From China's Great Wall to Great Hall: "We're not that interested"

Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:08am EST
 

By Terril Yue Jones

CHENJIAPU, China (Reuters) - In a snow-covered Chinese village surrounded by mountains, farmers had little time on Thursday for the spectacle unfolding in the Great Hall of the People an hour's drive to the southeast, but in many ways a million miles away.

Xi Jinping was introduced on Thursday as the new secretary of the Communist Party of China, putting him at the helm of the world's second-largest economy for the next 10 years.

"We're not really that interested," said Chen Yongjiang, a fruit and vegetable farmer in Chenjiapu, Hebei province, where more than half the 500-strong population is named Chen.

"For those of us in the farmlands and the mountains, as long as they make life better for us, we're happy."

Asked how the new leadership could do that for people like him, Chen thought for a moment.

"They have policies," he said.

Ma Xiuying, a 68-year-old retired farmer, was less charitable. "They only give us pensions of 55 yuan ($8.70) a month, but in Beijing they get 270 yuan," Ma said. "And we only started getting them last year."

What would she say to the new leadership?   Continued...

 
China's new Politburo Standing Committee members Xi Jinping (L) and Li Keqiang arrive to meet with the press at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, November 15, 2012. China's ruling Communist Party unveiled its new leadership line-up on Thursday to steer the world's second-largest economy for the next five years, with Vice President Xi Jinping taking over from outgoing President Hu Jintao as party chief. REUTERS/Carlos Barria