Chinese media lauds Xi as green giant ahead of party congress

President’s anti-pollution measures are a big boost to China, state media says

An activists holds a placard bearing a portrait of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photograph: Isaac Lawrence/AFP/Getty Images

An activists holds a placard bearing a portrait of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photograph: Isaac Lawrence/AFP/Getty Images

 

State media are heavily promoting President Xi Jinping ahead of this month’s crucial Communist Party congress, emphasising the Chinese leader’s skills at encouraging technology, innovation and environmental protection.

Mr Xi, who is also general secretary of the party and head of the military, is set to copper-fasten his powerful position at the 19th congress in Beijing from October 18th, which will also appoint a new batch of top leaders.

Nothing is being left to chance in the run-up to the week-long gathering – vital decisions, including international policy issues, have been put on hold, and a large-scale propaganda campaign aims to stress Mr Xi’s key role in boosting China.

A visit to Lake Erhai in the southwestern province of Yunnan, where Mr Xi urged local leaders to protect the environment, had led to a successful water treatment programme, the Xinhua news agency reported, while authorities also announced how more than 50 million people in the drought-prone north have benefited from water diversion projects from the south.

In a China Daily report from Gusheng village in the Dali Bai prefecture, local cadres described how they had implemented strict water treatment measures since Mr Xi visited in January 2015.

The president had taken a photograph and urged the locals to do everything to protect the lake.

“I’ll keep this photo as evidence. When I come back in a few years, I hope to see the water even clearer,” Mr Xi said.

Hot political issue

Environmental protection has become a hot political issue, with families concerned about air and water pollution, especially the effect on children, and the Communist Party is keen to get a message out there that is effective in dealing with environment issues.

Rapid urbanisation, lengthy droughts and growth in agriculture have put pressure on water supplies in the north.

Provision of water from the river Yangtze to the cities of the north, including Beijing, Tianjin and Henan and Hebei provinces, has also been hailed as a great achievement.

The South-to-North Water Diversion Office, which is part of the cabinet or State Council, has transferred 10 billion cubic metres of water from the Yangtze, benefiting some 53.1 million people.

The project supplies nearly 70 per cent of Beijing’s water, easing the pressure on underground water.

Military might

There has also been a major push to underline Mr Xi’s success at building up and modernising the military, which is central to efforts to promote patriotism.

In a TV documentary about the country’s military, Mr Xi orders Chinese defence firms to accelerate the development of weapons systems to outdo the world’s most powerful armies, especially in supercomputing, ballistic missile defence and satellite navigation systems.

The Powerful Military series focused in particular on advanced warships, part of efforts to build up a bluewater, ocean-going navy that can back its growing regional ambitions in the South China Sea.