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New Mayor Pledges to Help Beijing's Low-income Earners
Meng Xuenong, the former vice-mayor of Beijing, was elected to the top job in the Chinese capital during the first session of the 12th Beijing Municipal People's Congress, which closed Sunday.

The 53-year-old native of East China's Shandong Province took the place of Liu Qi, who is now the Party secretary of Beijing, and has a busy agenda ahead of him.

The foremost issue for Meng is to improve the living conditions of low-income earners in urban and rural areas and assist laid-off workers to find new jobs, he said during a news conference with foreign and Chinese journalists covering the congress.

He said the newly-elected municipal government needs to solve the difficult problem of resettlement of families affected by the recent demolition of ramshackle housing, providing them with more economically affordable homes and cheap-rent apartments.

More high-profile work will come as Beijing is to fully implement its action plan for the 2008 Olympic Games in the coming five years.

Construction, transportation, environmental protection, cultural and historic relics preservation, as well as other economic and social development issues are cramming the agenda for the new government.

Meng pledged the municipal government will focus on further using scientific decision-making processes, maintaining a clean and honest government and ensuring the qualification of civil servants.

He also introduced his eight vice-mayors -- who were newly elected during the congress -- to the media, including Liu Jingmin, who is in charge of the construction sector and work in preparation for the 2008 games, and Lu Hao, the youngest leader in Meng's government, who is 35-year old and will mainly address industrial issues.

The week-long first session of the congress also elected Yu Junbo as director of the Standing Committee of the 12th Beijing Municipal People's Congress.

While at the first session of the Beijing Municipal People's Political Consultative Conference, which closed on Friday, Cheng Shi'e, 62, a senior engineer in the light industry sector, was elected as chairwoman of the city's government advisory body.

Nationwide, a new team of younger and better-educated provincial leaders were elected at their congresses at the weekend.

They were: Ji Yunshi, as governor of North China's Hebei Province; Li Chengyu, as governor of Henan Province in Central China; Zhang Yunchuan, as governor of Central China's Hunan Province, Li Zhaozhuo, as chairman of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in South China and Legqog, as chairman of Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region.

(China Daily January 20, 2003)

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