President Xi Jinping visits the poverty-stricken family of Wang Sanyu in Zhaojiawa village of Kelan county in Xinzhou city, North China's Shanxi province, June 21, 2017. [Xinhua/Pang Xinglei]
BEIJING - Yang Yufang, a patient at the paraplegic rehabilitation center of Tangshan, North China's Hebei province, still feels heartened by the words President Xi Jinping said when Xi visited the center three years ago.
Xi asked Yang and his wife Gao Zhihong, also a patient at the center, about their health and the difficulties they faced, while encouraging patients at the center to make their lives splendid.
"(He was) just like chatting with an old friend," Yang said, recalling the visit to the center by Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, during an inspection tour in Tangshan in July 2016.
Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core has paid particular attention to the wellbeing of disadvantaged people, and the central authorities have formulated a series of measures to improve the lives of people with disabilities, the laid-off workers and the impoverished households.
Although left paralyzed, Yang Yufang and his wife Gao Zhihong survived the Tangshan earthquake. [Photos by Wang Zhuangfei/China Daily]
Make the disabled stronger
China has established a special welfare system that covers tens of millions of people with disabilities, providing financial assistance for their daily life, nursing and children's rehabilitation.
Thanks to the preferential tax policies for the disabled who start their own businesses, Yang is making some money by making keys. His earnings, plus his and his wife's retirement pensions, which are increasing every year, add up to 6,000 to 7,000 yuan ($990) every month.
He even planned to donate some of their income to those in greater need.
After Xi's visit, the couple began to read poems for the elderly at nursing homes and sell their handicrafts to support children from impoverished families to go to school.
"Bearing Xi's instructions in mind, our medical staff treat patients like family," said Yang Zhensheng, head of the paraplegic rehabilitation center.
For the patients' better wellbeing, the center has been sending medical staff to major hospitals for training and is equipped with a library, a counseling room and an activity room. And social organizations have been invited to carry out volunteer activities.
Workers assemble engines at a factory in Weifang, Shandong province. [Photo/China Daily]
Get the laid-off workers reemployed
Life was hard for Cong Longjiang when Xi visited his home in Duofu community, Shenyang, on Aug 30, 2013, during Xi's inspection tour in Northeast China's Liaoning province.
A former laid-off worker, Cong found a new job at a logistics company with a meager salary of more than 2,000 yuan per month. His wife, also a laid-off worker, took care of his sick mother. His son had just opened a car trim shop. He also had a less-than-one-year old granddaughter.
Attaching great attention to the settlement of laid-off workers, the CPC Central Committee has been working hard to help laid-off workers get reemployed, especially in the service sector. Measures have been drawn up to cut taxes and fees for market entities, in particular, small and micro enterprises, in a bid to vitalize the market and create more jobs.
With an interest-free loan of 80,000 yuan and more favorable environment for startups, Cong's son is doing better in his own business. Cong retired in 2017 and now receives a monthly retirement pension which increases every year. The Duofu community is being renovated with funds from the government.
"My family has kept in mind General Secretary Xi's hope for us to 'live a better life' over the years and has been working hard for this expectation," Cong said.
President Xi Jinping talks with villagers during his visit in Hunan province on Nov 3, 2013. [Photo/Xinhua]
Make poor households confident
"When General Secretary Xi came to my house, half of the room was occupied by a heatable earthen bed, and the other half had two closets and a table. There was barely enough room to turn around," Tang Zongxiu gesticulated when speaking.
In the early morning of Dec 30, 2012, Xi came to Tang's house in Luotuowan, an impoverished village in Fuping county, Hebei province. Xi chatted with Tang, asking about her family's farmland, food supply and coal supply.
"It was freezing cold outside, but warm inside my heart," she said.
From 2013 to 2018, China has allocated more than 840 billion yuan ($125 billion) from the central budget to help poor people with minimum living allowances, medical aid, and temporary relief, and support people in extreme poverty.
The standard minimum living allowance in urban areas had been increasing by 9.2 percent annually from 2013 to 2018, and 14.7 percent for rural areas.
Today, the village's stone-paved paths have been replaced by asphalt roads. Tang's old shabby house becomes bigger and spruced up, equipped with advanced facilities, such as underfloor heating and a kitchen ventilator.
Tang has been lifted out of poverty and plans to work for a village collective enterprise this year with her husband, where they can earn thousands of yuan a month.
Speaking of her biggest wish, Tang smiled, "My life is getting better. I wish General Secretary Xi can come back and have a look."