The message today is loud and clear – “No halt in opening up, no stopping reform”:
China’s newspapers today are in a festive mood because China is forging ahead with reform, and there’s no better way to ram the message home than with an inspection tour to Guangdong province in the south by Xi Jinping, China’s newly anointed leader, in imitation of the celebrated 1992 pro-reform Southern Tour of then-leader Deng Xiaoping. On a hill in Shenzhen close to a statue of Deng, Xi spoke passionately of the need to continue reform and opening up in China, and himself brandished a shovel to plant a few banyan seeds in a move symbolic of the new breakthroughs he intends to cultivate from the reform heritage left by Deng.
Like many other papers today, the Yanzhao Evening News (燕赵晚报) from Hebei province reports that, following in the footsteps of Deng Xiaoping’s southern inspection tour 20 years ago, Xi Jinping stood yesterday in front of the statue of Deng in Shenzhen in Guangdong province to emphasize that China will unreservedly continue with opening up and reform. Undertaking his own inspection tour in Guangdong on 7-11 December, Xi was photographed in front of Deng’s statue chatting with old comrades who had participated in establishing the special economic zone in Shenzhen that was central to the opening and reform process initiated by Deng.
Accompanied by Guangdong Party secretary Wang Yang (汪洋) and Guangdong governor Zhu Xiaodan (朱小丹), Xi’s southern tour included stops in Shenzhen (深圳), Zhuhai (珠海), Foshan (佛山), and Guangzhou (广州) with him visiting villages, companies, the armed forces and research institutes. He wanted, he said, to review the areas where China’s reform and opening process began to gain some perspective on the history of reform in China and thereby to impel further progress.
Standing on a hilltop in Shenzhen overlooking the city and close to Deng’s statue, Xi spoke in “moving terms” of his respect for Deng and the need to continue modernization and achieve new breakthroughs. Then in a move rich in symbolism, Xi himself brandished a shovel to plant a few banyan seeds so new trees can grow on the hill where Deng’s bronze statue looks out over Shenzhen.