'My job is to serve the people,' Xi says in New Year inspection

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-02-14 07:44
Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, talks with local officials and villagers as he visits Sanhe village of Sanchahe township in Zhaojue county of Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture, Southwest China's Sichuan province, Feb 11, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

WAR ON POVERTY

The first leg of Xi's new year inspection, from Saturday to Tuesday, took him to one of the country's impoverished areas -- Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture.

Eleven out of the 17 counties in the prefecture are flagged as key spots in the state's poverty alleviation work. The prefecture is populated by the Yi, an ethnic minority in China. Many live in remote mountainous areas, which impedes their economic development.

Xi went to two Yi villages, including one at 2,500 meters above sea level, to visit poor villagers.

He was happy to learn that villagers have increased their income through raising cattle and growing potatoes, pepper and walnuts.

"Not a single ethnic group, family or person should be left behind," Xi said. "To build a moderately prosperous society, the most difficult task lies in regions with extreme poverty."

"But we will fight and must win this war," he added.

Under Xi, China aims to eliminate absolute poverty by 2020.

About 68.53 million people have been lifted out of poverty over the past five years. There were around 30 million Chinese living below the national poverty line at the end of 2017, according to the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development.

The poor have been Xi's foremost concern. For the sixth year in a row, Xi's Lunar New Year inspection tour has taken him to the front lines of China's war against poverty.

"Our socialist system is to let people of all ethnic groups live a great life," Xi said.

Before leaving the villages, the Yi people sang songs and gave the president a traditional cloak to wear.

Xi shook their hands and wished them a happy new year.

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