President Xi Jinping puts on a bamboo hat, traditionally donned by ethnic Li people in Sanya on Tuesday, during his visit to the southernmost island province of Hainan. Photo by Li Xueren / Xinhua
President Xi Jinping visited fishing villages and talked with the seamen and maritime militia in Tanmen township of Qionghai city in Hainan on Monday afternoon after the end of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2013, China Central Television reported.
The local people had been fishing in the South China Sea since ancient times, referring to it as the "ancestors’ sea".
Xi told the militia they needed to learn how to use modern equipment and improve their working capabilities.
The maritime militia members should not only lead fishing activities, but also collect oceanic information and support the construction of islands and reefs, he said.
Boarding a fishing boat that had just returned from a fishing expedition, Xi asked about the fishermen’s income level and their work, including how long they spend at sea for each fishing trip, how many people are on a boat and which kinds of fish they catch most.
Xi extended wishes of a happy family and good life to the fishermen.
"Congratulations for coming back safe and sound," he said. "May you get a catch every time you set sail."
Lu Chuanan, 43, whose fishing boat was boarded by Xi, said the president was deeply concerned about the fishermen’s livelihoods during the visit.
"He asked us whether it was safe or not to go to the South China Sea," he told the Changjiang Daily. "He shook hands with everyone on the boat."
Xi said he loved sailing in the past, but he was too busy to set sail now, Lu said.
Ding Zhile, head of the Tanmen Fishermen’s Association, said that Xi asked how many permits the seamen must get before they are allowed to fish, according to a Hainan Daily report.
"I told him that we fishermen feel safe as the country’s safeguarding vessels are protecting us," Ding said. "Hearing this, the general secretary was happy and shook hands twice with me."
During the trip, Xi also visited an agricultural industry park and encouraged the development of modern ecological agriculture. The Hainan provincial government should speed up efforts to build it into an international tourism destination by 2020, in keeping with a State Council guideline, he said.
As China’s biggest special economic zone that was approved by the top legislature in 1988, the island province enjoys late-comer advantages and has great potential for development, Xi said, according to a Xinhua report.
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