Global Times: Xi’s 12 years of greetings and visits before Spring Festival touch hearts, demonstrate Party’s emphasis on people’s livelihoods

BEIJING, Feb. 6, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — While China prepares for the Spring Festival, also known as the Chinese Lunar New Year, President Xi Jinping extended messages of good wishes, support, and confidence for 2024 to all Chinese people during his inspection tour in North China’s Tianjin Municipality on January 1 and 2.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, wished Chinese people of all ethnic groups, compatriots in Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan, and overseas Chinese good health and happiness in the Year of the Dragon, and the motherland prosperity, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Since assuming the Party’s top post in November 2012, Xi has made it a tradition to spend time with members of the public ahead of the Spring Festival, especially those in disadvantaged groups, extending festive greetings to them.

During past visits, he has brought gifts of festive goods, joined local people making festive foods, and practiced Spring Festival customs. 

This not only demonstrates the Party’s people-oriented development philosophy and the strong emphasis of the nation’s leadership on improving the people’s well-being, but also tells of how China strived to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects, also known as Xiaokang, and pursue rural revitalization, analysts pointed out. 

People’s livelihoods always top priority 

The first stop on Xi’s two-day Tianjin tour was the Diliufu village in Xinkou township, in Tianjin’s Xiqing District, according to Xinhua.

From late July to early August last year, extreme rainfall hit northern China, causing anomalous floods in the Haihe River Basin, and a large area of land in the flood storage and detention basins in Tianjin was inundated.

Briefed about the impact of floods on the city and district, Xi walked into greenhouses to check the growth of vegetables. He asked the farmers in detail about the restoration of greenhouses and the reseeding and sales of vegetables.

Xi then visited the home of a villager named Du Honggang, where he chatted with four generations of the family. He inquired about the family’s losses during the disaster, their post-disaster production and income, and carefully tallied the numbers during the talk.

Du told Xi that the floods had affected over 10 mu (0.67 hectares) of corn and vegetables in his home. With the help of the Party and the government, the family quickly overcame the difficulties, especially the fast repair of the vegetable greenhouses, which ensured a good harvest of seasonal vegetables, according to Xinhua.

As the Lunar New Year approaches, the family has stocked up on a lot of New Year goods and the village authorities have also organized some cultural activities, Du said. 

During the chat with Du’s family, Xi stressed the importance of ensuring the people’s livelihoods. Xi said the issue is always on the mind of the CPC Central Committee as well as Party committees and governments at all levels. 

“Only when the people are secure can the country prosper,” Xi noted. 

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

Zhang Caiyun, a 64-year-old resident, told that 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 president would visit and that he would pay such particular attention to our matters of concern,” she said.

While expressing his delight at the progress of the village’s post-disaster recovery, Xi also assured the villagers that the Party’s central leadership has “made resolutions to improve the livelihoods of the people by striving to enhance the construction of water conservancy and flood control projects,” which was encouraging to villagers like Zhang.

Zhang said the flooding in August 2023 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. Du said her company will continue to invest in the village and create more jobs for local residents.

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.

Xi’s tradition of sending his best wishes to the public reflects the Party’s people-oriented development philosophy, Xu Xing, a professor of politics at the Zhou Enlai School of Government at Nankai University in Tianjin, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

On Thursday afternoon, Xi also went to an ancient cultural street and visited local distinctive shops, learning about their products, sales, and the development of traditional culture. The president also visited the Peking-Tianjin Campaign Memorial Museum on the next day, where he underscored the necessity of studying and frequently reviewing the history of China’s revolutionary war. 

The revolutionary traditions should be carried on and the fighting spirit should be strengthened, he stressed.

Strong confidence key to overcoming difficulties 

On January 18, 2023, Xi extended festive greetings to all Chinese people when he held virtual talks in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing with the general public from across the country ahead of the Spring Festival. 

Speaking with medical workers and an elderly patient at the First Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University in Northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, Xi said that facing this latest wave of COVID-19 infections, medical workers have worked long hours under heavy pressure and with an excessive workload to treat patients. Acknowledging their great contributions to protecting people’s lives and health, Xi extended festive greetings to medical workers across the country.

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.

Looking back at the footprints of the president’s visits on the eve of the Spring Festival over the decade, “post-disaster reconstruction” has been a major corner to be addressed head-on.

Back in February 2013, Xi visited the Bulenggou village, in the Dongxiang Autonomous County during his first visit to rural areas before Spring Festival. He inspected a reconstruction site in the county, which was the scene of a ground fissure and subsidence following a landslide in March 2011. At the reconstruction site, Xi required overall arrangements and safe construction to guarantee both the rate of progress and project quality.

Visiting disaster-hit families before Spring Festival showed a strong level of support from the top leadership when the families needed it the most. It boosted people’s hope and confidence in overcoming difficulties in the New Year, according to Xu. 

In 2018, he visited Yingxiu, a township in Wenchuan county, Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, which was the epicenter of a major earthquake that killed tens of thousands in 2008.

In 2022, Xi visited the home of a family in North China’s Shanxi that had been hit by floods and learned about their living conditions. 

From Gansu, Sichuan, Shanxi to Tianjin, post-disaster reconstruction in each instance and place has demonstrated the institutional superiority of “concentrating resources to accomplish great things” and has left an imprint of the Party’s original intention to “let the people live a good life,” experts pointed out. 

Road to innovation and prosperity 

The footsteps of Xi’s festive greetings and visits over the past 12 years not only highlight China’s efforts to reconstruct disaster-hit areas, but, more importantly, put together China’s journey to pursue development and prosperity. 

At the Spring Festival in 2015, Xi returned to the village of Liangjiahe where he spent seven years and where his understanding of poverty took root.

“I will never forget Liangjiahe, never forget the villagers here, and never forget the people in the old revolutionary base,” Xi said.

“Getting rid of poverty is just the first step toward a happy life, it is a starting point for a new life and new endeavor,” Xi noted when he visited the house of pig farmer Li Fashun in Sanjia village in Yunnan Province in January 2020.

Wherever Xi goes, he consistently promotes the concept of ecological priority and green development, continuously painting a new picture of a beautiful China.

In February 2016, he visited East China’s Jiangxi Province and called for efforts to manage mountains and water resources and showcase the beauty of mountains and rivers. He encouraged Jiangxi to strive to find a path to economic development that would also complement and be mutually beneficial alongside the improvement of ecological civilization. 

Xi’s footsteps also showcased China’s resolution to pursue all-round rural vitalization, as it is the most effective means to secure the achievements of poverty alleviation.

In February 2021, Xi chose Southwest China’s Guizhou Province as his festival visit destination. The once-deprived province with poor initial endowment has become a model of high-quality development by fully tapping its late-mover advantage and an implementor of the country’s new development philosophy, with its economic growth rate remaining among the top of the ranks across the country over the last decade thanks to innovation-driven and green development.

The 12 years also witnessed China’s focus on independent scientific and technological renovation. 

In February 2015, Xi visited the Xi’an Institute of Optics and Precision Machines at the China Academy of Sciences. He required technology professionals to establish a strong sense of innovation responsibility and innovation confidence.

In February 2021, via video link, Xi inspected the 500-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST), also known as the China Sky Eye, in Guizhou. During the video chat with workers in the control room, Xi emphasized the need to adhere to the primacy of science and technology and harness the crucial and pivotal role of technological innovation. 

This year in Tianjin, he also expressed the hope that Tianjin can become a national advanced manufacturing research and development base, and leverage its advantages in abundant scientific and educational resources to take the lead in developing new productive forces.

At the entry of the Yuangudui village in Gansu, a sentence Xi left during his visit in 2013 was still written there: Let’s work together to make our life better and better.  

On the eve of the Spring Festival, at a time when Chinese people look forward to national warmth and family unity the most, Xi’s greetings and visits to those affected by disasters, inspections to reconstruction projects, and inquiries about replanting efforts, have not only warmed people’s hearts, but also conveyed confidence to the public, as strong confidence is the key to overcoming difficulties and is also a must for the nation when it navigates through a complex global landscape to secure its second centenary goal.