Xi's visit before Spring Festival touches hearts

By Xu Wei and Yang Cheng (Chinadaily.com.cn) 08:25, February 05, 2024

President Xi Jinping greets the public at Tianjin's Ancient Culture Street on Thursday during an inspection tour of the city ahead of Spring Festival. [Photo/XINHUA]

As the Chinese people prepare for family reunions to be held during the upcoming Spring Festival, their most important holiday of the year, President Xi Jinping conveyed messages of good wishes, support and confidence for the Lunar New Year.

The messages were extended to Chinese at home and abroad as Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made a two-day fact-finding trip to Tianjin starting on Thursday, during which he surveyed a disaster-hit village, a bustling ancient street and a museum.

The practice of visiting grassroots families, long upheld by the nation's top leader, showcases a people-oriented development philosophy and the strong emphasis of the nation's leadership on improving the people's well-being, analysts said.

Braving freezing temperatures, Xi visited the village of Diliufu, where farmland was hit by devastating floods in late July and early August.

It was the third time that the president has visited the flood-hit households since September, as he highlighted the need to ensure that the families have a warm winter.

In the village, Xi spoke with vegetable farmers whose facilities were damaged in August, before sitting down for talks with a family of four generations living under one roof.

While expressing his delight at the progress of the village's post-disaster recovery, Xi told the villagers that the Party's central leadership has "made a resolution to improve the livelihood of the people by striving to enhance the construction of water conservancy and flood control projects".

The message from the president resonated strongly with the villagers of Diliufu.

Zhang Caiyun, a 64-year-old resident, said the president's visit has "given the village a festive atmosphere before the arrival of Spring Festival", which falls on Saturday.

She said that for her, the visit was filled with touching moments, as Xi patiently inquired about the villagers' daily lives.

"I didn't expect that the general secretary would visit and that he would pay such particular attention to matters of our concern," she said.

The fact that Xi assured the residents that the nation's top leadership would scale up its investment in water management projects gave a lift to villagers like Zhang.

She said the flooding in August hit the village extremely hard, as farmers saw their rice paddies and greenhouses damaged. Part of the flooded farmlands has now been planted with wheat and vegetables, with a majority of the greenhouses already repaired.

Du Zixi, an entrepreneur who has invested in a tourism program in Diliufu, said the president not only conveyed warmth to the residents, but also extended confidence to businesses.

She said the flooding last year nearly washed away years' worth of her company's investment in the village.

As the president delivered assurances that more steps would be taken to improve water management projects for the public's well-being, Du said her company will continue to invest in the village and create more jobs for local residents.

Han Qiang, dean of the School of Marxism at Beijing Foreign Studies University, said that during the trip, the president rallied the public to have "full of confidence" for the new year.

"Strong confidence is the key to overcoming the difficulties facing the economy. It is also a must for the nation as it navigates through a complex global landscape to secure its second centenary goal," he said. The second centenary goal is to turn China into a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful by the time the People's Republic of China celebrates its centenary in 2049.

Since he was first elected as general secretary of the CPC Central Committee in November 2012, Xi has made it a regular practice to visit families ahead of the Lunar New Year, especially rural households and groups with difficulties.

Between 2013 and 2022, Xi visited rural families in Gansu, Shaanxi, Jiangxi, Hebei, Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou and Shanxi provinces and the Inner Mongolia autonomous region before the festival, underscoring the Party's unwavering commitment to boosting rural development.

Families that have been affected by natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods are another priority for Xi when choosing the destinations for his trips ahead of the Lunar New Year.

In Shanxi, he visited the home of a family that had been hit by floods in 2021 and learned about their living conditions. In 2018, he visited Yingxiu, a township in Wenchuan county of Sichuan province, which was the epicenter of a major earthquake that killed tens of thousands in 2008.

Ma Liang, a professor of public administration at Renmin University of China, said Xi's visits to disaster-hit families before Spring Festival showed the strong level of support from the top leadership when the families needed it the most.

The trip to Tianjin again reflected the president's high regard for the people and their well-being, he said.

"It also sent a message to Party and government officials that they must care for the people, make every effort to solve their livelihood issues, and truly put the people at the center during the most important holiday of the year," he said.

Zhang Yu contributed to this story.

(Web editor: Tian Yi, Zhong Wenxing)


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