President Xi: a friend to the nation's children
China's President Xi Jinping, who has called himself a friend to the nation's children, has often spoken warmly of his expectations for China's younger generations.
The respect, gratitude, and encouragement he's shown for children and teachers has become part of the driving force behind the development of education in China.
"Children's Day is coming. In the name of an older friend, I hope children from all ethnic groups in China have a pleasant festival."
President Xi Jinping made this remark before Children's Day in 2013.
President Xi Jinping pays a visit to Beijing Haidian Minzu Primary School. [Photo: Xinhua]
In 2014, during his visit to Beijing Haidian Minzu Primary School, President Xi shared two of his childhood stories with students at the school.
"My heart was beating fast; I was so excited when I became a member of China's Young Pioneers. Do you have the same feeling?'
"Yes, we do."
"Why? Because it represents a kind of honor. I can see the future of our nation and country in your faces. As the oath says, you have to be ready all the time to develop and build our country."
President Xi shared another story after watching some of the children writing the Chinese characters which mean "serve the country with utmost loyalty".
"I was deeply influenced by these characters. When I was around five, my Mom brought me some books and told me stories about the military general Yue Fei, who lived during the Southern Song dynasty. I asked mom, 'Did it hurt to have the characters tattooed on his back?' My mother said that although it hurt, Yue Fei would forever remember them. I too can remember it now, and it's always been my pursuit to serve the country with utmost loyalty."
Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012, President Xi had been spending time with children, sending them his best wishes and sharing his expectations for them before Children's Day.
China's President Xi Jinping returns to Beijing Bayi School, where he spent his primary and junior high school years. [Photo: Xinhua]
"It's important to have strong younger generations. You have to have spirit. The future of our country's development is up to you. Our country will be better and better if you can be more capable than the older generations."
During a visit in 2016 to the Beijing Bayi School, where he spent his primary and junior high school years, President Xi shook hands and chatted with his teachers and recalled his time at the school.
"Today, when I visit the campus again, I feel very sentimental. I looked for old places and recalled old memories. The campus has changed a lot. I miss that period of time very much. The teachers' lessons, and also the school's spirit and its influence on us. No matter where I go, I'll miss my alma mater and keep in touch with it."
President Xi Jinping returns to Beijing Bayi School to meet some of its teachers. [Photo: Xinhua]
President Xi has always attached great importance to education and to teachers, saying that education is the foundation for a country's development.
"It's good luck for a person to have a good teacher and it's good luck for a school to have good teachers. To have good teachers all the time is the hope of the nation. Teachers should be a guide for the character of their students, a guide to their student's learning, a guide to their innovative thinking, and a guide to their dedication to the motherland."