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'My job is to serve the people,' Xi says in New Year inspection

CHENGDU - Ahead of the Lunar New Year, President Xi Jinping has visited for days poor families in Southwest China's remote mountains, inspected an earthquake-hit area, and joined villagers to prepare celebrations for this most important festival for the Chinese.

In Zhanqi, a village in Sichuan province, a festive new year spirit is in the air. Villagers made dumplings at home, wrote new year scrolls, and went out to have family photos taken. The Lunar New Year begins on Friday.

When Xi arrived, they cheered and surrounded him to wish him a happy new year. The president was more than delighted to chat.

"My job is to serve the people," said Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee. "To let the people live a great life is the original aspiration of us Communists."

In the village, Xi watched demonstrations on how villagers used the Internet to conduct agricultural business and sell local handicrafts. He even bought a pair of hand-sewn cloth shoes.

Xi later told local Party cadres and government officials to uphold people-centered development.

"Always be concerned with what the people are concerned with, love them and let them benefit," Xi ordered.

The president said the issues that concern the people most -- education, jobs, health care, social security and order -- should be properly dealt with to let the people feel richer, happier and safer.