BEIJING, June 19, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — On March 22, 2019, then President of Italy’s Chamber of Deputies, Roberto Fico, asked Chinese President Xi Jinping about his feelings when he was elected as the country’s president.
“Being elected in such a large country comes with great responsibility and daunting tasks. For the good of my people, I will put aside my own well-being,” said Xi.
From a rural Party branch secretary to the general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, the Chinese president and chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission, Xi always has the country in mind and sees himself as the people’s servant.
Son of loess lands
Fifty-four years ago, as an “educated youth,” 15-year-old Xi went to Liangjiahe village in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province. He later spent seven years in the countryside, working and living alongside farmers.
His earnest wish then was “to make it possible for the villagers to have meat and have it often.” He led them to dig wells, build dams, terrace hills and set up the province’s first methane-generating pit.
The seven years helped foster his unchanging belief – to do practical things for the people, as he recalled during an interview with China Media Group (CMG) in 2003.
“I saw the strength of the people, and their fundamental needs. On the basis of truly understanding the people and the society, some practical ideas had taken root in my mind since then.”
In October 1975, Xi left Liangjiahe and fellow villagers. In an essay recalling his days as an “educated youth,” he wrote: “Wherever I go, I will always be a son of the loess lands.”
Xi later went to Zhengding, a poor county in north China’s Hebei Province. Li Yaping, then Zhengding County official, recalled that Xi said China had many things waiting to be done and needed some people to shoulder responsibility.
In Zhengding, Xi rode an old bicycle all over the county and noticed that the annual grain procurement quota of 38 million kilograms by the state had left local people hungry.
He wrote to the CPC Central Committee, suggesting local farmers’ difficulties were caused by the high procurement quota. After the investigation team learned about the situation, they reduced the quota from 38 million kilograms to 24 million kilograms.
Cheng Baohuai, then secretary of Zhengding County CPC Committee, recalled that people appreciated Xi’s work, saying they finally had enough food here. Xi really rooted himself in the people and took to heart the hardships of the people, Cheng said.
To meet the people’s aspirations for a better life is our mission, Xi said in 2012 after he was elected as the general secretary of the CPC Central Committee.
On the eve of New Year in 2013, Xi visited people with difficulties in Luotuowan Village, Hebei Province. Villager Gu Chenghu remembered Xi as a caring person. “He saw there was a hole in my sleeve, so he gave me a warm coat.”
Since the 18th CPC National Congress, Xi has made more than 100 grassroot-level visits, including both urban and rural areas. He cared about the food markets’ holiday supply sufficiency, residents’ access to medical care, and migrant workers’ pay. The people’s urgent needs and worries were included onto the agenda of important CPC Central Committee meetings and turned into the focuses of China’s reforms.
“We are now practicing a people-centered development philosophy. People-centered development must focus on what the people need most,” he said during a symposium on eradicating extreme poverty on June 23, 2017.
Under Xi’s leadership, China has witnessed historic changes with absolute poverty wiped out and moderate prosperity attained for the country’s 1.4 billion people.
China’s per capita disposable income stood at 35,128 yuan (about 4,940 U.S. dollars) in 2021, up 112.8 percent from 2012. The urban-rural income ratio was narrowed to 2.5:1.
Back in 1995, a CMG reporter asked Xi, then secretary of the CPC Fuzhou Municipal Committee, about his goal in life.
“I believe it’s about fulfillment, about doing something meaningful for the people.”