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China Headlines: China celebrates the timeless value of honest toil

(Xinhua)    20:45, April 29, 2015

BEIJING, April 29 -- No matter how times may change, we must respect the workers as the main force for national development, said Chinese President Xi Jinping, as Chinese leaders celebrated the role of workers on Tuesday.

With decades of growth greatly increasing the quality of worker's lives across China, the role of the labor force is often overshadowed by changing technology and wealth accrued from capital.

In this atmosphere, a total of 2,968 model workers were recognized at a ceremony attended by the nation's top leaders ahead of the May Day public holiday on May 1.

Xi promised to protect workers' interests, increase their wages and realize the Chinese Dream through the concrete results of their tireless endeavors.


In the early revolutionary period, members of the Communist Party of China (CPC) were mainly farmers and ordinary manual workers.

Recognizing a group of model citizens among these workers is a tradition that dates back to the founding of new China, when almost all industry started from scratch.

At that time, the workers' self-sacrifice, creativity and intelligence were held in the highest esteem by Party leaders and the central government. China's Constitution describes a country led by the working class, based on an alliance between workers and farmers.

The last time model workers were honored in this way was in 1979, when economic activities were returning to normal after the wreckage of the Cultural Revolution.

At Tuesday's ceremony, President Xi said denying or underplaying the vital role of the workers in a technological world was totally wrong. The President described the working class and "the broadest masses of the people", as the fundamental force behind economic growth and the basis of social stability.

Local governments often overemphasize capital and technology while ignoring the role workers. With China certain to face more labor shortages as the population ages, the time is ripe for governments to acknowledge the importance of the workers and the work they do.


The timing of such a high profile ceremony celebrating the dedication and commitment of ordinary Chinese people could hardly be more revealing.

Can workers be replaced? China's ongoing stock market rally, sees many people indulging in stock speculation rather than work, but solid workers' efforts are the cornerstone on which virtual factors are built.

The traditional Chinese economy--basically a massive manufacturing sector built on cheap labor and plentiful natural resources--is gradually being replaced by an urban economy buoyed on services and innovation. In this time of national renewal, the importance of the work force has never been greater.

China's GDP grew 7 percent year on year in the first quarter, the lowest quarterly growth rate since 2009. The economy is weighed down by a slump in the property market and overcapacity in the very industries which were key to expansion in previous years.

Wages are on the rise in China, as they rightly should be, with moderate prosperity as the immediate goal. Though a blessing for those workers who toil in harsh conditions, it is another obstacle to attracting foreign investment.

China's reforms focus on less government interference in the market and less impact on the environment. If China wants to avoid the middle-income trap and breathe new life into old industries, it must highlight workers' creativity and build a knowledgable, technologically aware work force.

Li Wanjun, from China CNR Corporation Limited, one of the model workers honored at the ceremony, called on his fellow workers to put more effort into realizing the Chinese Dream.

China can not constantly look overseas for talented people. Only homegrown talent can transform "Made in China" into "Created in China".

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Yuan Can,Bianji)

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