Villagers excited to meet Xi
Updated: 2013-07-12 07:22
By Zheng Jinran in Zhengding, Hebei, and Zhu Zhe in Beijing (China Daily)
President returns to 'familiar' area in Hebei to listen to the public
Tang Xiuying, a 55-year-old villager from Hebei province, could not hide her excitement while describing her meeting with top leader Xi Jinping on Thursday.
"I never expected to see him in person," she said. "I told him that life is much better now than it was when he came to our village five years ago.
"I said we have new apartments and a cleaner environment. He smiled at me and agreed with me, which made me really happy."
Tang was one of 10 people from Tayuanzhuang village, Zhengding county, who had a group conversation with President Xi on Thursday morning.
Xi said the purpose of his trip was to hear more from the public. Experts said the trip sets an example to all officials and will push forward an ongoing Party campaign that requires officials nationwide to listen to and respect public opinion.
"I'm very familiar with this area," said Xi, who served as Party chief of Zhengding between 1983 and 1985.
"I'm here today to see you all, to hear from you all and also to get myself recharged," he said, according to posts on the official micro blog of Xinhua News Agency.
Xi also visited an old colleague of his who worked with him 30 years ago. "Our purpose is to serve the people," he said. "With this attachment, one will never forget the people at the place he or she once worked at."
Xi's visit was also a pleasant surprise for 54-year-old villager Rong Xiaoyan, who encountered the president at a small supermarket in the village on Thursday.
"He cared about our daily life, asking me whether the cooked duck is affordable for me," she told China Daily. "I told him it cost me 13 yuan ($2.10) for the duck, not very expensive."
Liang Yong, a researcher at the Academy of Social Sciences of Shijiazhuang, said Xi's trip back to Zhengding showed his deep attachment to the people there.
"When Xi worked at the county 30 years ago, he gained a reputation for being close to the people and helping them solve difficulties," he said.
Liang said Xi's working experience at the grassroots level must be a driving force of the ongoing Party campaign that calls on all Party members to improve their ties with the people.
"The trip of the top leader to the village has set a good example to all officials," he said.
On Thursday afternoon, Xi also visited Xibaipo, a small village 95 kilometers northwest of the provincial capital of Shijiazhuang. Xibaipo was the headquarters of the Party's central committee from May 1948 to March 1949.
"I've been here many times, and I have a lot of respect for the place. The trip here always brings me many thoughts," Xi said.
He said recalling China's revolutionary history could bring "positive energy" to Party members.
(China Daily USA 07/12/2013 page2)