BEIJING, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- About 37 years ago, Xi Jinping, then Party chief of Zhengding County in north China's Hebei Province, published his first signed article in the People's Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The article was on elderly care.
In the piece, Xi underlined the importance of learning from elderly cadres, carrying forward their virtue and taking good care of them.
Xi did not just talk the talk. Over the decades, he has walked the walk, attaching great importance in his work to issues related to the silver-haired population. What is more, he leads by example.
Despite a tight work schedule, he would always find time to go on walks with his mother.
While working in Zhengding in the 1980s, he used to ride a bike to work, leaving the only vehicle of the county's Party committee to elder officials.
In the 1990s, when serving as the Party chief of Fuzhou, in east China's Fujian Province, Xi continued showing respect and care for the elders. On the eve of an outdoor ceremony for the construction of a local airport, he asked officials to call every veteran cadre that had been invited and tell them to take on warm coats the next day because of the windy weather.
In November 2017, Xi, as Chinese president, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, met with more than 600 representatives attending an award ceremony for ethical role models.
As he prepared to pose for a group photo, he noticed two elderly representatives -- Huang Xuhua, 93, and Huang Dafa, 82, standing in the group. Xi went over and held their hands, asking them to sit next to him. "Please do come. We can always make space for you," he said.
During Xi's inspection tours across the country, the homes of local elderly people, nursing homes and community-based elder-care facilities are always on his visit lists.
The president's concern for the elderly goes beyond individuals; he seeks measures and policies that benefit the entire aging population.
"As we respond proactively to population aging, we will adopt policies and foster a social environment in which senior citizens are respected, cared for, and live happily in their later years," Xi said in his report at the 19th CPC National Congress.
When the COVID-19 outbreak seriously threatened the safety and health of aged people, Xi called for efforts to save lives at all costs and make sure that not a single person, irrespective of age or severity of illness, was left behind.
In the hardest-hit province of Hubei, more than 3,000 COVID-19 patients aged 80 or above, including seven centenarians, were cured, many of them saved from severe conditions.
There were 264 million Chinese people aged 60 or above in 2020, accounting for 18.7 percent of the total population. The number is expected to reach 300 million by 2025, peaking at 487 million in 2053.
In May this year, Xi chaired a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee to hear reports on major policy measures to actively address the aging of the population during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025).
The meeting stressed that proactively responding to the aging population is directly related to the country's development and people's well-being, and is an important measure to achieve the high-quality development of the economy and safeguard national security and social stability.
Thursday is this year's Seniors' Day. Ahead of the day, Xi extended greetings to all senior citizens in the country, wishing them happy and healthy lives.
In an instruction, he stressed the importance of implementing the national strategy to address population aging, which will ensure senior citizens enjoy happy lives in their twilight years.