Premier Li Keqiang visited the construction site of a shantytown’s resettlement community in Tianjin on the morning of Sept 11, where, in a half-finished building, he again met with Li Zhongyi and her daughter. [Photo/english.gov.cn]
Li Zhongyi, 79, ran into a famous acquaintance on Sept 11 whom she had never expected to see again, let alone be recognized by. Premier Li Keqiang visited the construction site of a shantytown’s resettlement community in Tianjin on the morning of Sept 11, where, in a half-finished building, he again met with Li Zhongyi and her daughter. The women had come to see the apartments that will soon be available for them and their neighbors.
“I remember you,” the premier said when he stepped inside and saw the two women. “I go to lots of places and see many people. But your faces are vivid in my memory since your desire to move into a new house was genuine.”
Premier Li previously visited the Xiyuzhuang community in Tianjin during a one-day trip to the port city in December. During that trip, the premier visited several families, including Li Zongyi’s.
On Sept 11, Li Zongyi told the premier the new apartments are much better than the one-story house where her family has lived for decades, which has no toilet or kitchen.
The Xiyuzhuang community is one of the oldest inland shantytowns, covering 64 hectares and with low-income residents accounting for 20 percent of its households. More than 80 percent of the families in Xiyuzhuang live in houses of less than 20 square meters.
Like many shantytown resettlement projects, Xiyuzhuang has high construction and compensation costs, which have hindered the resettlement of residents for more than 10 years.
The local branch of China Development Bank Corp put up the initial capital needed for the project in 2013.
As of 2013, China has solved the housing problems of 2.18 million households from shantytown areas and embarked on projects to solve such problems for another 3.23 million households, 6 percent more than planned.