“Hold the people dearest in our hearts”

The front page of the  Shanghai Youth Daily today leads with a big headline reading “Hold the people dearest in our hearts” (or foremost in mind, if you will – 把人民放在心中最高位置) (The Shanghai Youth Daily was established in 1949 and is closely tied to the Chinese Communist Party, but is not related to the China Youth Daily that is published in Beijing.)

Today’s Shanghai Youth Daily gears up for the start of the 18th Party Congress this week with a look back at the last ten years since the 16th Party Congress in 2002. The large image on the front page shows Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang (周永康), who oversees security forces and law enforcement agencies in China, undertaking an inspection tour of the security facilities put in place for the 18th Party Congress. The editorial emphasizes that the Party cares only for the people, and it even recounts a touching anecdote of the day Hu Jintao visited a hospital and his red AIDS ribbon “flashed with the hope of spring.”

The editorial was first released by the Xinhua News Agency as a “record of the rule of the Party Central Committee since the 16th Party Congress”, and begins as follows:

Since the 16th Party Congress, the Party has faced unprecedented opportunities and challenges, and complicated internal and external circumstances. Under the leadership of comrade General Secretary Hu Jintao…the Central Committee has thoroughly implemented practical and scientific development, uniting the whole Party and every citizen to work with one purpose to forge ahead with determination in realizing the thriving opportunity of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

The editorial then proceeds to list the various achievements wrought by scientific and economic development in China in the last ten years. Yet when it comes to the next section with the same heading as the headline of the editorial, we see an attempt to put a very human and caring face on the Party with a touching anecdote about Hu Jintao. In these last ten years, we are told, there was one objective which was held by the Party in highest esteem: “Party members have striven above all to be people-oriented and to put every effort into improving the people’s livelihood.”

We are then provided with a practical example of this behaviour from the very top. On the afternoon of 30 November 2004, in a hospital in Beijing, Hu Jintao, smiling, stretched out his hand to a patient who had fallen ill due to HIV/AIDS, and said: “The Party, the government and the whole society will do everything to help you.” Then with a poetic touch, the editorial adds the observation that “on that winter’s day, the red ribbon on his chest flickered with the hope of spring.”

Links and sources
Shanghai Youth Daily: 把人民放在心中最高位置
Xinhua: Backgrounder: China’s major events since CPC’s 17th national congress
CCTV: Five Glorious Years in China
People’s Daily: [Oriental Outlook] Magazine highlights China in 10 years

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