President Xi Jinping meets representatives attending the award ceremony on ethical role models and pioneers in Beijing, Nov 17, 2017. (Photo/Xinhua)
President takes men of great deeds by hand to sit beside him for group photo
To show his concern and respect for two senior citizens who dedicated their lives to building the nation, President Xi Jinping took them by the hand and invited them to sit with him for a group picture at the Great Hall of People in Beijing.
The touching moment, captured by cameras, happened after Xi arrived on Friday morning to meet more than 600 individuals selected for their outstanding work promoting the country's cultural and ethical progress.
One of the honorees was Huang Xuhua, 93, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering who is known as a key scientist who led the research and development of China's nuclear-powered submarines.
Huang kept his highly sensitive mission confidential for around three decades before his great contributions were reported by Chinese media and known to the public.
The other man honored was Huang Dafa, 82, Party chief of the village of Caowangba in Zunyi, Guizhou province.
He spent more than 30 years leading villagers' efforts to chisel about 10 kilometers of irrigation channels into the vertical sides of three karst mountains.
As Xi approached the crowd standing ready for the picture, he spotted the two gray-haired men standing with other attendees behind the chairs in front.
Xi invited them to join him, a move that visibly touched the whole crowd. The crowd burst into sustained applause before the photo was made.
The honorees were there to attend a State-level conference to receive awards for their outstanding work in advancing cultural civilization in the country's urban and rural areas, departments, campuses and among adolescents.
Xi congratulated them and encouraged them to make persistent efforts and new contributions and set further examples in the building of socialist spiritual civilization.
At the conference, Wang Huning, a member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau and head of Central Commission for Guiding Cultural and Ethical Progress, said Xi's meeting with the delegates shows his great emphasis on building socialist spiritual civilization.
Nationwide efforts are needed to boost traditional, revolutionary and socialist cultures and to better build up China's spirits, values and strength, Wang said.