XI'AN, Jan. 30 -- Climbing along a sharp-curved mountain road in the remote village of Jinpo, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang walked into the house of Yang Kang, a seventh-grade student whose father works thousands of kilometers away as a migrant worker.
Yang and her grandparents were overjoyed to see the premier. She gave her father Yang Xiufeng a call, who made a living by fishing in coastal areas and was not back yet for the Spring Festival that falls on Jan. 31.
Like the Yang's family, most grown-ups in the village have left their hometown in Xunyang County, northwest China's Shaanxi Province, to seek work opportunities outside, leaving behind their young children and elders.
Official statistics show China has about 260 million migrant workers.
"It is not easy to work away from home. The family is exepcting you to return for the Spring Festival," Li said to the father, taking the phone from the girl.
Li told Yang Xiufeng that migrant workers were heroes of the family as well as of the country.
Li spoke to the villagers around that for the elders and children staying at home, the best thing is the company of family members.
Amid the country's efforts to push forward a new model of urbanization, the premier said, more jobs will be created nearer to homes so that families can enjoy reunions.
Jinpo Village, a poverty-stricken area under Ankang City, was one of the three destinations of the premier's three-day inspection tour from Jan. 26 to 28. The other two were Shangluo City and the provincial capital Xi'an.
The premier went to see homeless children and elders at a relief station in Ankang, saying that no one should be left helpless and homeless.
"The Party and the government have the obligation to care for the most impoverished people and let them feel the warmth of the society," he said.
As the country's most important traditional festival drew near, the premier extended his best wishes to the people.
Li met luckier people in his tour. At a residential quarter in Yungaisi Township, Shangluo, relocated residents were preparing to celebrate the first Spring Festival in new apartments equipped with all sorts of family facilities for heating, sewage discharge and cable TV.
Li visited an embroidery company based in the quarter that provides training program to women residents relocated from houses in poor conditions.
Li gave his blessing, saying that home is the root of every Chinese person. "The nation's security is based on home security," he added.
China will speed up construction of transportation infrastructure, especially railways, in the central and western regions, Li said on a train heading towards Shangluo and Ankang. The two cities are mountainous regions, home to 1.5 million people in poverty.
China had 98.99 million people living in poverty in rural areas by the end of 2012. The premier said earlier that China would wage a war against poverty with a stronger resolve and prevent it from afflicting future generations.
Though more efforts remain needed to fight poverty, Li's visits to the rural grassroots have cast hope badly needed by the weak in festive days, experts say.
The Spring Festival is a major Chinese cultural event focusing on family harmony, reunion and aspirations.