Xi Focus: Moments between Xi and senior citizens

Beijing: It is a traditional virtue for the Chinese to respect the elderly. On Chongyang Festival, equivalent to China’s Seniors’ Day on Monday, senior citizens nationwide received greetings from President Xi Jinping.

Xi wished senior people all over the country a long, healthy, and happy life in reply to a letter written earlier by 30 senior residents in Macao.

China has a senior population of around 250 million. The authorities have attached great importance to senior care services. Xi himself has many interactions with the elderly over the past few years.

In February 2013, in a nursing home visit in Lanzhou, capital of northwest China’s Gansu Province, Xi brought a dish of food to the elderly in the canteen, extending Spring Festival greetings to them and wishing them happy and healthy.

Days before the New Year’s Day of 2014, Xi visited a nursing home in Beijing, talking with senior citizens and asking about their health, families and life at the nursing home.

Xi was delighted to hear that they were not only well-fed and well-clothed, but also had plenty of activities, from learning to use a computer to playing diabolo, a traditional Chinese folk game. Xi wished them happiness.

Passing by the dining room, Xi noticed a weekly recipe on the wall and stopped to ask if the variety of dishes could accommodate different tastes.

Xi showed approval after learning that six dishes were offered every day and people with mobility difficulties had the meals delivered to them.

Visiting a community home care service station in Fuzhou, southeast China’s Fujian Province, in November 2014, Xi wished the seniors good health and longevity.

After hearing that there were more than 40 people aged 90 or above and two centenarians in the community, Xi said that elderly services were becoming more and more important in an aging society.

In November 2017, Xi met with more than 600 representatives attending an award ceremony for ethical role models.

As he prepared to pose for a group photo, Xi noticed two elderly representatives — Huang Xuhua, 93, and Huang Dafa, 82. Xi went to hold their hands and told them: “You are looking great. Don’t stand over there. Come to sit next to me.”

While the two tried to decline the offer, Xi insisted. “Please do come. We can always make space for you,” he said. The moment was captured by camera.

Xi said giving seats to the senior role models is in the traditional virtue of respecting the elderly. And he practiced what he said.

Visiting a community elderly nursery center in Shanghai in November 2018, Xi said as Chinese society ages, “it is our common wish that elderly people lead a happy, healthy and long life.”

Xi stressed the need to earnestly implement elderly care policies to benefit more people.

Xi said at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China that “As we respond proactively to population aging, we will adopt policies and foster a social environment in which senior citizens are respected, cared for, and live happily in their later years.”