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Xi Jinping pays a visit to officials and ordinary people at grassroots via video link and extends best wishes for the Spring Festival to all

As the Spring Festival, a traditional gala of the Chinese nation, is approaching, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, visited grassroots officials and ordinary people via video link and extended his best wishes for Lunar New Year to the Chinese people of all ethnic groups, wishing them good health, happiness, career progress and good luck in the Year of the Rabbit, as well as wishing the great motherland prosperity and peace.

Li Qiang, Cai Qi and Ding Xuexiang, members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, joined the visit via video link.

As the Spring Festival is approaching, the whole China is filled with a festive atmosphere. On the morning of January 18, Xi had video links, in the east hall of the Great Hall of the People, with officials and people at the grassroots level in Heilongjiang, Fujian, Xinjiang, Henan, Beijing and Sichuan. He held virtual talks with medical workers on the frontline of epidemic prevention and control, senior citizens at a welfare home, employees of an energy supply enterprise, officials and workers of a high-speed railway station, vendors and customers at a wholesale market, and officials and villagers in a village, sending them regards from the CPC Central Committee.

Xi, who has been deeply concerned about the prevention and control of COVID-19 and the treatment of patients, first had a video link with the First Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University in Heilongjiang Province, and talked with medical staff and inpatients, asking in detail about the fever clinic treatment, the treatment of severe cases, drug allocation and patient rehabilitation after the optimization and adjustment of COVID-19 prevention and control measures.

He was quite relieved when the hospital director said the number of patients in acute and severe conditions was declining and there were enough wards, beds and medicines. After that Xi had a conversation with an elderly inpatient. Knowing the inpatient’s condition had obviously improved and he would soon be discharged, Xi wished him a quick recovery and a happy Spring Festival at home. He pointed out that since the COVID-19 outbreak, especially the current wave of the epidemic, the medical workers have been busy with both epidemic prevention and control as well as daily treatment, and worked long hours with high intensity and overload, making a major contribution to protecting people’s life and health.

Xi extended Lunar New Year greetings to medical workers across the country on behalf of the CPC Central Committee. He stressed that over the past nearly three years, we had made the right choice when classifying COVID-19 as a Class B infectious disease but managing the prevention and control of it as a Class A one. China has thus withstood several rounds of outbreaks of virus mutations, lowered the proportion of severe cases and fatality rate to the greatest extent possible, protected people’s lives and health, and bought precious time for the later moves to optimize response and downgrade the prevention and control level of COVID-19 to Class B. We have now entered a new phase of COVID-19 response. Tough challenges remain, but the light of hope is right in front of us. Perseverance means victory.

He said that the focus of the current COVID-19 response has shifted from infection prevention to medical treatment, with protecting people’s health and preventing severe cases being the priority, so hospitals are now undertaking more arduous tasks. More efforts should be made to increase medical resources and the supply of medical services and drugs, and to prepare for medical treatment of severe cases in particular, as well as to ensure the order of normal medical service. Efforts should also be made to strengthen protection of and care for medical workers to ensure their health.

Party committees and governments at all levels should always put people first and their lives first, adhere to scientific prevention and control, and take targeted measures. They should do a good job in areas including prevention and control of COVID-19 in key institutions, key units, and key groups, in the coordination of various medical resources, so as to secure the needs of the public for medical treatments and drugs, and to make up for the insufficiency of necessary materials for the prevention and control of epidemics in rural areas, Xi said.

The camera of the video link switched to a social welfare home in Fuzhou, capital of east China’s Fujian Province, where the elderly and nurses greeted the general secretary, and Xi extended his festival greetings to everyone. He inquired carefully about the living and medical conditions, epidemic prevention and control as well as the vaccination of the elderly in the welfare home, and talked with the elderly about their physical condition and daily life, telling them to take good care of themselves.

Xi was very pleased when he learned that there is a rich variety of food, adequate stocks of medicines, and that daily monitoring of health conditions for the elderly with chronic diseases have been strengthened, as well as that the New Year’s goods were prepared for the Spring Festival. The elderly took out a paper-cut “blessing” they made to offer their sincere blessings to the general secretary, and Xi expressed his gratitude. He stressed that at present, the virus is still mutating. Although the virulence of the current epidemic has been reduced, the variants transmit much faster and are more contagious, posing a greater threat to the elderly. “I am particularly concerned about the elderly friends,” he noted. Xi said that stricter epidemic prevention and health management measures should be taken at nursing homes and welfare facilities to prevent clusters of infections, as older people are the key group for protection in the current COVID-19 response stage. Nursing homes and welfare homes should strengthen cooperation with medical institutions to promote vaccination and improve prevention, control and treatment mechanisms to ensure that patients in serious conditions receive timely treatment, he said.

Xi pointed out that respecting the elderly is a fine tradition and virtue of the Chinese nation. Whether a society is a happy one or not, it is very important to see whether the elderly are enjoying a happy life. As the pace of population aging is becoming faster in China, it is imperative to ensure that the elderly have a happy life. We need to vigorously develop old-age care undertakings and industries, develop public old-age care institutions and inclusive old-age care services, and especially strengthen all-round protection for the extremely poor, those living on subsistence allowances, those who have lost the ability to live on their own. It is also necessary to organize some sports and cultural activities to enrich the life of the elderly, so that older people could have a happy, healthy and peaceful Spring Festival.

Located in the Taklimakan Desert, Xinjiang, the Tarim Oilfield of China National Petroleum Corporation is the country’s third-largest onshore oil and gas producer, and also a major natural gas source for the country’s West-to-East gas pipelines. It provides natural gas for residents in southern Xinjiang and other 15 provinces, regions and municipalities along the pipelines. Xi is connected through video link to Kelaji gas zone, the first station of West-to-East gas pipelines under Lunnan Oil and Gas Reserve Center of Tarim Oilfield. “Can everyone have days off by turns during the holidays? Are you all prepared for the Spring Festival? How do you make sure the safety of production and ensure a smooth gas supply during the holiday?” Xi asked in detail, and all the questions were answered by the staffs at the station. The general secretary urged them to perform their duties well and provide an adequate power supply to ensure that the people enjoy a happy and auspicious Chinese Lunar New Year holiday.

Xi stressed that energy security is closely related to our country’s overall social and economic development, and is one of the most important security concerns. Winter is the peak season for energy use in China. Authorities of all localities and all sectors must conscientiously implement the decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee, keep in mind the overall situation of the country, organize and arrange work meticulously, spare no efforts to ensure stable supply and price of coal, electricity, oil and gas, and be fully prepared to respond to extreme cold waves, so as to safeguard the bottom line of energy consumption for people’s livelihood and ensure that the people stay warm in winter. Centrally-administered state-owned enterprises are pillars for ensuring stable power supply, they should further enhance political awareness, strengthen sense of responsibility and mission, and take multiple measures to increase output and ensure stable supply, so as to meet the needs of energy consumption for the economic and social development.

The Zhengzhou East Railway Station is one of the largest high-speed railway stations in China. It’s estimated that the station will transport 3.37 million passengers during the Spring Festival travel rush. Xi conveyed greetings to officials and workers via video link. From platform one of the station, the station master reported the overall situation concerning the station’s passenger transport during the Spring Festival travel rush. Xi then asked in detail questions about the daily passenger flow of the station, how well the anti-COVID measures are implemented, and what measures have been taken to safeguard security during the travel rush. Xi urged them to meticulously organize work and make arrangements, strictly safeguard the bottom line of security, so as to guarantee a safe travel for passengers.

After seeing the general secretary on the screen, passengers on the platform rushed to the screen to greet him. Xi asked them amiably whether they were heading back home for family reunion or out for traveling. He told them to take care of themselves during their trips.

Xi noted that transport of passengers during Spring Festival is of great concern to people’s immediate interests, economic development and social stability. The travel rush this year is the first of its kind after the country’s COVID-19 prevention and control entered a new stage, with a major recovery of passenger flows. Transportation departments should firmly implement the policies of the CPC Central Committee and increase their transport capacity to ensure people’s travel safe and the flows of essential supplies smooth and orderly. They should also keep in mind the worst scenarios, strengthen the monitoring and early warning of extremely adverse weather conditions, take further steps to identify and address risks and potential dangers, and firmly prevent the occurrence of severe and major safety accidents. They should also intensify efforts to serve and guide the flow of migrant workers and students whose travels are relatively concentrated, so as to ensure that they can safely return home ahead of the festival and smoothly return to their workplaces or schools after the holiday. Epidemic prevention measures must also be strictly implemented to reduce the risks of cross-infection to the minimum and protect passengers’ health.

Xi stressed that officials and workers of the transportation system have long been working hard, shouldering responsibilities and making invaluable contributions. Many comrades have to work during the Lunar New Year holiday. On behalf of the CPC Central Committee, Xi expressed Spring Festival greetings to all the officials and workers of the transportation system and wished all the passengers a smooth journey home.

Xinfadi wholesale market is an important “vegetable basket” and “fruit plate” of Beijing. Xi conveyed greetings via video link to the merchants who stayed at the market and to the people who were buying goods for celebrating the coming Lunar New Year. The merchants and the crowd on the spot applauded warmly and greeted Xi at the open-air trading zone in the market’s vegetable section one. After listening to the wholesale market manager’s introduction of the supply and logistics situation, Xi carefully asked about the market’s running situation these days, the businesses of the merchants and the wholesale prices this year. Xi was very pleased to learn that the prices of vegetables remained stable and that there were sufficient varieties.

He pointed out that food is the paramount necessity of the people, and vegetables, grains and fruits are important to millions of families and are the most basic things about livelihood. He said that safety must be safeguarded during the festival, and wholesale markets should not only expand sources, increase varieties and ensure quality, but also strengthen food testing and market management so that citizens of the capital can eat safe and good food. Rural product markets are usually crowded and therefore should be one of the key venues for epidemic prevention and control, and the flow of people and goods should be properly controlled, epidemic monitoring and detection strengthened, market sanitation improved so as to reduce the risk of epidemics, Xi said.

Xi stressed that the Party committees and governments at all levels should fully implement the system of provincial governor assuming responsibility for the “rice bag” and city mayors for the “vegetable basket”, guarantee the production and sales of grain, oil, meat, eggs, milk, fruits, vegetables and mushrooms and other important livelihood commodities, smooth logistics, and adequate market supply during the holiday, and ensure sufficient quantity, rich varieties, assured quality and stable prices, so as to let the people enjoy a happy and peaceful Lunar New Year.

Shiyi Village, Beichuan Qiang Autonomous County, Mianyang City of Sichuan Province, is a village that has been reconstructed after the Wenchuan earthquake, and now it has become a civilized village in China. It is known as the “mountain village on the clouds”, and has beautiful mountains and clean waters and shrouded in clouds and mist. Featured agricultural products such as loquat and moss tea are developing well. Cultural activities and rural tourism are flourishing there, and people of all ethnic groups live in harmony, showing a thriving scene. On the big screen, Qiang people dressed in traditional ethnic costumes gathered together, singing and dancing, with smiles on their faces.

Xi extended Lunar New Year greetings to villagers and tourists, farmers across the country and comrades in the front line of rural revitalization via video link. Xi communicated with village officials and tourists about the village’s income and the number of tourists in the village during the Spring Festival. The villagers told Xi that, with the beautiful natural scenery and unique ethnic customs, the agricultural products, agritourism in Shiyi Village became increasingly popular, and they warmly invited Xi to visit the village.

Xi said with pleasure that they have set a good example for rural revitalization in the new era, which requires the development of special agricultural products and rural tourism. He expressed the hope that they should work harder, make further progress and greater achievements in rural revitalization, and strive together toward common prosperity and a more prosperous life. Xi stressed that after the country adjusted its COVID-19 response measures, what he is concerned most about are the rural areas and farmers. Medical conditions in rural areas are relatively poor, and COVID prevention and control are a more difficult and heavier task. As in poverty alleviation, Party secretaries at the provincial, municipal, county, township and village levels should focus on rural COVID-19 prevention and control, and those in the county, township and village levels in particular should assume their responsibilities, strengthen prevention services for returned migrant workers and college and secondary school students, improve medical care for rural key groups such as the elderly, young, sick, disabled, pregnant and others, and safeguard the health of rural residents and their normal production and life order to the greatest extent, so as to ensure that people enjoy a safe and auspicious Chinese Lunar New Year.

Subsequently, Xi delivered an important speech in the warm applause and cheers of the officials and masses at the grassroots level. Xi stressed that, as the Chinese old saying goes, one thinks more than ever of dear ones far away on festive occasions, he said that, with the Spring Festival approaching, he cares more about officials and the masses at the grassroots level. “At this time of the year in the past, I would go to the grassroots to chat with people, see what difficulties they still have, hear what plans they have for the Lunar New Year, and share their joy in welcoming the New Year. This year, through video link, I can see more places around the country. Separated from the screen, I can still feel the strong atmosphere of the Chinese Lunar New Year across the country, feel the happiness and joy of everyone, and my heart is always with you and with the hearts of people of all ethnic groups across the country! Here, on behalf of the CPC Central Committee, I would like to extend my sincere greetings to all of you, and my regards to those still working hard at their posts,” Xi said.

Xi pointed out that the New Year’s Eve and Spring Festival are traditional festivals of the Chinese nation and days for families to reunite and ring in the Lunar New Year. My biggest wish is that all of us will have a happy Lunar New Year. Party committees and governments at all levels should earnestly ensure the supply of electricity, gas and heating during the festival, ensure that the necessities such as “vegetable baskets”, “rice bags” and “fruit plates” are in ample supply, and strengthen supervision over food safety. In particular, they need to implement all epidemic prevention and control measures in the new stage, guard against all kinds of emergencies and safety accidents, and ensure that people of all ethnic groups enjoy a happy and auspicious Spring Festival.

Xi stressed that the past year was extraordinary and difficult. We worked together to overcome all kinds of difficulties and challenges and made new achievements on all fronts. Everybody did their bit and is amazing. The new year will be the first year for fully implementing the guiding principles of the 20th CPC National Congress. He hoped all of the Chinese people will have strong confidence, be in high spirits, and work together to make even greater achievements in the new year.

Liu Guozhong, Sun Chunlan, He Lifeng and other leading officials from departments of CPC Central Committee and State Council also joined the visit via video link.

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