BEIJING, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- Chinese leader Xi Jinping has extended festival greetings to construction workers, street cleaners, police and taxi drivers ahead of the Spring Festival, which falls on Sunday this year.
Xi, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, on Friday visited those who remained at work during the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday.
At a subway construction site in Beijing, Xi said developing public transport is "the direction for modern city development," adding that it has become an important measure for treating environmental pollution, which caused lingering smog in the capital last month.
"A multi-pronged approach should be taken to treat pollution, such as developing public transport and reducing car emissions," Xi said.
The leader also urged more attention to be paid to the plight of migrant workers.
Migrant workers represent an important part of China's workforce and they deserve attention and care from society, Xi said.
Xi urged employers to make proper arrangements for migrant workers during the festival to ensure that they have a meaningful and happy holiday.
Xi also stopped at a police station to greet police officers and proclaimed his confidence in their ability to fulfill their duty to maintain public safety.
While greeting sanitation workers, Xi said the public should respect the city's cleaners and cherish the environment.
Everyone should save resources and avoid waste, Xi said.
People in many Chinese cities have had a difficult time finding available taxis.
On Friday afternoon, Xi visited the state-owned Beijing Xianglong Taxi Co., Ltd. and met taxi drivers face-to-face, asking their views on how to make the industry better.
Most cabbies blamed a lack of available parking, high oil prices and too much intervention on the part of transportation authorities for causing issues in their work.
Xi called for efforts from both authorities and taxi companies to improve management and services.
"I think the meeting was good. All attendees freely expressed their views," said Ma Tongsheng, general manager of the company.
"Previously, we would report issues to relevant government departments. But this time, the top leader came. I think that will be very helpful in terms of solving the problems," Ma said.
Xin Ming, a professor at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, said Xi's visit reflects the new central leadership's determination to put the people first.
Ai Yiwei, a professor at the Party School of the Hunan Provincial Committee of the CPC, said that sticking to the "people first" principle and taking care of people's needs are essential for consolidating the fruits of China's reform and opening-up drive.
Huang Weiding, a researcher from Qiushi, the official magazine of the CPC Central Committee, said Xi has set a good example for CPC officials at all levels by making his visit.
"Of course, we will closely watch how local governments work," Huang added.