The Uyghur girl from Xinjiang would never have expected receiving Premier Li Keqiang’s reply to her letter. Not twice, not even once.
The girl, who studies in a middle school in Jiangsu province, wrote to express her confusion after a terrorist attack at the Kunming railway station in March.
“Some of my classmates asked me how Xinjiang people could be so cruel, killing defenseless people,” she wrote. “But I want them to know that terrorists cannot represent all Xinjiang people… I love my country and I hate violence.”
But people familiar with Chinese leaders’ mail-reply policy said she is definitely not a random choice, according to the Beijing Times.
The newspaper cited sources as saying that letters are more likely to be replied in three situations:
1. The sender represents a special interest group and the letter is written with sincere emotion. Chinese leaders have replied to letters from volunteer groups, college graduates who work as village officials, volunteer teachers in rural areas, among others.
2. Right timing, such Labor Day on May 1, Army Day on August 1, or Teacher’s Day on September 10. As these special dates near, officials may pick some well-written letters and express their gratitude or other opinions to the writers and the interest groups they belong to.
3. Letters from certain industries which top leaders are highly concerned about. In late July, President Xi Jinping replied to a letter from 30 entrepreneurs in Fujian. Xi recalled the nation’s opening up policy for business in the early 1980s and encouraged the entrepreneurs to “dare to be a pioneer and strive to win”.
As riots and terrorist attacks have increasingly been seen in Xinjiang, Tibet as well as other parts of China, the girl’s letter provided a good medium for top leaders to reiterate the nation’s policy of promoting equality and unity among ethnic groups.
However, what’s interesting is, the recipients do not usually get to see the original response letters, not to mention keeping them personally.
In most cases, they only get a copy of the letter.
The original mail will be put into the files of their companies, schools or organizations after they hold several rounds of seminars to “study the spirit of the letter from Xi Jinping/Li Keqiang”.
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