Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, participated in a voluntary tree planting activity on Tuesday morning in Beijing. He called for national endeavor for tree planting during this season of growth.
Xi stressed that around this time each year, there is a tree-planting campaign from the country’s warmer south to north. "Today, we are planting trees in order to call on more people to do the same. It is not just for more efforts to make the vast lands of China greener, but also help develop the awareness of afforestation among the general public," he said. "Together let us embrace this season of hope and build China into a beautiful country," he added.
Drizzling in the suburbs of Beijing has added to the vibrancy of the springtime. At 10:30 a.m., Xi Jinping and other Party and state leaders including Li Qiang, Zhao Leji, Wang Huning, Cai Qi, Ding Xuexiang, Li Xi and Han Zheng arrived at Dongba Central Park in Beijing’s Chaoyang District amid the rain to attend the voluntary tree planting activity along with other participants in the capital.
The planting site is in Dongba Central Park at the confluence of the Beixiao River and Bahe River, covering an area of about 20 hectares. There used to be a village here called Dongfeng Village under Dongba Township. After villagers were relocated, the site vacated, and environment improved, the area is now planned to become an ecological space featuring biodiversity. In the park, officials and residents of Beijing as well as members of the Chinese Young Pioneers were planting trees with great enthusiasm.
Catching sight of Xi, they all extended greetings to him. Xi put on a raincoat, picked up a shovel, and walked to the place for tree-planting, joining in the activity together with leading officials from the Beijing municipal government and National Forestry and Grassland Administration.
Digging pits, building soil berms and watering saplings, Xi planted saplings of different types of trees including Chinese pine, midget crabapple, Chinese pagoda tree, persimmon tree and red-barked dogwood. Everyone was busy amid a warm atmosphere. While planting trees, Xi told students how to plant trees and enquired about their study and daily life. He asked them how old their parents were, whether biology lessons were taught in primary school, how much knowledge they had about plants, how much homework and extracurricular tutoring they had now. He also advised the students to be enthusiastic about physical labor from childhood in order to develop sound moral grounding, intellectual ability, physical vigor, aesthetic sensibility and work skills. Xi stressed that children’s upbringing is the same as planting trees. Just as a tree must be kept upright at the very beginning of its growth or else it will get crooked, a child must be educated to be upright as well at a very early age to avoid going astray.
After the trees were planted, secondary and primary school students, officials and other people present gathered around. Xi told them that China ranks the first in the world in terms of artificial afforestation areas, and the scale is still expanding. China and its people have made invaluable contributions to making the earth greener and responding to global climate change. Forests help conserve water, bring in economic benefits, boost grain production and also serve as a carbon sink. Planting trees is a noble cause of great significance which creates benefits for not only our generation but also future generations. We must continue our endeavor in this regard with consistent and persistent efforts.
Xi recalled his participating in tree planting activities. He said that this is the 11th time he has taken part in such activity since he became general secretary of the CPC Central Committee. Counting the number of times he has done this since he started to work in the CPC Central Committee, it has been 16 times. "When I was working in Fujian Province, Zhejiang Province and Shanghai, I also attended tree planting activities," Xi said. He told the primary and middle school students that when they become parents, they should also let their children and grandchildren continue to plant trees from generation to generation, which is the way how a beautiful China is built.
Xi said that he grew up in Beijing and much of his homesickness is related to trees. In a siheyuan (quadrangle) in old Beijing, there were definitely scholar trees, persimmon trees, or crabapple, pomegranate and date trees. In the past, more poplar and willow trees were planted in Beijing because the city is suitable for such trees. Additionally, attention should be paid to balance the proportion of coniferous and broad-leaf trees to better meet the requirements of the biological and ecological chains. We should strengthen colorization on the basis of greening, plant trees of vibrant colors, strive to build an all-area forest city so as to make Beijing more beautiful.
Xi emphasized that green development is a major strategy for China's current and future development. Launching voluntary tree planting activities nationwide is a vivid practice to promote afforestation and build a beautiful China. All departments and all regions should organize such activities in light of specific conditions. Efforts should be made to develop new ways of organization in this regard and come up with new models to fulfill organizers' due responsibilities so as to make it more convenient for the general public to participate. Duties in this regard should be performed throughout the year, in various ways and in a convenient manner. He called for nationwide action to make waters lucid and mountains lush that are invaluable assets, and write a new chapter in building a beautiful China through planting trees.
Members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, members of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee and state councilors participated.