Yu Zhengsheng: A reformer's style

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File photo taken on June 17, 2010 shows Yu Zhengsheng (C) inspects the Xuhui District of east China's Shanghai Municipality. [Photo/Xinhua]

File photo taken on June 17, 2010 shows Yu Zhengsheng (C) inspects the Xuhui District of east China's Shanghai Municipality. [Photo/Xinhua]

Old Yu-style

An official in Shanghai remembered that once when Yu, the municipality's former Party chief, made an inspection visit to Huangpu District, he told his driver to go directly to a community behind the high-rises, without telling district officials.

It was a shanty community, where Yu saw plastic bags hanging from ceilings of every home to catch leaking water when it rained, the official said.

This sudden inspection resulted in the accelerated transformation of unlivable old residential communities of the metropolis.

The style of Old Yu, as Shanghai citizens addressed their Party chief, was welcomed by local people. And Qin Ling was one of them.

In February, the teacher complained to Yu via his microblog that his cancer-afflicted father was rejected by several hospitals.

To Qin's surprise, Old Yu, a regular Internet user, responded using the municipal government's official account on Sina Weibo, a popular Chinese microblogging site, and said he understood the son's plight.

"I cannot guarantee that all our problems can get prompt solutions, but we all feel your pain, and I'm sure our common understanding, including that of the comrades at the hospitals, will push things forward," Yu wrote.

Yu's response was retweeted nearly 10,000 times within two hours.

"I have never, never imagined he would give me a response and the problem could be solved," Qin said. His father was eventually accepted by a hospital.

Yu always took a laptop when on tour. He surfed the Internet every day to keep informed of daily news and learn what the online community were talking about.

"The Internet offers us a good platform to check and improve the government's work. It's also a very important tool to respond to public's concerns," Yu said.

For some Shanghai officials, however, Yu was a tough boss. In front of the inquisitive Party chief, they had to be well prepared to answer his questions about work. Any vague response would probably result in criticism from a cold-faced Old Yu.

When he served as minister of construction, Yu put quality of projects as the foremost task of the ministry.

"Buying an apartment may cost all the savings of a family. If we do not prioritize quality control as our top concern in work, or hesitate to stamp out quality risks, how can we be worthy of our roles?" Yu told his colleagues.

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