Premier Li Keqiang called on Tuesday for firm efforts to alleviate poverty and improve people's lives as China forges ahead with a campaign to revitalize industrial bases in the country's "rust belt".
He made the remark during a two-day visit to Jilin province that began on Monday in the impoverished Zhenlai county, south of the Greater Khingan Mountains, where temperatures are lower than 20 C.
Achieving victory in targeted poverty alleviation is a strategic arrangement by the Communist Party of China Central Committee, with Xi Jinping at its core, Li said.
Jilin has been relentless in promoting stable economic and social development in recent years, showing the hope to rejuvenate old industrial bases in northeastern China, he said, adding that full revitalization should be accomplished under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.
During a visit to poverty-stricken Yinghua village on Monday, the premier asked families about food, heating, income and medical insurance reimbursements. He also presented them with gifts bought at a local market, and extended his wishes for a happy Spring Festival.
In the home of one villager, Li sat on a kang－a traditional brick bed heated by a stove－and chatted with farmers, college students, former migrant workers and the heads of agricultural cooperatives about the difficulties they face.
The poverty alleviation campaign should mean that "the kang of all poor families should be warmed on such a cold day", he said. "Conditions should be created to make everybody optimistic for a better life."
When villagers told Li about founding a cooperative to raise geese, he encouraged them to further expand opportunities to increase local incomes by making agricultural products and starting businesses.
Delayed salaries for migrant workers was also a concern for the premier. While visiting a long-distance bus station in Zhenlai on Monday afternoon, he asked migrant workers returning from Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Liaoning provinces where they had worked and whether they had received their full payment.
After learning that all of them had received their salaries, Li reiterated that employers who maliciously delay migrant workers' wages must be blacklisted.
The premier called on the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security to help laborers receive their delayed salaries in January last year during a tour of Ludian county in Yunnan province.
At the end of 2017, the State Council released an assessment standard for provincial regions to ensure punctual payment for migrant workers.
While in Zhenlai, Li also visited people living in shantytowns that will soon be renovated as well as nursing homes. He said proper measures should be taken to help poor families and ensure timely aid for those in extreme difficulties.