BEIJING -- In the past five consecutive years, it has been a common sight for China's top leaders to visit ordinary Chinese on Lunar New Year's eve. This year was no exception.
Chinese President Hu Jintao helps soldiers load relief supplies to a helicopter in Guilin, South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on Tuesday, February 5, 2008. [Xinhua]
Amid China's worst weather disaster for decades, President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao both spent the most important holiday in disaster-hit regions, directing relief work and greeting people being affected.
Hu was in southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on Tuesday and Wednesday. "Lunar New Year's eve" was his favorite topic throughout the trip.
Shaking hands with road repair workers en route to Ziyuan, a county without electricity and telecommunication service due to severe snow, Hu said he appreciated their work on this special day.
Chinese President Hu Jintao visits villagers in South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on Wednesday, February 6, 2008. [Xinhua]
As he came across an army transportation squad later Wednesday, he asked them to deliver relief supplies to those in need in time for them to have a better holiday.
At a farmer's house, Hu said to the family: "We were very concerned for you when we were in Beijing."
He told officials in company that current priorities were to have people's livelihood well arranged.
Officials should make sure that local people had enough food, clothes and quilts, and when they were sick they would be timely treated, Hu ordered.
On Wednesday afternoon, Premier Wen hastened to the eastern province of Jiangxi and visited Fuzhou City, which has been in the dark for more than 20 days.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao greets villagers at Guanyin Village of Longli County, Southwest China's Guizhou Province, February 5, 2008. [Xinhua]
Learning that electricity was expected to be restored at about 8 p.m. Wednesday, Wen said that he felt reassured. He also showed concern about agriculture, urging local farmers to prepare seeds and fertilizer for the spring planting season.
Then Wen visited Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics, where he had Lunar New Year's eve dinner with students who couldn't go home.
Both leaders seized every chance to boost public morale on this special day, something they had been doing in the past weeks.
Hu stressed that the public should hold the firm belief of victory over the weather disaster.
"We lost much in the weather disaster... but we also got many things, such as courage, will and the ability to overcome difficulties. Amid the disaster, relations between officials and the masses strengthened and people became more united," Wen said.