HARBIN, May 25 (Xinhua) -- President Xi Jinping pledged firm action on economic restructuring during a three-day inspection tour of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, traditionally a center of heavy industry.
As he visited several cities in Heilongjiang from Monday to Wednesday, Xi stressed pushing forward the supply-side reform to bring a significant upgrade of industrial structure and productivity, urging Heilongjiang to be fully committed to upgrading old industries and nurturing new ones.
During the tour, Xi visited a tree plantation, rice cooperative, Heixiazi Island, Hezhe minority village, technology companies and other places.
He also called for bolstering agricultural development and food safety, improving quality of life for all ethnic groups and ensuring national cybersecurity.
At a critical stage of economic restructuring, but a time of bright prospects, only supply-side reform will bring a significant upgrade of industrial structure and productivity, Xi told a meeting of senior Heilongjiang officials.
"If we hesitate in making decisions and do things halfway, we will lose this rare opportunity," he said, stressing that it is important to actually carry out the policies.
Heilongjiang cannot afford to be half-hearted in upgrading old industries and nurturing new ones, he said. While maintaining the dominant position of state-owned enterprises, non-public sectors should be encouraged and supported, he added.
With vast areas of dense forest, the provincial lumber industry is feeling the effects of a full ban of logging. Visiting Yichun, a city in the forest, the president restated the importance of environmental protection and demanded concerted efforts to establish new industries other than logging.
Impressed by blueberry plantations in Yichun, Xi told local government and businesses to be aware of changes in the market and diversify their business models.
At a state tree plantation, Xi visited plantation employee Liu Yangshun, his family and neighbors. He assured them that the government would help them through the difficulties brought by restructuring, but encouraged them to seek new ways to make a living through their own determination and resources.
BETTER LIFE FOR ALL
Amid complex domestic and international economic conditions, it is crucial to protect and improve people's quality of life through more public funding to address concerns such as employment, education, healthcare, housing, pensions and poverty, Xi said during the tour.
He also stressed that public policies and measures should have a stronger basis in research and reflect public opinion, saying the public must be kept fully informed of policy.
China will definitely become more prosperous and quality of life will definitely improve if all ethnic groups pull together, Xi said while visiting a Hezhe minority village.
China's 56 ethnic groups are one family and none will be left behind on the road to prosperity, according to Xi.
The Hezhe is one of China's smallest ethnic groups with a population of only 5,000, mostly in Heilongjiang.
The village was destroyed in 2013 by floods, and Xi has been directly concerned with its rebuilding. On learning that all villagers have new houses and their incomes have increased, Xi told villagers that the Party and government will not forget them.
While visiting a rice cooperative in the city of Fuyuan, Xi called for developing more specialized farm cooperatives as they are "an effective form of organization that helps increase the income of farming households and promotes the development of modern agriculture."
Saying that food safety is an important foundation of national security, Xi stressed innovation in food production, optimizing production technology, implementing all supportive policies, protecting farmers' enthusiasm for their work, and improving the income from food production.
As an agricultural province and major food producer, Heilongjiang should scale up farming operations to make them more competitive and profitable, Xi said, also asking for protection and better utilization of fertile land.
During his tour, the president paid a call on a local cybersecurity firm, where he spoke of the importance of concerted efforts to ensure national cybersecurity.
At the headquarters of Antiy Corp. in Harbin, capital of the province, Xi learned of how an antivirus engine was developed and was shown how real-time monitoring of threats to cybersecurity are carried out.
Cybersecurity is an integral part of national security, he said, stressing the need for an integrated system of national cybersecurity while calling on firms and workers in the field to work together on the matter.
Xi encouraged them to learn from each other to their mutual benefit and come up with new approaches to cybersecurity.
Xi also visited other technology companies in the city, including a shipbuilding institute where he explained the urgency for technological workers to make breakthroughs in core technology.
Only through giving full play to intellectuals and talent would the province see technological innovation and development of high-tech industries, Xi said.
The tour also included a visit to Heixiazi Island, where Xi emphasized the importance of opening-up.
Looking over the island, Heilong and Wusuli rivers from a pagoda, Xi said environmental protection should be a priority on the island, especially as infrastructure must be built to encourage more tourists to visit the area.
Xi urged the province, which has a long frontier with Russia, to vigorously participate in the Belt and Road Initiative, as well as an economic corridor joining China, Mongolia and Russia.