Chinese leader Xi Jinping visited areas of northern China that were hit by deadly floods earlier this summer for the first time — a journey that comes as the southern tech hub of Shenzhen recorded the most rain in more than 70 years.
(Bloomberg) — Chinese leader Xi Jinping visited areas of northern China that were hit by deadly floods earlier this summer for the first time — a journey that comes as the southern tech hub of Shenzhen recorded the most rain in more than 70 years.
Xi traveled on Thursday to Shangzhi, a farming hub in Heilongjiang, the official Xinhua News Agency said in a brief article. He visited rice fields and reviewed repairs on homes and infrastructure, following earlier reports that some crops in the area were severely damaged.
“I am concerned about the disaster-stricken places,” Xi told villagers in a video clip posted on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter, by Hu Xijin, former editor of the state-backed Global Times newspaper. “In China, when the people encounter difficulties, we want to give play to the superiority of our socialism. That is, when trouble occurs at one spot, help comes from all quarters, and the state gives its full support.”
Xi was criticized last month by some people living near the capital who suspected officials diverted floodwaters toward them to protect projects important to the Chinese leader, namely a new airport and city being built near Beijing called Xiong’an.
During his trip to Heilongjiang from Wednesday to Friday, Xi also told cadres to boost state firms’ competitiveness, build a strong commodity grain production base, and play a role in safeguarding aspects of security including national defense, food, ecology, energy and industry. Xi also visited Harbin Engineering University during his trip.
Read More: China Official’s Call to Save Xi’s City Angers Flood Victims
The flooding from heavy rains brought by a typhoon killed at least 80 people and prompted Xi to hold a meeting of the seven-member Politburo Standing Committee on Aug. 17 to urge speedy repairs to transport, communications and electricity facilities. Last week, the People’s Bank of China pledged to step the supply of credit in key areas badly affected by natural disasters to help them recover.
Xi’s visit to the northeast comes as Hong Kong and the southern province of Guangdong deal with torrential rain. The former British colony suffered its heaviest rainstorm since records began in 1884, bringing much of the city to a standstill and forcing the stock market to scrap trading on Friday.
More: Hong Kong Extends Shutdown After Record Rain Overwhelms City
Guangdong, the biggest Chinese province by GDP, issued its second-highest alert for flooding. It said just after 9 a.m. Friday that the remnants of Typhoon Haikui are expected to linger for about 36 hours.
Shenzhen said it received the most rainfall in a 12-hour period in data going back to 1952, and some train services in the city that’s home to Tencent Holdings Ltd. were halted. Officials started discharging water from a reservoir as it approached its limit.
Nearby Guangzhou and Zhuhai also raised alerts for heavy downpours.
–With assistance from Olivia Tam, Hallie Gu and Xiao Zibang.
(Updates with more details from Xi’s trip to Heilongjiang in fifth paragraph.)
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