China's Xi to retrace reform trip

BEIJING: The new leader of China's Communist Party Xi Jinping will make his first official trip in the post to Shenzhen, the country's powerfully symbolic hub of economic reform, a Hong Kong newspaper said Friday.

Xi is due to become national president in March and the choice of the southern city for such a visit would "express his determination to further deepen China's reform," the South China Morning Post said, citing a local propaganda official.

The trip would echo a 1992 tour of Shenzhen by China's longtime leader Deng Xiaoping, who went there to underscore the importance of his policy of "Reform and Opening" as he sought to modernise the economy.

The city, which borders Hong Kong, served as an early "special economic zone" three decades ago, a laboratory of sorts as the Communist country began to seek foreign investment.

The experiment transformed Shenzhen from a small village to a bustling modern city and helped initiate years of roaring economic growth for the country.

Xi's father Xi Zhongxun, a revolutionary hero purged by the late leader Mao Zedong and rehabilitated by Deng, oversaw the setting up of the economic zones.

Authorities stressed that they would continue "Reform and Opening" during a once-a-decade party leadership handover last month that put Xi in the number one spot.

His predecessor President Hu Jintao celebrated the "miracle" of Shenzhen in 2010 to mark the 30th anniversary of the special economic zone.

- AFP/ck

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