the home of resident Zhang Zhilan (2nd R) in Beiliang Community, a shantytown in Baotou, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Feb. 3, 2013. Li visited the city of Baotou and Xing'an League in Inner Mongolia from Feb. 3 to 5, 2013. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi)

BEIJING, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- Vice Premier Li Keqiang stressed coordination between economic growth and improved livelihoods when visiting disadvantaged people in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region from Sunday to Tuesday.

"China is facing imbalanced growth with the biggest and most visible gaps: one between 400 million urban residents and 900 million peasants and one between eastern regions and central and western regions," Li said.

Even in cities, there are still more than 100 million people living in slums or dangerous and aged buildings, the vice premier added.

The complexity of narrowing the two gaps is remarkably daunting, but "the ultimate way out is to develop" and growth should serve to improve people's livelihoods, which, for their turn, can provide "power and space" for development, he said.

Li mainly visited the city of Baotou and Xing'an League in north China's Inner Mongolia.

Beiliang Community in Baotou is home to about 120,000 people living in slums. Many have been there for tens of years. Some share only one room between different generations, with small beds near large ones and beds near kitchen ranges.

"You are living in bad conditions and we really feel sorry. We can feel your earnest wishes and the Party and the government will work hard to promote slum renovations," Li told his audience.

Xing'an League is widely taken as the poorest region in Inner Mongolia.

Na Zha's house is made of sun-dried mud-bricks and he keeps only bags of corn and partly dried Chinese cabbages as food. Li noticed and urged local officials to better support such disadvantaged citizens.

Bao Baozhang rebuilt his previously dangerous house with government support. Li chatted with villagers at Bao's home and listened to their complaints on persistent droughts.

The vice premier urged more efforts to tackle water issues, expand income channels and stop relying solely on the climate to ensure grain harvests.

He visited a home for veteran soldiers in Xing'an to say happy lunar new year to the retired armed forces personnel.

"Today's happy life came from thousands and millions of people like you, who have struggled and shed blood. We will work even harder to write an even bigger character of fu in the future," said Li, pointing to a traditional festival poster with a character of fu, which means luckiness and happiness, on a wall.

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