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192 34 Letters and Petitions Are an Important Way to Keep in Touch with the People1 August 17, 1988 Ialways take letters and petitions seriously because they are a very important way for our Party and our government to keep in touch with the people. The many ways to be in touch with them also include direct visits, studies, going deep into the grass roots, and holding seminars and dialogues. At present, however, there really isn’t enough time to see the many people wanting to meet with me. That’s why I can only hear people’s views through the format of letters , so it’s not that I’m putting on airs. I feel very strongly that we will accomplish nothing if we are out of touch with the people. Through letters and petitions, we can not only establish an information connection with the public, but can also build flesh-and-blood ties with them. Their letters aren’t all about personal interests—many are suggestions regarding overall government work. They’re very well-meaning and if we ignored them, how could people feel any enthusiasm? On the contrary, if we can respond to all these voices with concrete actions for each and every letter and petition, then our citizens will feel that there is some place they can turn to, that their views are taken seriously and will lead to results. This will generate enthusiasm as word will spread like wildfire and there will be a very positive impact. That’s why we should treat the handling of letters and petitions as very important work that enables our Party and our government to win the trust of the people. I received 3,696 letters from the people in May, 2,453 in June, and 2,710 in July, for a total of 8,859 letters. Of course I couldn’t possibly read them all myself but am being assisted in this by a number of colleagues at the Municipal Party Committee and the Office of Letters and Petitions of the city government . Whatever they can handle, they will ask the departments concerned to handle; important letters are forwarded to me, as well as things they cannot handle; a summary is also prepared every month. Those at the Office of Letters and Petitions work very hard and are very responsible. About one-half, or 1. This is the main part of a speech by Zhu Rongji at a conference in Shanghai on working with letters and petitions. Zhu_Shanghai Years_1987-1991_hc_9780815731399_i-xii_1-620.indd 192 12/26/17 12:00 PM Letters and Petitions Are an Important Way to Keep in Touch with the People 193 4,486, of the letters are requests for the resolution of individual problems such as the lack of restitution of private houses, or failure to return possessions confiscated when their homes were ransacked during the “Great Cultural Revolution .” Forty percent, or over 3,000 letters, are suggestions for the city government . They show that people still do care very much about the big picture, and about major affairs. The Importance of People’s Letters We can benefit from people’s letters in at least three ways. 1. They Help Us to Have a Better Grasp of the Situation, Feel the Pulse of the People , and Understand Their Sentiments and Expectations. These letters let us see what the ordinary people of Shanghai are thinking and what they want, thereby enabling us to arrive at a more comprehensive and more accurate assessment of the current situation. Although quite a few of these letters air grievances, many express confidence in the Municipal Party Committee and the municipal government . What’s more, they express a willingness to participate to the utmost in the revitalization of Shanghai—these letters have moved me deeply. One writer went to the Office of Letters and Petitions, selected very touching passages from people’s letters, and published them in last month’s issue of The Bund. The selections were very well chosen. These letters are also encouraging, Speaking at a conference in Shanghai on letters and petitions, August 17, 1988. On the right, Vice Mayor Ni Hongfu; on the left, Wang Liping, member and secretary-general of the Standing Committee of the Shanghai Party Committee. Zhu_Shanghai Years_1987-1991_hc_9780815731399_i-xii_1-620.indd 193 12/26/17 12:00 PM 194 Letters and Petitions Are an Important Way to Keep in Touch with the People as they make us feel that the people will...


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