Beijing: After visiting poverty-stricken areas across the country ahead of previous lunar new years, President Xi Jinping’s latest pre-Spring Festival tour took him to the hutong neighborhoods of central Beijing.
Though slightly different, there has been consistent theme throughout the years: a people-oriented approach.
During the visit, Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, enquired about the living conditions of local residents after renovation projects in the traditional alleys.
Wang Chunlian, a resident in the neighborhood, said: “Xi is very kind and approachable. It was like having a relative come to visit.”
“What the CPC pursues is to make the people’s life better,” Xi told residents, adding that the Party aimed to create a more comfortable and better living environment for the people and solve problems they care about so they can enjoy modern life even in old hutong areas.
Xi also greeted deliverymen on duty, stressing that priority should be given to solving employment problems and creating more jobs.
Deliverymen were also mentioned in his new year speech on Dec. 31, during which he extended gratitude to millions of hardworking people, such as deliverymen, sanitation workers and taxi drivers.
In the same speech, Xi said: “My heart goes out to the people living in hardship,” and recollected his visits to impoverished villages in Sichuan, Shandong, Liaoning and Guangdong provinces, mentioning a series of names of ordinary person he met in 2018.
Chinese leaders have made it a tradition to visit ordinary people across the country ahead of Spring Festival, the most important holiday in the Chinese calendar.
Xi visited northwestern Gansu Province in 2013, northern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in 2014, northwestern Shaanxi Province in 2015, eastern Jiangxi Province in 2016, northern Hebei Province in 2017 and southwestern Sichuan Province in 2018.
Interactions between the Chinese leader and the public is common during the inspection trips.
During the 2015 tour to Shaanxi, Xi bought festival gifts before visiting old acquaintances in the village where he worked as an “educated youth.”
China is striving to become a “moderately prosperous society in all respects” by 2020, just before the centennial anniversary of the founding of the CPC.
That means all rural residents living below the current poverty line should be lifted out of poverty by 2020. It will be the first time in China’s history that extreme poverty is eliminated. In 2019, the goal is to lift 10 million rural residents above the poverty line.
Besides poverty-reduction, Xi has also discussed issues concerning people’s aspirations for a better life, including education, jobs, food safety, healthcare, social security and environmental protection, during previous visits.
Following the people-oriented approach, the Party first and foremost ensures the backing, approval and endorsement of the people, in considering and introducing policies.
“Our people are the solid foundation of the country, and are our main source of confidence as the ruling party,” said Xi in his new year speech.