In a heartwarming prelude to Spring Festival, President Xi Jinping extended festive greetings to Chinese people at home and abroad during his inspection tour of Tianjin on Thursday and Friday, calling on authorities to prioritize efforts to guarantee the public's well-being during the holiday.
Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, extended his care and blessings to people at the grassroots level as he visited a disaster-struck village, a bustling historical street and a museum.
The visit came eight days before Spring Festival, China's most important holiday and a traditional occasion for family reunions.
Xi has made it a regular practice to visit people from all walks of life before the holiday, inquiring about their living conditions and showing his support for disadvantaged groups.
The first stop on Xi's inspection tour was a village in Xiqing district, where the farmland was hit by devastating floods in late July and early August.
He looked inside greenhouses to check the growth of vegetables, before asking farmers about the restoration of their facilities and efforts to resume production following the floods.
The president then sat down with the family of Du Honggang in their home, engaging with them in a candid conversation about how they coped with and recovered from the floods and asking them about the family's income.
Xi underscored that the CPC Central Committee and local authorities always give priority to the people's safety, and expressed his hope that the villagers can rebuild their homes and work toward a better life.
He told villagers who greeted him that he was more than delighted to see that they have pulled through the disaster and guaranteed their warmth during the winter.
The president said he has always paid close attention to the situation faced by people affected by various disasters over the past year.
At Tianjin's Ancient Culture Street on Thursday afternoon, Xi, who was enthusiastically greeted by crowds of people, visited shops offering local specialties and chatted with the shopkeepers, employees and tourists.
The streets of this historical area of the city were full of a festive spirit, amid the sound of drums and lively dragon and lion dance performances.
Xi expressed his delight at the joyous atmosphere and strong festive spirit, noting that this Lunar New Year is the start of the Year of the Dragon, adding that in Chinese culture the dragon symbolizes bravery, vitality and good fortune.
He pointed out that Chinese modernization cannot be separated from the inheritance and promotion of the nation's outstanding traditional culture.
Tianjin should safeguard and make good use of its historical and cultural districts, allowing them to shine in its efforts to develop a modern metropolis, he said.
On Friday, Xi inspected a museum dedicated to the Pingjin Campaign, one of the three major campaigns won by the People's Liberation Army during the War of Liberation (1946-49).
He highlighted the need to carry forward the revolutionary tradition, enhance the spirit of struggle and have the courage to overcome all kinds of difficulties and obstacles on the road ahead.
While hearing reports from authorities in Tianjin on Friday, Xi called on the municipality to focus on economic growth and high-quality development.
Tianjin should amplify its strengths in scientific and educational resources and take the lead in developing new productive forces, he said.
He highlighted the need to further in-depth integration of the digital economy and the real economy to promote the high-end, smart and green transformation of the manufacturing sector.
The president encouraged the municipal authorities to review the implementation of reform measures already rolled out before planning new steps, so that reforms can be more targeted and effective.
He reiterated the need for the municipality to further explore its historical and cultural resources, beef up the protection of its cultural heritage and develop cultural brands with distinctive features.
Xi added that the authorities in Tianjin should prioritize the public's well-being, expand the supply of basic public services and keep improving the people's sense of gain.