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Hu: Poverty Relief a High Priority
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New measures should be explored to ensure that poverty-stricken rural residents have stable incomes and laid-off urban workers can secure other jobs, a top official said Sunday.

Hu Jintao, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, delivered the message during a four-day inspection tour of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region which ended Sunday.

In his latest fact-finding trip, Hu visited rural communities, urban neighborhoods and enterprise workshops to keep up-to-date with people at China's grassroots.

Such trips by top officials have long been practised in China as a way of staying attuned to the key concerns of the public.

Hu called for Party cadres and government officials at all levels to care about people's work and lives and to strive to eradicate destitution.

"Poverty relief for the poor and the needy should be a high priority. It is a big issue that has a significant bearing on the nation's general interests,'' said Hu.

He said that the state policy of poverty-relief funding should be guaranteed for needy households, to help solve the pressing difficulties in their lives and work.

Hu said more measures are also needed to encourage residents to use their initiative and seek ways to rid themselves of poverty and achieve a better life.

Turning to laid-off workers, Hu urged local authorities to develop jobs catering to the skills and capacities of the retrenched.

He also advised them to improve training for job seekers, so they can take up new jobs.

Meanwhile, Hu said the present upgrade of the social security network was another way of improving welfare for the poor and the unemployed.

(China Daily January 6, 2002)

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