YAN'AN, Shaanxi/ANYANG, Henan, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- The most challenging and arduous tasks we face in building a modern socialist China in all respects remain in rural areas, stressed Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, during his recent inspection tours to Shaanxi Province's Yan'an city and Henan Province's Anyang city.
Xi, also Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, urged solid steps to comprehensively study and implement the spirit of the 20th CPC National Congress and continue prioritizing the development of agriculture and rural areas. The Yan'an Spirit and the Hongqi Canal Spirit should be carried forward, and our achievements in poverty alleviation be consolidated and expanded, said Xi. He also called for efforts to advance rural revitalization across the board and ceaselessly strive for the modernization of agriculture and rural areas.
Ding Xuexiang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and director of the General Office of the CPC Central Committee, accompanied Xi on the visits.
The visits lasted from Wednesday to Friday. Xi visited the rural area and a school in Yan'an city with the company of Liu Guozhong, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and secretary of the CPC Shaanxi Provincial Committee, and Zhao Yide, governor of Shaanxi province. He visited Anyang city, where he inspected a revolutionary education base and a cultural relics protection unit, accompanied by Lou Yangsheng, secretary of the CPC Henan Provincial Committee, and Wang Kai, governor of Henan.
An old revolutionary base, Yan'an used to suffer entrenched poverty. Xi has been concerned about folks in northern Shaanxi. In February 2015, Xi presided over a seminar on eliminating poverty for a better life in the old revolutionary bases of the provinces of Shaanxi and Gansu, and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. He delivered an important speech that charted the course for the critical battle against poverty in these regions. Yan'an was Xi's first destination for his inspection tour after the conclusion of the 20th CPC National Congress. He wished to see how the folks were doing after being lifted out of poverty and learn about the difficulties they were facing and their views on rural revitalization.
On the afternoon of Wednesday, Xi traveled to the Nangou village of Gaoqiao town, Ansai district of Yan'an city as soon as he got off the train. An apple orchard in the mountain was embracing a bumper harvest. Xi walked into the orchard and chatted with growers who were picking apples. He asked about this year's harvest and picked a big red apple. He also learned about apple-growing technique, picking method, apple variety and quality, sale price, villagers' income as well as how to further promote apple-growing and other industries. Xi showed great concern for irrigation and water use. Local villagers told him that they had effectively solved the problem by building dams, as well as adopting drip irrigation and fine management. Xi recognized their efforts, saying, "This is exactly agricultural modernization. And you have found the right path to industrial development."
At an apple washing and selecting workshop, Xi was briefed on the development of the local apple industry and checked the production line for sorting and packaging apples. A variety of locally-grown apples and deep-processed products were on display. He looked at them with great interest and listened to the briefing carefully. Xi affirmed what the locals have done in developing modern agriculture and rural tourism, cultivating and boosting the collective economy, which has helped villagers increase their incomes and become well-off.
Outside the workshop, villagers gathered to greet Xi in a loud voice. Xi chatted with them and recalled the years he spent as an educated youth in northern Shaanxi. He said to them, "I once lived in northern Shaanxi for seven years. During that time, when I saw people were leading a hard life, I thought about what could be done to make their lives better. This time, when I came, I saw a bumper harvest, well-improved traffic conditions as well as other fundamental changes." In the past, villagers in northern Shaanxi had to reclaim terraces and plant crops, having their feet firmly planted in the soil. Carrying hoes into the field and farming all day long, they lived a tough life with their work hardly paying off. Now, with the efforts to convert farmland on the mountains to forest, apple trees have been planted on the hillsides. Villagers have work to do with stable income, children enjoy good education and the elderly benefit from medical insurance -- their lives are getting better day by day. The achievements made in northern Shaanxi are a vivid epitome of the great changes taking place in China, Xi said, pointing out that China has achieved the First Centenary Goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, the problem of absolute poverty has been solved and the villagers now enjoy good living conditions, but we should continue to work hard and make our lives even better. The climate, sunlight, latitude, altitude and other factors in northern Shaanxi shape it into a suitable place for developing the apple industry. Besides, equipped with advanced technologies such as drip irrigation, dwarf planting, and production lines for sorting fruits, apples can be sold out locally with a vast market awaiting. Shaanxi embraces the favorable timing, geographical and human conditions to vigorously develop the apple industry, which is the perfect, most suitable and promising industry for the region, he said. Xi stressed, the CPC is a Party of the people and for the people. As the ruling Party, the CPC is committed to serving the people and doing a good job for their benefit. Empty talk will do nothing for our country; only solid work will make it flourish. We must gain a full understanding of and apply the spirit of the 20th CPC National Congress, advance rural revitalization across the board, implement one policy after another for the prosperity of the people, speed up the modernization of agriculture and rural areas, so that all the country folks could live a more prosperous life. Xi's remarks won thunderous applause from the villagers.
After that, Xi traveled to Zaoyuan campus of Yan'an Middle School, which was the first school of its kind set up by the CPC. With great care and attention of revolutionaries of the older generation, educationists, and leaders of the Party and the country, Yan'an Middle School has a glorious history as well as fine revolutionary traditions and has fostered many talents for the old revolutionary base areas. Xi walked into the school's education history museum to learn more about how the school is run and operated. He expressed his hope that the school should follow the Yan'an Spirit in imparting knowledge and educating students, deliver an education that the people are satisfied with, and carry forward the fine revolutionary traditions and cultivate talents of the new era.
A variety of tasty dishes were on offer at the student dining hall. Xi checked on the dishes and asked the cooks about the prices and flavors, urging them to ensure food quality and pay special attention to food hygiene, so as to provide safe and delicious meals for the students.
The students were having classes at the teaching building. Xi stepped into the classroom of Class 2, Grade 10, where he had a cordial conversation with the teacher and students. He asked the students about their ideals and what they want to become after growing up. One of the students told Xi that she wanted to be a doctor like Li Shizhen, the renowned Ming Dynasty herbalist. A student said he wanted to study pharmacy at university in the future, another student said she would like to learn foreign languages and become an interpreter for diplomatic affairs. Xi was very delighted to hear their answers and praised them as having clear life goals and lofty aspirations. He encouraged the students to establish great ideals at an early age, aspire to become capable young people of a new generation who will contribute to the development of socialism and carry forward the socialist cause, so that our revolutionary traditions and heritage can be passed down from generation to generation.
Night fell as the leaders were leaving. All students went out of their classrooms, clapping hands to see the general secretary off. Xi also waved to bid farewell to them.
On the morning of Friday, Xi arrived at the Memorial Hall of the Hongqi Canal in the city of Linzhou in Anyang, Henan Province. In the 1960s, the local people, in order to deal with the severely harsh local environment where they lived completely at the mercy of the scanty rainfall, built the water conservancy project on the mountainside of Taihang with the support of the Party and the government. The project, which diverts water from the Zhanghe River to the area, is called a "man-made river from Heaven." Xi walked into the exhibition hall and watched different parts of the exhibition -- "Millennial Struggles against the Drought," "Creating Miracles under the Leading of the Red Flag," "Heroic People and Taihang Mountain Monument," "Grand Changes and Realizing Dreams," and "The Eternal Spirit and Marching into the Future" -- one by one. Xi noted that the Hongqi Canal is a monument inscribing the heroic spirit of the unyielding and valiant local people who dare to fight to change their fate. We need to educate people, especially the youths, with the Hongqi Canal Spirit that China's socialism is won by hard work, struggles and even sacrifice of lives. This was not only true in the past but also true in the new era. Without the arduous work of the older generation, or without the blood and even lives they devoted, there would be no happy life today. We must always remember them. Today, our material life has been greatly improved, but the spirit of perseverance like "the bullheaded old man removing the mountain" and the hard-working style must not change. The Hongqi Canal is of so much educational significance that everyone should come to have a look. Then, Xi inspected the operation of the canal's water diversion sluice gate on the site and learned about the functions of the sluice gate in water diversion, irrigation and environmental improvement.
During the construction of the Hongqi Canal, 300 youngsters formed a commando team, and, with 17 months of hard fighting, they tunneled through the hard rock on the dangerous terrains for a stretch of the canal. The tunnel they made was named "The Youth Tunnel." Xi walked up the steps and came to "The Youth Tunnel," inspecting the canal along the way. He stressed that the Hongqi Canal Spirit and the Yan'an Spirit are coherent and come in continuity, and both are indelible historical memories of the Chinese nation, always stirring people's soul. He said the younger generation must carry forward the spirit of staying tough and diligent, self-reliant and hard-working, abandon the finicky lifestyle and complacent attitude, and, like our parents' generation, leave a memorable legacy in history with their youthful enthusiasm. The onus is on our generations to realize the Second Centenary Goal, Xi said. We are living in a remarkable time and must make our own contributions so as to live up to people's expectations. The Hongqi Canal Spirit will never perish!
On the afternoon of Friday, Xi made an inspection tour of the Yinxu Ruins situated on both banks of the Huanhe River in the northwest suburbs of Anyang. The 3,300-year-old Yinxu Ruins has been confirmed by historic documents and archaeological excavations as the capital site of late Shang (Yin) Dynasty, the first such ruins so confirmed in Chinese history. Walking slowly into the Yinxu Museum, Xi attentively observed the bronze ware, jade ware, oracle bone inscriptions, and other unearthed relics. Then, Xi visited the Exhibition Hall of Chariot Pits where he observed the original-sized samples of animal-driven carts and remains of a Shang Dynasty road. He pointed out that oracle bone inscriptions unearthed at Yinxu Ruins kept the evidence of the Chinese written language of 3,000 years ago, helping to bring recorded Chinese history nearly 1,000 years earlier than previously believed. "I have long been yearning for visiting here. This time I come here for a deeper study and understanding of the Chinese civilization so that we can make the past serve the present, and draw inspirations for better building modern Chinese civilization," he said. The Chinese characters are extraordinary and serve as a tie in the forming and development of Chinese nation, and the archaeologists have done a great job in this regard. We should attach more importance to and put more efforts on archaeological research to carry forward the project of tracing the origins of the Chinese civilization. With a long and continuous history stretching back to antiquity, the Chinese civilization shaped our great nation, and this nation will continue to be great, he added. Xi urged efforts to carry forward the fine traditional culture through discovery, research and conservation of the cultural relics. He stressed that fine traditional Chinese culture is the root of the Party's new theories. The ultimate approach of adapting Marxism to the Chinese context and the needs of the times is to integrate the basic tenets of Marxism with China's specific realities and fine traditional culture. We should stay confident in our culture and be more confident and prouder to be Chinese.
Chen Xi and other leading officials of relevant central authorities accompanied Xi in these activities. ■