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Remembering Deng’s tour

Zhao Yinan
Updated: Jan 5,2015 5:35 PM     english.gov.cn/chinadaily.com.cn

Premier Li Keqiang meets people doing their morning exercises in Lotus Mountain Park, Shenzhen, Jan 5.

Premier Li Keqiang laid a flower basket adorned with ribbons at the foot of a statue dedicated to the memory of reform mastermind Deng Xiaoping in Shenzhen, Guangdong, on the morning of Dec 5, in a gesture that was both a tribute and rich in symbolism to demonstrate his commitment to reforms.

After the basket was placed at the foot of the statue, Li carefully laid out the red ribbons which read “In remembrance of Comrade Deng Xiaoping, presented by Li Keqiang”.

Premier Li Keqiang meets people doing their morning exercises in Lotus Mountain Park, Shenzhen, Jan 5.

He then took a deep bow at the foot of the six-meter high bronze sculpture and bowed another three times with ministers who accompanied him on his trip to Shenzhen.

The sculpture is situated on top of Lianhua mountain in Shenzhen, a city at the forefront of Deng’s reforms and an early window to the outside world.

Deng decided to set up special economic zones in four coastal cities, including Shenzhen, to boost trade with overseas markets. In 1992, he visited south China where he delivered a series of keynote speeches to support special economic zones amid doubts among some that the zones and economic reform were incompatible with socialist ideology.

Premier Li Keqiang meets people doing their morning exercises in Lotus Mountain Park, Shenzhen, Jan 5.

Li also met a group of former officials who accompanied Deng during the landmark 1992 trip, and encouraged Shenzhen to continue exploring ways to push reform “bravely”, and not be afraid of making mistakes.

Calling Shenzhen an experimental field of reform, Li said more room will be allocated for the city’s reform exploration and its successful experience could be expanded to the rest of the nation.

An experimental field means explore, explore and explore, he said, citing Deng’s famous saying that development is a key principle.

Premier Li lays a wreath at the foot of a statue of former leader Deng Xiaoping, in Lotus Mountain Park, Shenzhen, Jan 5.

Wu Hui, professor of Party-building at the Communist Party of China Central Committee’s Party School, said it is a tradition for Chinese leaders to pay tribute to Deng to show their determination to deepen reform, but today’s leadership faces new missions and challenges.

In his first visit outside Beijing as top Party leader, President Xi Jinping also went Shenzhen and visited Deng’s statue at the end of 2012.

“As the first two years of the leadership cleared some obstacles to reform, such as through the anti-graft campaign, 2015 could see large-scale reform carried out in various fields,” said Wu.

Premier Li lays a wreath at the foot of a statue of former leader Deng Xiaoping, in Lotus Mountain Park, Shenzhen, Jan 5.

Besides the central government’s overall plan, the premier’s remarks encouraged local government innovation in reforms, Wu added.

Pan Zhihong, deputy head of the China Society of Economic Reform Journal Agency, said the visit by Li also encouraged local governments to fully implement reform policies and achieve positive results in the key reform year of 2015.

Shenzhen, which started administrative system reforms early, could continue to be a front-runner of China’s political system reform, Pan said.

Premier Li Keqiang meets people doing their morning exercises in Lotus Mountain Park, Shenzhen, Jan 5. Premier Li lays a wreath at the foot of a statue of former leader Deng Xiaoping, in Lotus Mountain Park, Shenzhen, Jan 5.

Premier Li lays a wreath at the foot of a statue of former leader Deng Xiaoping, in Lotus Mountain Park, Shenzhen, Jan 5.

Premier Li Keqiang and officials — who accompanied former leader Deng Xiaoping during his Shenzhen tour of 1992 — look at the city’s downtown area as they speak about Deng’s landmark tour, Jan 5.

Premier Li Keqiang and officials — who accompanied former leader Deng Xiaoping during his Shenzhen tour of 1992 — look at the city’s downtown area as they speak about Deng’s landmark tour, Jan 5.

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