Leaders pledge to safeguard youngsters

Updated: 2014-05-31 03:28

By ZHAO YINAN (China Daily)

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Leaders pledge to safeguard youngsters

Premier Li Keqiang talks to a boy on a rehabilitation program at a children's hospital in Beijing on Friday. He expressed his goodwill to children nationwide ahead of International Children's Day, which falls on Sunday. [Photo by Ma Zhancheng/Xinhua]

Xi talks with Young Pioneers, while Li urges medical help for more children

President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang visited children in Beijing separately on Friday ahead of International Children's Day on Sunday, with both pledging better protection for the "future of the nation".

Xi watched a ceremony for Young Pioneers at a primary school in Haidian district, where more than 10 percent of the students come from different ethnic groups.

While sharing his childhood memories of joining the Young Pioneers, a social organization for children in China, Xi stressed that core social values must be introduced from childhood.

Premier Li visited handicapped orphans at Bayi Children's Hospital.

When a boy at the rehabilitation center stumbled toward him, Li quickened his steps and reached out to help the youngster.

"Can you walk on your own? Believe in yourself and trust those who have helped you. Keep practicing and you can do it better," he said.

As Li encouraged him, the boy, wearing blue-and-white striped hospital clothing, hesitantly took several small steps forward.

Li was told the boy was being helped under the Tomorrow Plan, a medical aid program initiated by the Ministry of Civil Affairs to help handicapped orphans in children’s welfare homes.

The premier encouraged the program to expand and to help more children, especially those in rural and poverty-stricken areas.

Since being launched in 2004, the Tomorrow Plan has offered free surgery and rehabilitation training to more than 80,000 handicapped orphans.