Xi Focus: 'I was once a farmer'

Source:Xinhua 07-03-22 09:23 Updated BJT
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BEIJING, March 6 (Xinhua) -- In 1969, a young man, not quite 16 years old, left Beijing and settled in a poor village some 1,000 km away in northwest China, where he spent the next seven years working as a farmer.

More than five decades later, the memories of toiling on the Loess Plateau are still engraved in his mind. Like seeds in fertile soil, those experiences have grown into an enduring sense of concern for the welfare of farmers.

The man is Xi Jinping, now China's top leader.

"I was a farmer... and knew what villagers wanted the most!" President Xi recalled during a foreign trip in 2015.

"One thing I wished most at the time was to make it possible for the villagers to have meat and have it often," he said, referring to his past experiences.

Today, food is no longer a problem for Chinese farmers. But Xi's bond with the rural people has remained strong.

On Sunday, Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, visited national political advisors from the sectors of agriculture and welfare and social security, who are attending the annual session of the top political advisory body.

He stressed the importance of ensuring grain supply, showing great concern for farmers and the agricultural sector.

The question of farmers' livelihoods has been an important issue for Xi.

In December 2012, about one month after taking the helm of the Party, Xi braved the winter cold and brought cooking oil, flour, quilts and coats to families in Hebei's Fuping County, one of China's most impoverished regions then.

Xi's visit brought not only hope and belief, but also concrete measures to boost local development.

"The general secretary said during his tour to our village that he would like us to get rid of poverty and become better off as soon as possible. Today, I want to let him know that we've made it," said Gu Chenghu, a villager in Fuping five years after Xi's visit.

After taking the Party's top post, Xi waged a nationwide anti-poverty campaign. In February 2021, he announced that China has eliminated absolute poverty, scoring a "complete victory" in the fight. In just eight years, China lifted 98.99 million poor rural residents over the poverty line.

This historic victory does not mean that Xi feels less concerned about agriculture, rural areas and farmers. He has shifted the strategy to the next target: rural revitalization.

It was proposed as a key move for the development of a modernized economy at the 19th CPC National Congress in 2017.

According to the roadmap, "decisive" progress will have been made by 2035, with the basic modernization of agriculture and rural areas achieved. By 2050, rural areas should have robust agriculture, beautiful landscapes and prosperous farmers.

In the recently published "No. 1 central document" for 2022, the first policy statement released by China's central authorities each year, the key tasks to comprehensively push forward rural revitalization were outlined.

"We must firmly hold the bottom lines of guaranteeing China's grain security and ensuring no large-scale return to poverty," it noted.

In August 2021, more than eight years after his trip to Fuping, Hebei, Xi returned to the province and inspected progress on rural revitalization.

He dropped by the home of villager Huo Jin and chatted with the family. He stressed that, even when China's urbanization has reached a high level, there will still be hundreds of millions of people working and living in rural areas.

Prosperity must be achieved in both urban and rural areas, Xi said, calling for building a new socialist countryside that is more beautiful and has better living conditions.

Editor: zhangrui
07-03-22 09:23 BJT
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