While attending the 70th session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly and visiting the United States in 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a speech in Seattle, Washington of the U.S., unveiling his simple wish more than 40 years ago of making people in Liangjiahe Village, Yan’an of Shaanxi Province in northwest China able to eat meat in their diets more often.
In his teens, Xi was sent from Beijing to work as a farmer in the small village. Impressed by the poverty situation in the rural areas, he has been focusing on poverty alleviation work over the past 40 years as he turned from the secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) branch of Liangjiahe Brigade to the Chinese president and General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee. Improving the well-being of poor rural residents in China has been his concerns.
On September 22, 2020, Xi attended the General Debate of the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly and made a statement. “We have every confidence to achieve our goals within the set time frame, that is, to finish the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, lift out of poverty all rural residents living below the current poverty line, and meet ten years ahead of schedule the poverty eradication target set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” he said.
Xi’s simple wishes have now come true. China eliminated absolute poverty nationwide by the end of 2020, making it the country reducing poverty of the largest population in the world.
New Year Greetings
Spring Festival marks the day when the Chinese people reunite with their families for thousands of years. Over the past years, Xi has kept visiting impoverished areas every year before the festival.
On February 3, 2013 before the Spring Festival, Xi visited the house of Ma Gang, a senior CPC member living in Yuangudui Village, Weiyuan County of Dingxi City, Gansu Province in northwest China.
As Ma recalled, Xi entered the house and began to talk with him about his living conditions. After tasting the water stored at Ma’s house, Xi inspected local water supply project construction site and stressed the urgency of allowing local people to get access to clean drinking water to related departments for water shortage remains a major hurdle for local poverty alleviation.
During the 7 years in Liangjiahe, Xi lived in cave dwellings and worked with his partners on repairing water projects. The experience drove him to set the goal of making China’s poverty-stricken regions like Liangjiahe to shake off poverty at an early date. He visited the village before the Spring Festival in 2015.
Besides visiting Dingxi in Gansu in 2013 and Yan’an in 2015, Xi visited the houses of herdsmen in Xilin Gol League, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in north China in 2014, went to Shenshan Village, a poverty-stricken region in Jinggangshan of Jiangxi Province, an old revolutionary base in 2016, and visited Desheng Village in Zhangjiakou, Hebei Province in 2017 and impoverished people of the Yi ethnic group in Daliang Mountains of Zhaojue County, Sichuan Province in southwest China.
With Xi’s efforts on poverty alleviation over the past eight years, hundreds of millions of poor people in China have shaken off poverty. As he said when visiting a villager living in Sanjia Village, Baoshan in Yunnan Province, southwest China before Spring Festival this year, poverty alleviation only marks the start for rural residents to live a better life and further efforts are needed.
The People-Centered Messages
On January 20, 2015, Xi went to Kunming in Yunnan and met with several local government workers and residents of Gongshan Dulong and Nu Autonomous County in the province, further boosting their confidence towards a more prosperous life. More than a year ago, the county reported the opening of a highway tunnel in a letter to President Xi and received congratulations and encouragement.
According to Gao Derong, the previous major of the Gongshan County, local villagers often had to spend half a month to climb over the Ligong Mountain to Gongshan County and return before 1949 when the People’s Republic of China was founded. After 1949, a road for people and horses to travel was built, reducing the needed time to and fro to around seven days. It took local people seven or eight hours to reach the county after the building of a road for vehicles in 1999 and the tunnel which has opened to traffic allows them to get to the county in only three hours. By the end of 2018, the Dulong ethnic people shook off poverty.
President Xi replied again to the letter from the Dulong ethnic people on April 10, 2019, encouraging them to make further efforts for better life after shaking off poverty. He further expressed concerns on local people in the 2020 New Year speech on December 31, 2019.
After leaving the Liangjiahe Village in 1975, Xi wrote letters to the villagers for four times. In the letter unveiled on May 5, 2014, Xi encouraged local people to combat floods and strive towards a better life, which shows his people-centered philosophy.
In April 1997, Xi who was Deputy Secretary of CPC Fujian Provincial Committee went to Xihaigu, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in northwest China for the first time and was deeply shocked by local poverty situation. He has taken the lead in boosting the cooperation between Ningxia and Fujian Province in southeast China to support the former with all-out efforts since then. With his efforts, technologies of edible fungi planting were promoted in Ningxia, which has now become a pillar industry in the region.
Xi who turned China’s vice president and a member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau inspected Ningxia again in April 2008. In July 2016, he went to Ningxia for the third time and visited local poor households, encouraging them to improve their income through developing industries and ensuring children’s education.
Over the past 50 years, Xi’s footprints have covered impoverished regions across China, as he has been concerning on people’s well-being.
(Source: Xinhua News Agency)