Beijing, Feb 5 (IANS) Next Chinese president Xi Jinping took a tour of northwest China, known for its barren land and poor natural conditions, and met impoverished villagers to get "first-hand information" regarding their well-being.
Xi's visit to Gansu province came just ahead of the Spring Festival holiday, which begins Feb 9.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, visited villages to get first-hand information regarding the residents' well-being and the improvement of officials' working styles.
The top official shook hands with residents, and inquired about their food supply, access to medical services and schooling for their children.
He said central authorities attach high importance to poverty alleviation and the development of areas inhabited by ethnic minorities.
He assured greater government support to help people get out of poverty.
Regarding water shortage in Gansu, Xi visited a water diversion project and told officials that scientific planning and well-coordinated construction should be done to ensure the project's success.
He visited a cafeteria in a senior citizens' centre in Lanzhou, and served food to people.
Xi toured a vegetable market, and inquired about supplies of festival goods to ensure a pleasant holiday.
Gansu is one of China's poorest provinces. The annual net per capita income of farmers in 2012 stood at 4,507 yuan (around $720).