BEIJING, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao visited grassroots urban and rural areas in Beijing on Sunday, the eve of Spring Festival, extending greetings to the people and celebrating with them Lunar New Year.
Hu arrived at the old style Qianmen shopping street, south of the Tiananmen Square, waving hands to the passersby, who were surprised by Hu's appearance and then responded with jubilancy.
The street was once a busy commercial center in the old days and the government rebuilt it for the 2008 Olympic Games as a sightseeing and shopping destination with Beijing's characteristics. The street has more than 20 time-honored brands and stores, and an antique-style trolley car.
Hu walked into a 270-year-old store famous for braised pork, praising its long-term high quality produce and honesty in doing business. Hu said he hoped the store would promote its fine traditions so to better serve the people.
Hu then inspected the whole street aboard a trolley car, and urged officials of Beijing Municipality to develop the service industry in the city to meet the people's material and cultural needs.
After that, Hu went to a food processing and delivery company in Shunyi district in the city's northeastern suburb, where he inspected the processing line and food safety check laboratory, urging the company to make strict checks on food safety.
At the last stop of his tour, Hu went to a small village of Tianxianyu near the Great Wall in the city's northern mountainous area, experiencing the traditional rural New Year circumstances which feature red lanterns, Chinese knots, and New Year scrolls on the gate of every house.
Visiting the home of Shao Qicheng, an 85-year-old army veteran, Hu listened to Shao's war experiences, praising Shao and other veterans' contribution to the country and the people, and promised that the authorities will take care of their livelihood, in a bid to let them spend their remaining years in comfort.
Hu then joined the crowd on the village square while villagers were watching Chinese traditional opera. The atmosphere went into a climax when villagers were performing dragon dance to welcome the Year of Dragon.
"Fellow villagers, today is the eve of Spring Festival, I wish you a happy New Year!" Hu told the crowd. "I'm happy with the improvement of your living standard!"
Hu added that the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee attaches great importance to the issues concerning agriculture, rural area and farmers, and will continue to strengthen the related favorable policies.
Before leaving the village, Hu set firecrackers with children in the village.
Spring Festival is the most important festival in China and an occasion when all family members get together, just like Christmas in the West. This year Spring Festival falls on Monday, Jan. 23.
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