President writes letter before International Workers' Day
Where does happiness come from? The answer given by President Xi Jinping must be encouraging to those who work hard.
"I feel the millions of ordinary Chinese are the greatest, and I also feel that happiness is achieved through hard work," Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said.
Xi's words, from his New Year's address delivered on Dec 31, quickly gained popularity nationwide, and "happiness is achieved through hard work" has been a buzzword among the Chinese people ever since.
During the International Workers' Day holiday, which ended on Wednesday, those who did not take a break could turn to the president's words for encouragement.
Xi has greeted the country's workers ahead of International Workers' Day every year since he became general secretary of the CPC Central Committee in late 2012.
In a recent letter to national model workers who are studying at China University of Labor Relations, Xi said that socialism is built through hard work, and hard work is also the key to the new era.
Working hard is the most honorable, noblest, greatest and most beautiful virtue, Xi said in the letter, which was released on Monday.
At the closing meeting of the first session of the 13th National People's Congress in March, Xi said, "Happiness can only be achieved through great endeavor."
"The Chinese people have been aware since ancient times that we cannot sit idle and enjoy the fruits of others' work," Xi said. He was re-elected president at the session.
Xi attributed China's great achievements in the past decades to the Chinese people's ingenuity and expertise, hard work and enormous sacrifices.
At a gathering ahead of Spring Festival in February, Xi further discussed the relationship between happiness and hard work.
Those who bring happiness to the majority are the happiest, Xi quoted Karl Marx as saying, adding that the CPC will continue in its goal of bringing happiness to all Chinese people.
In his speech, Xi called for diligence and hard work by people across the country to achieve national rejuvenation. "The new era belongs to those who work hard," Xi said.
While addressing the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia on April 10, Xi also highlighted the importance of hard work for national rejuvenation.
"As a Chinese saying goes, 'A mountain is formed by accumulation of earth and an ocean is formed by accumulation of water.' Happiness and a bright future will not appear automatically," Xi said.
Xi's appreciation of hard work and his deep connection to the people was formed early in his life.
The son of a revolutionary leader, Xi, at age 15, joined numerous "educated youth" who bade farewell to urban life and headed to the countryside to work and learn from farmers in 1969.
Xi was sent to Liangjiahe, a small, isolated village in Shaanxi province, and stayed for seven years, where he lived in yaodong, or cave houses, and worked alongside farmers.
In an interview with China Central Television in 2003, Xi recalled his early life at Liangjiahe, saying that he had done all kinds of farm work there, including herding sheep.
"At that time I could carry 200 jin (100 kilograms) of wheat on my shoulder, and I could do it for 10 li (5 kilometers) on a mountainous road without switching it between shoulders," he told CCTV.
Those years boosted his connection with the grassroots people and formed his attitude toward hard work.
"I have never forgotten the memorable seven years I spent at Liangjiahe, never forgotten the land where I used to work and live, and never forgotten the folks that I got along with day and night," Xi said in a letter written to the villagers at Liangjiahe in August 2007.
Liu Jinlian, a Liangjiahe villager who had provided a cave house to Xi, recalled in a book published last year that no matter how tired Xi was, he would never rest if the farm work was not done.
"My husband admires him (Xi) and said to me, 'Jinping comes from a big city, but he works as hard as us villagers. He has knowledge, loves studying and withstands difficulties. He is amazing'," she was quoted as saying in the book, Xi Jinping's Seven Years as an Educated Youth.