President Xi Jinping extended festive greetings to children across the nation on Wednesday, encouraging them to seek all-around development in their moral grounding, intellectual ability, physical vigor, aesthetic sensibility and work skills, and dedicate themselves to the cause of national rejuvenation.
Xi conveyed the message during a visit to Beijing Yuying School ahead of International Children's Day, which falls on Thursday. The visit came days after Xi presided over a group study session of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on building China into a leading nation in education.
Children are the future and hope of the Chinese nation, said Xi, who is also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission.
He urged Chinese children in the new era to have high aspirations and dreams, enjoy studying and working, be grateful and friendly, and have the courage to innovate and strive.
Xi inspected an exhibition hall showcasing the history of the school, which was founded in 1948. He said that the fundamental task of education is fostering virtue, adding that the cultivation of students' ideals, moral qualities, knowledge, intelligence, and physical and mental strength are all indispensable.
He underscored the need for unrelenting efforts to put in place policies aimed at reducing the pressures of excessive homework and intensive after-school tutoring, as part of broader efforts to promote the all-around development of students.
Talking to students exercising at a basketball court, he noted that youth is the critical stage to build up one's health, adding that a strong body is the foundation for lifelong learning and work.
He pointed out that the improvement in living standards should be coupled with children's improved health, instead of rising obesity rates.
The president urged schools to provide adequate physical education and create conditions for enhancing the physical fitness of children, while calling on families, schools and society to help children improve their physical condition.
He then visited a small farm in the school where students were honing their agricultural skills. Xi, who started to live and work alongside farmers in Liangjiahe, a mountain village in Shaanxi province, when he was 15, emphasized the value of labor in acquiring knowledge and life skills.
He encouraged students to develop a positive attitude toward labor, cultivate a habit of hard work and appreciate the value of agriculture and nature.
Xi expressed his hope that the students would understand the difficulties in farming and the hardships of farmers, foster a love for labor, cherish food, and respect nature from an early age, thus contributing to building a beautiful China.
He called upon schools to offer students firsthand experience and understanding so that the philosophy that lush mountains and lucid waters are invaluable assets can be ingrained in their minds.
The president then visited a science lab where teachers and students were designing an experiment. He encouraged the students to stay committed to building China into a leader in innovation and contributing to the nation's strength and self-reliance in science and technology.
During talks with the teachers of fifth-graders at the school, Xi underlined the strength of China's basic education in the world, encouraging the teachers to firm up their cultural confidence and help the children develop broader horizons and more open minds.
He stressed the need to make teaching the most respectable and admirable profession, so that more fine talent can devote themselves to education and more top-notch teachers can be fostered.
Xi concluded his visit by expressing his confidence in the CPC's leadership and the socialist system's remarkable advantages, which will help ensure the happiness and better future of all children in China.