Always Put People's Lives First

Xi Jinping: The Governance of China I Updated: 2021-12-09

Always Put People's Lives First* 

November 24, 2013 

This accident has sounded an alarm for us once more. We must maintain constant vigilance against workplace accidents, pay close attention to this problem, and guarantee without fail workplace safety, otherwise accidents will cause irreversible damage to the country and the people. We must establish a sound workplace safety responsibility system, highlight the key responsibilities of enterprises, enhance workplace safety inspections, apply lessons learned to analogous situations, and strengthen workplace safety. 

This heart-rending accident has caused grave loss of lives and severe damage to property. Now, through the joint efforts of the relevant departments under the State Council, Shandong provincial committee of the CPC and Shandong provincial people's government, Qingdao municipal committee of the CPC and Qingdao municipal people's government, we have achieved preliminary results. Next, we should direct all our attention to treating the injured, making proper arrangements for the funerals of the deceased, consoling their families, and seeing to bringing the people's life back to normal. We should conduct a prompt investigation into the accident and hold those involved accountable in accordance with the law. 

Party committees, governments and officials at all levels should be keenly aware of the importance of safety issues, and always put people's lives first. All regions, government departments, and enterprises should be relentless in applying the highest standards of workplace safety, stringently supervise workplace safety when pursuing investment and implementing projects, increase the weighting of workplace safety in performance indicators, and follow the approach of "one vote against meaning veto"1 for ensuring workplace safety and guarding against the risk of major work-related accidents. 

The responsibility of ensuring workplace safety is paramount. To reinforce the workplace safety responsibility system, senior Party and government officials should be personally involved. We must make sure that responsibility for workplace safety is assigned to relevant government departments and officials. Officials in charge of industrial sectors and officials responsible for businesses must ensure workplace safety. We should strengthen supervision and inspection concerning workplace safety, strictly implement the assessment, reward and punishment system, and constantly promote workplace safety. 

Every enterprise must fulfill its principal responsibility for workplace safety with absolute dedication, and guarantee funding, training, basic management measures, and emergency rescue provisions to ensure workplace safety. Central-government-owned enterprises should take the lead and set a good example in this regard. Governments at all levels should perform their due responsibilities in places within their jurisdiction, and exercise strict supervision over workplace safety in full accordance with laws and regulations. 

To ensure workplace safety, we should forestall any possible work-related risk. We should continue with large-scale workplace safety inspections that cover all workplaces, defuse all risks with zero tolerance, strictly enforce laws and regulations, and ensure substantial results. In conducting inspections we should neither give prior written or verbal notice, nor listen to second-hand reports, nor accept escort or reception. Instead, we should go directly to the front line and conduct confidential investigations, especially in terms of concealed risks like underground oil pipelines. We should intensify our efforts in addressing potential safety risks, establishing an inspection accountability system for workplace safety in which whoever conducts the inspection must take full responsibility by signing his name on the inspection report, making no accommodations, leaving no place unchecked, and not going through formalities. We must see actual results. 

We should see to it that when an accident occurs in one factory, every other factory learns the hard lesson; when a potential risk is identified in one locality, the whole country goes on the alert. All regions and industries should learn their lesson from workplace accidents, enhance workplace safety accountability and oversight, and take preventive measures against any work-related accident. 

Winter has already come. At the turn of the year, there is a greater risk of accidents. I hope that you all enhance your awareness of your weighty responsibility to the Party and the people, remain vigilant against potential accidents, conscientious and meticulous in ensuring workplace safety, resolute in preventing major and serious accidents, and steadfast in improving workplace safety across the whole country. 

* Main points of the speech in the Huangdao Economic and Technological Development Zone of Qingdao when assessing the relief effort following an oil pipeline leak explosion. 


1  A decision cannot be passed at a meeting if one attendee casts a vote against  no matter how many votes are in favor. – Tr.  

(Not to be republished for any commercial or other purposes.)

Copyright © The National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China. All Rights Reserved. Presented by China Daily.