On Dec 26, 2004, Li Keqiang, who took office as secretary of the Liaoning Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, visited Modigou, the most isolated and poorest area in Fushun, Liaoning province. Witnessing the living conditions of shanty town residents he promised to make every effort to move them out. Four days later, at the eighth plenary session of the ninth CPC Liaoning Provincial Committee, renovation was listed as the ‘No 1 livelihood project’ of the province, heralding the start of the renovation project.
A collection of photos record Premier Li Keqiang’s visits to shanty town residents over the past 11 years and the huge changes to the lives of thousands brought about by large-scale shanty town renovation.
Li Keqiang, then vice-premier, talks with residents who have moved into new houses in Modigou, April 16, 2010. More than 6,400 families have moved into new houses.
As vice premier, Li Keqiang inspects progress of shanty town renovation in the Mentougou district of Beijing, June 16, 2011. He said after two years of efforts to renovate shanty towns, more than 3 million families have moved into new houses. He added that renovation remains difficult and urgent.
Li Keqiang, then vice-premier, visits the home of Gao Junping in Baotou, Inner Mongolia autonomous region, Feb 3, 2013. Learning of the poor living conditions there, he said shanty town renovation will continue regardless of the difficulties.
On March 17, 2013, Premier Li Keqiang speaks at a press conference after the first session of the 12th National People’s Congress in Beijing. He promised that the government plans to help more than 10 million households move out of shanty towns, adding that renovation can lower the threshold of urbanization.
Premier Li Keqiang visits the home of Li Zhongyi at Xiyuzhuang, Tianjin, Dec 27, 2013. He told the 77-year-old that the government will ensure that he will move into a house with a kitchen, a bathroom and heating system.
Premier Li Keqiang visits the home of a shanty town resident in Chifeng, Inner Mongolia autonomous region, March 27, 2014. He said the government will further renovate shanty towns and move residents to high-rise buildings as soon as possible.
The Premier Keqiang visits the construction site of a resettlement community in Xiyuzhuang, Tianjin, where he met local residents who previously lived in shanty towns and came to see the apartments that will soon be available for them and their neighbors, Sept 11, 2014.
Premier Li Keqiang sends Spring Festival blessings to residents who have moved into new houses from shanty towns in Guiyang, Feb 14, 2015.
During a visit to the finance division of the China Development Bank on April 17, 2015, Premier Li Keqiang said more financial support should be extended to the 200,000 households in Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces who live in areas affected by soil subsidence. ‘We will not make our people sleep in craters,’ said the Premier. The finance division, set up a year ago, provides support for the rebuilding of shanty towns.
On Sept 9, Premier Li Keqiang said at the Summer Davos while answering questions from a South African businessman that China has about 100 million people living in rundown urban areas. ‘These people deserve more decent living conditions,’ said the Premier. ’We will continue to rebuild these run-down areas on a large scale’.