China's President Xi Jinping visits Zunyi city where historic party meeting was held

President tours site of Zunyi Conference, through which Mao Zedong established his dominance in the party

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 June, 2015, 5:07am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 June, 2015, 9:44am

When President Xi Jinping visited southwestern Guizhou province on Monday, he chose Zunyi - the city where the Communist Party's famous Zunyi Conference was held during the Red Army's Long March - as the starting point of his tour.

Xi toured the site of the Zunyi Conference, a significant meeting held in 1935 through which the collective leadership of the Communist Party was formed. This year marks the 80th anniversary of the conference.

At Huamao village, the president was briefed on advanced agricultural techniques used in the area as well as tourism and commercial development.

He also visited villagers' homes. During his tour around the village, Xi chatted with some pupils playing ping-pong, state-run Xinhua reported.

In Bijie , another city in the impoverished province, four children - a brother and his younger sisters aged five to 13 - died after drinking pesticide last week. They took their own lives after having been abandoned by their migrant worker parents.

The tragedy sparked debate over the mainland's 60 million "left behind" children who are left alone or put in relatives' care by their parents who head to the big cities in search of better jobs.

Internet users have voiced their hopes the president will visit Bijie and address the issue of the many "left behind" children in the city.

In Zunyi, Xi praised Mao's leadership and encouraged staff at the conference museum to "tell the public what our party has been through". "I particularly want to know about the life of the common people, especially the peasants," Xi said.

"A very important topic of this visit to Guizhou is to learn how an impoverished population can work to overcome poverty and achieve prosperity."

This was Xi's first time in Zunyi since he took office in 2012, although he officially visited the city twice before that.