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Dynamic premier true to form

Updated: 2014-05-23 22:31
By ZHAO YINAN in Chifeng, Inner Mongolia ( chinadaily.com.cn)

Much has been said about the slowdown of the Chinese economy, but few know what Premier Li Keqiang is thinking about it.

Some argue that proactive policies are needed to inject more liquidity, as well as confidence, into the market. Some ask for patience. Others doubt whether the authorities can reverse the downward pressure, as they did last year.

Although I have no idea whether the premier is planning aggressive steps, his style, characterized by openness and swiftness, has strengthened my confidence that he will make smart decisions.

I observed him throughout his fact-finding trip to Chifeng, Inner Mongolia autonomous region and heard him firsthand.

"Please be straightforward in expressing your real feelings," he told corporate leaders and bankers at the beginning of an economic symposium held on Thursday.

He joked about how he revealed the facts, when a company leader was trying to fool him, that all the products were independently developed by themselves, emphasizing that the purpose of his trip is to "find out the truth".

Under his urging, leaders of companies and banks talked freely and shared their thoughts about the current economy, why they are concerned, what their complaints are and what they need from the government.

As opinions clashed on how financial institutions and companies should better support each other and cut down financing costs, the premier asked his secretaries to take down notes and work out solutions later on.

Losing no time in listening to problems and solving them to the best of one's ability is the typical "premier style" that has been inherited by all Chinese premiers since Zhou Enlai set the example.

Indeed, Li has lost no time in seeking solutions for cushioning the economic slowdown in the past few weeks. Six consecutive executive meetings of the State Council, or Cabinet, focused on economic issues, much more frequent than usual. Measures including shantytown renovations, railway construction, clean-energy projects, tax breaks for small firms, support for rural finance and a wider opening of the market to private capital were rolled out.

As Fan Jianping, chief economist at the State Information Center under the National Development and Reform Commission, said that while it may take a relatively long time for the string of policies to take effect, this Chinese remedy has more in mind that just buoying growth.