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Xi extends Seniors’ Day greetings in reply to letter from Macau elders

President Xi Jinping wished senior citizens nationwide a happy Chung Yeung Festival.





UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:43 am

President Xi Jinping wished senior citizens nationwide a happy Double Ninth Festival, also known as Chung Yeung Festival, which took place on Monday.

Xi extended the greetings on Sunday in a written reply to a letter that he had received in August from 30 senior citizens in Macau.

The seniors are volunteers for the I Chon Centre, which was established by the General Union of Neighbourhood Associations of Macau (generally known as Kai Fong, its Cantonese name) in 2007, which Xi visited in January 2009 in his then capacity as the nation’s vice president. I Chon is a day-care centre for senior citizens. “I Chon” directly translated means, fit as a fine horse.

“You have experienced the successful practice of ‘One Country, Two Systems’ in Macau,” Xi said. “I am glad that you devote yourselves to public welfare undertakings after retirement.”

Xi expressed his hope that the elderly volunteers can tell young people more about what happened before and after Macau’s return to the motherland and also encourage them to pass on the fine tradition of loving the motherland and loving Macau, such as by making contributions to the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA) and working together in making Macau more beautiful.

In the letter, Xi also said he was “very happy to learn that you are enthusiastic about public welfare after retirement and your life is fulfilled and happy.” The president pointed out that “as the contemporaries of the New China, you have witnessed the tremendous changes of the country for decades and experienced the practice of the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle in Macau.

“You said [in your letter] that you are sincerely proud of being Chinese. I believe this is also the voice of the vast number of Macau compatriots,” Xi said. He urged the seniors to encourage Macau’s young people to pass on the spirit of patriotism and loving Macau.

He wished them and all the nation’s other senior citizens a happy Chung Yeung Festival and a healthy, long and happy life.

Traditionally, the Chung Yeung Festival (also known as Double Ninth Festival) marks the nation’s Seniors’ Day.

In their letter to Xi, the elderly volunteers spoke of the positive changes since Macau’s return to the motherland in 1999, and expressed their pride to be Chinese and determination to pass on the tradition of loving the motherland and Macau.

In their letter, the seniors also recalled Xi’s visit to their centre and emphasised the government’s “relatively complete” system of old-age care.

“We are fully aware that Macau’s development, progress, prosperity and stability are inseparable from the motherland’s strong backing,” said the elderly volunteers’ letter, which they sent to Xi in August. They gratefully underlined that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) assisted the local government in its disaster relief work after Super Typhoon Hato in 2017. The seniors also emphasised the importance of the GBA project for Macau’s future development. “We sincerely look forward to meeting you again in Macau,” the letter concludes.

According to previous media reports, Xi is expected to pay an inspection visit to Macau around the time of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) on December 20.

The director of the Central People’s Government Liaison Office in Macau, Fu Ziying, visited the I Chon Centre yesterday morning to hand Xi’s letter to the 30 volunteers. According to a statement by the office, Fu pointed out that Xi’s reply to their letter “is full of affection” and “the best gift for the elderly.” He described Xi’s letter as a “major event” and urged the association’s members to study the “important spirit” of Xi’s reply.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On issued a statement about Xi’s latest reply sent to Macau, pointing out that it is already the third of its kind, after last year’s reply to Macau’s tertiary education institutions and the one to Hou Kong pupils earlier this year. Chui described Xi’s three letters as a “great incentive for the population in general.”

According to the Macau Post Daily, Chui promised that the local authorities will implement the spirit expressed in Xi’s latest letter.

Chief Executive-designate Ho Iat Seng also issued a statement on Xi’s letter, pointing out that the elderly volunteers said in their letter that they’re proud of being Chinese. He urged local citizens to “profoundly study and understand the content and spirit” of Xi’s letter. Ho also said Xi’s letter was proof of the president’s affection for Macau.

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:43 am

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