During this year's annual meeting of legislators, President Xi Jinping met with representatives from all walks of life, from herdsmen and farmers to private entrepreneurs, and talked about green development, rural revitalization, innovation and entrepreneurship, and poverty alleviation.
President Xi Jinping attends a panel discussion with his fellow deputies from Henan Province at the second session of the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing on March 8, 2019. [Photo: Xinhua]
1. Xi asks a herdsman for directions
President Xi joined a panel discussion with legislators from the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, which is home to China's enormous grassland. Wu Yunbo, who is a member of the Mongolian ethnic group, invited President Xi to pay a visit to his hometown.
Wu Yunbo spoke about how he had led poverty-stricken households towards prosperity though environmentally-friendly development. Five years ago, he set up a cooperative in his village that raises cattle. It has since grown to develop an industrial chain that integrates breeding, processing, and sales.
After listening to Wu, President Xi asked how he could get to the village.
Deputy Wu: "By airplane, train, or car. They are all okay."
President Xi: "Tell me exactly how."
Deputy Wu: "You can fly from Beijing to Tongliao Airport in Horqin, and then… we can pick you up at the airport!"
President Xi encouraged Wu Yunbo to build a strong brand for his enterprise. He suggested "a new model of high-quality development that prioritizes ecology and is oriented towards green development."
"We should not be tempted to sacrifice the environment in exchange for economic growth, or try to break through the red line of ecological protection just because we run into some economic difficulties," said President Xi.
President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Wu Yunbo, a legislator from the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, at the second session of the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing on March 5, 2019. [Photo: Xinhua]
2. Farmers have eight dreams
Li Liancheng is a farmer and deputy from Henan Province. He told President Xi about the wishes of the local villagers besides having enough food and clothing, being able to read, and having access to health care.
Li: "The seventh is the dream of a career. Nobody wants to leave home to work if they can find a job in their hometown. The eighth is a dream about the environment. We want to change the village from looking like a dirty mess into a place with blue sky, green land, and lucid water."
Xi: "It's a very vivid story…I often go to economically-backward areas in the countryside, and I always ask: 'What else do you need?' What you are talking about today is exactly what our farmers need at this new phase of development. That is, to pursue a happy life."
President Xi Jinping said that people's pursuit of a happy life should be at the core of advancements in rural revitalization. "We should improve the old age, medical, and serious illness insurance systems for urban and rural residents, and improve the basic livelihood safety system, along with the systems of care for rural left-behind children, women, and the elderly."
President Xi Jinping shakes hands with a deputy from Henan Province at the second session of the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing on March 8, 2019. [Photo: Xinhua]
3. "I see a lifelong career in manufacturing"
Ding Shizhong is the chairman of Anta Sportswear and a legislator from Fujian Province. He explained to President Xi that his company started out as a small enterprise 18 years ago, and has grown into the world's third-largest sporting goods company in terms of market value. Ding said that Anta's growth was the outcome of creativity and innovation.
Ding recalled Xi's visit to the Anta exhibition hall at an international exposition in 2001 and his comments on the importance of product quality and brand building.
Eight years later, Ding told President Xi, "'Anta' refers to two Chinese characters: 'an' and 'ta,' which implies 'start a business with dedication and be an honest businessman."
Xi: "You started in the business in 2001, and you're still doing it now, and your business is getting bigger. When a man starts an enterprise and a career, it's not just a matter of making a few bucks. It's one's duty to be practical and to concentrate on doing business."
"We need to build a fair and transparent environment with the rule of law for enterprises with all types of ownership, and create an atmosphere conducive to the healthy growth of entrepreneurs," said President Xi.
President Xi Jinping shakes hands with his fellow deputies from Fujian Province at the second session of the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing on March 10, 2019. [Photo: Xinhua]
4. "China will not relent until poverty is eliminated"
Six years ago, Xi Jinping visited impoverished locals in a small village in Gansu Province.
When meeting with legislators from Gansu Province at the Two Sessions, he once again spoke about the importance of poverty alleviation.
"We are at a crucial point, as there are only two years left for us to meet the goal of eradicating extreme poverty by 2020. We must maintain our perseverance in the fight against poverty. And there should be no retreat until a complete victory is won," said President Xi. "We must not seek short-term gains, or present fraud as accomplishment."
President Xi Jinping attends a panel discussion with his fellow deputies from Gansu Province at the second session of the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing on March 7, 2019. [Photo: Xinhua]