JINAN, Jan. 3 -- Zhang Guiqin observed the New Year of 2014 in her new house -- a first for her poor family. She had dreamed of moving to a new house all her life.
Zhang lives a very hard life. She has a congenital leg disability, and her aging husband is in poor condition. Her son suffers from a congenital disease as well. Her parents, who are in their 90s, have been plagued by disease for years.
With little income and total dependence on subsidies, it used to be impossible for such a family to build a new house on their own. However, their situation changed with a visit from a local official to Zhang's village.
In a campaign aimed at building closer ties between officials and the masses, He Ximing, a chief accountant with the State Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of Jining City, visited the village in March last year and decided to help Zhang after learning about her difficulties.
He raised a total of 60,000 yuan (9,836 U.S. dollars) from government subsidies for reconstruction of dangerous rural houses and through donations from staff of his own unit.
"I did not dream of a new tile-brick house. I should thank the official sent by the municipal authorities," said Zhang, in tears.
In the campaign in Jining, 73,000 officials made direct contact with 1.81 million rural families, according to He Siqing, head of the organization department of the Jining City committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
Each leading official from the city selected ten households to contact and must spend no less than five nights in the village each year for research, the official added.
A one-year "mass-line" campaign was launched in June last year by China's leaders to boost ties between CPC officials, members and the people, while cleaning up four undesirable work styles: formalism, bureaucracy, hedonism and extravagance.
The move by Jining City is also part of the efforts for Party members and officials to improve their work styles.