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Hu and other top leaders Wen Jiabao and Xi Jinping at conference in Beijing/XINHUA

Focus on China

Top leaders meet civil affairs staff, urge progress

Hu and other top leaders Wen Jiabao and Xi Jinping at conference in Beijing/XINHUA

BEIJING, Mar 20 – President Hu Jintao and other top leaders on Monday met and extended regards to staffers who have worked to advance China’s civil affairs programs.

Hu shook hands with representatives from civil affairs organs and congratulated their staff members for outstanding achievements at a national civil affairs conference held in Beijing.

Premier Wen Jiabao said at the conference that China has attached greater importance to improving societal well-being and promoting social fairness in recent years.

“Groundbreaking achievements” in civil affairs have been made, Wen said, adding that social assistance systems to aid low-income urban and rural residents and disaster-affected people have been established, as well as insurance systems for orphans and soldiers who have returned to civilian life.

Wen said China’s social management and public service facilities “have not lived up to the people’s expectations” because of laggard reform in both fields.

Wen suggesting improving China’s civil affairs undertakings by integrating government management with social self-governance. He said the government should advance democracy in grassroots communities, develop China’s social welfare system and encourage social organizations and individuals to engage in charitable activities.

The premier urged the Ministry of Civil Affairs to play a leading role in social construction and take policymaking and the results of civil affairs inspections into consideration when assessing the performance of local governments.

Disaster, poverty relief and social welfare programs, as well as insurance for low-income people, should be the first target for local governments’ financial input, Wen said.

Vice President Xi Jinping and Vice Premier Li Keqiang attended the conference, which was presided over by Vice Premier Hui Liangyu.

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