Hu spends new-year eve with farmers in NW China

Updated: 2007-02-18 08:42

hu jintao
A local farmer,  with a basket of potatoes in hands, has a talk with President Hu Jintao  in  Dingxi, northwest China's Gansu Province, February 17, 2007. [Xinhua]

LANZHOU -- Chinese President Hu Jintao marked the eve of the Year of Boar by frying dough twists, eating dumplings and cutting paper window decorations with poor farmers in the barren countryside of northwestern Gansu Province.

On early Saturday, buses carrying Hu and accompanying officials rocked along the bumpy mountain roads to Daping village of Dingxi city in Gansu, where Hu once visited in 1999 and ordered local officials to work hard on poverty alleviation.

"Dear villagers, I come to greet you a happy new year," Hu said, addressing a crowd of farmers in front of a village house. "I visited Daping eight years ago. Today, I am very pleased to see lots of changes. New houses are erected and plenty of food is stored, which shows the lives of the Daping people have really improved."

In a villager's home, Hu sat with farmers and children, asking about grain production and the family income.

One of the farmers gave the president a full basket of potatoes, telling him that, like many others, his life had improved by planting potatoes.

The lunar new year of 2007, which starts on February 18, is also the Year of Boar. To most Chinese, the pig is considered a symbol of wealth and good fortune.

But fortune comes slowly for farmers in barren Gansu. Last year, the income of each farmer in this northwestern province was estimated at only 2,100 yuan (US$296), far below the 3,587 yuan of national average for the farming population.

Hu has spent the previous three Lunar New Year eves visiting poor residents in the countryside. Last year, he fried rice cakes, drank home-made wine and danced with local villagers in rural Yan'an of Shaanxi Province, also in northwestern China.

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