Xi Focus: Nurturing, encouraging China's children
Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, greets children of Beizhan Community in Longhua District in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province, during an inspection tour, Oct. 24, 2018. (Xinhua/Ju Peng)
BEIJING, June 1 (Xinhua) -- "A better life for children is our biggest wish," said Chinese President Xi Jinping as he took part in a child-focused activity ahead of International Children's Day in 2013.
Since then, no matter how busy he is, Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, has always taken the time to encourage and nurture children, whether on June 1 or at any other time of year.
He has talked with students in schools, attended children's events and replied to their letters. He has also taken the time to interact with children.
The following moments are some highlights of Xi's interactions with children over the past few years.
Children are the future of the country and the hope of the Chinese nation, Xi said when celebrating International Children's Day with students at a primary school in 2014.
He encountered a group of students who were practicing calligraphy with the characters -- "Jing Zhong Bao Guo," which translates into English as "serving the nation with absolute loyalty."
The phrase comes from the story of Yue Fei, an ancient military commander known for his patriotism. Yue's mother tattooed these four Chinese characters on his back to remind him of the importance of unswerving loyalty to the nation.
Xi recalled that, as a child, he was very much inspired by the story of Yue, which he learned from a picture book his mother had given him.
"This (Jing Zhong Bao Guo) has become the pursuit of my life," Xi said as he called on the students to break new ground for China.
STUDY HARD, BEAUTIFUL MIND
Xi sets great store by the intellectual development of children.
He said that children in today's China are a new force in the endeavor of building a modern socialist country, and urged them to study hard, firm up their ideals and convictions, and develop strong bodies and minds to prepare for realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.
Xi is more than pleased to catch up on the forays made by children and teenagers into science.
Back in 2016, he praised a team of middle school students for their passion in science exploration, encouraging them to stay hungry for knowledge, maintain their interest in scientific exploration and foster their scientific spirit.
The students had previously sent Xi a letter briefing him on a mini-satellite they had designed and developed.
Both academic performance and aesthetic sensibility are important, according to Xi's vision of an education system that ensures the well-rounded development of students.
In a letter replying to professors at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2018, Xi noted the importance of aesthetic education in shaping a beautiful mind and stressed the need to improve aesthetic education to ensure the healthy growth of the country's young generation.
"A LITTLE BIT STRONGER"
Xi believes that children's health and fitness are no trivial matter, noting that "when the young people are strong, the country will be strong."
One child-health problem that has weighed on Xi's mind is myopia. During a visit to a primary school in Shaanxi Province in 2020, Xi stressed the importance of protecting the eyesight of children when he noticed some students wearing glasses.
He also called for greater efforts to build up children's physical strength via sports and exercise.
During his visit to Germany in March 2014, Xi cheered on a group of young Chinese footballers playing a friendly match against local players.
"I have confidence in you, in your generation," Xi said to the 20 kids who were being trained in Berlin. "I hope you will grow up to be outstanding football players."
In February 2017, at the Wukesong Sports Center in Beijing, Xi bent over and greeted a young hockey player in a special way -- bumping the boy's shoulder with his own.
"Grow a little bit stronger, young man," Xi said to him with a smile.
Xi has always attached great importance to the cultivation of industriousness among children.
For many years, Xi has labored side by side with young students in voluntary tree-planting activities in Beijing. As he worked, Xi would ask about their studies and lives, and encourage them to study hard, love their work and do more exercise.
"I was deeply impressed when I saw Grandpa Xi shoveling, digging and watering the saplings so skillfully," said Bi Yang, who was among a group of primary school students at Beijing's annual tree-planting event in 2019.
Bi said the conversation they had with Xi was inspiring, and she would keep Xi's words in mind, putting more effort into her studies, work and exercise in order to contribute to the country.
In 2013, Xi visited the Beijing Children's Palace. At its botanical garden, he watched children do farm activities ranging from hoeing and sowing to harvesting vegetables. He approached two children who were transplanting seedlings, and talked with them about their knowledge of the plant.
He told the children that life is built on hard work.
Xi encouraged the children to take pride in their work. "Through work, you will not only sow the seeds of hope and reap the fruits, but also temper your will and improve yourselves," he said.[ Editor: WXL ]