President encourages Derung people in Yunnan to further improve livelihoods
President Xi Jinping has called on an ethnic minority group living in the remote mountains of Southwest China to continue to work for a better life, and he congratulated them on their progress so far.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made the remarks when answering a letter from the Derung ethnic group in Dulongjiang township, Gongshan county, Yunnan province, on Wednesday.
"Poverty eradication is only the first step, better days are yet to come," Xi said in the letter.
Saying he was glad to learn that the Derung people had been lifted out of poverty as a whole group last year, Xi wrote that "letting the people of all ethnic groups have a good life has been my aspiration as well as our common goal".
Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, Xi has made poverty alleviation a leading task and the country aims to eradicate absolute poverty in China by 2020, lifting roughly 10 million from poverty each year.
By the end of last year, a total of over 82 million impoverished people in rural areas had been lifted out of poverty.
The improved lives among the Derung people vividly demonstrate that people's dreams of living happy lives will surely come true with the strong leadership of the Party and the concerted efforts of the broad masses of the people, Xi said, encouraging them to build a good homeland and create a better future.
The Derung, one of the smallest ethnic groups in China, number around 7,000. Most of the Derung people live in the deep gorges of the Dulongjiang River in Yunnan, an area listed as one of the least developed regions in the country.
Locals lived in rather primitive conditions until the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. They have now shaken off long-standing hardship thanks to the nation's poverty reduction campaign.
Xi's connections with the Derung people can be traced to 2014, when he received a letter from them reporting on local developments. Answering that letter, Xi encouraged them to step up efforts to fight against poverty in order to live well-off lives along with people of other ethnic groups across the country.
In January 2015, during an inspection tour of Yunnan, Xi met the seven Derung people who wrote to him in 2014, in Kunming.
He told them during the meeting that "no single ethnic minority group will be left behind when the whole country is working for a moderately prosperous society".
Ma Zhengshan, one of the seven, said, "The happy life we live today is inseparable from the Party's leadership and the nation's policy on ethnic groups."
Gao Derong, who served as head of Gongshan county between 2001 and 2006, told Nujiang Daily that Xi's letter is filled with care and support from the Chinese leader and the Party for the Derung ethnic group.
By the end of last year, 1,089 new houses were built in the six administrative villages in Dulongjiang township and villagers have been provided with improved transport conditions. They also have access to electricity and safe drinking water as well as a 4G network, Xinhua News Agency reported.
Yu Jincheng, Party secretary of Dulongjiang township, Gongshan county, Yunnan province, reads to local Derung residents on Thursday a letter from President Xi Jinping.