During an inspection tour of southwest China's Guizhou Province, Chinese Vice-premier Li Lanqing urged local officials to vigorously strengthen scientific and educational work.
"Science and education are key to the rapid development of the economically backward western regions," said Li during his March 27 to April 1 tour.
He said that improved education and the nurturing the talents of children with promise should start at primary school level, and advanced teaching methods should be used throughout the process.
He proposed the adoption of long-distance education in key western township schools. "This will make resources for high-quality education available to these backward areas and will improve the quality of local education," said Li.
During his tour, the vice-premier also advised the mountainous province to use its strength in its economic development, noting that Guizhou is rich in tourism resources, and is in a good position to construct energy, communications and IT projects.
He cautioned that while promoting economic development, the province should protect its environment.
The central government has been striving to help the western regions to catch up with their eastern peers. The strategy is seen as crucial to sustained development of the national economy, Li said.
(People's Daily April 4, 2002)