The Chinese Dream Is a Dream of the People — President Xi Jinping Shares Stories of Liangjiahe in Seattle
Published: Oct 04, 2021 12:07 PM
President Xi Jinping addresses a welcoming dinner hosted by local governments and friendly organizations on September 22, 2015, in Washington State, the US.

President Xi Jinping addresses a welcoming dinner hosted by local governments and friendly organizations on September 22, 2015, in Washington State, the US.

At nightfall on September 22, 2015, a grand dinner was held in the city of Seattle to welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping. The audience was eagerly anticipating President Xi's speech which would showcase the charisma and vision of the leader of a major country.

After quite a long day of busy schedule, President Xi, full of energy, walked onto the stage and shared with the audience stories about a place that he would never forget. "Toward the end of the 1960s when I was in my teens, I was sent from Beijing to work as a farmer in a small village of Liangjiahe near Yan'an of Shaanxi Province, where I spent seven years. At that time, the villagers and I lived in 'earth caves' and slept on 'earth beds.' Life was very hard. There was no meat in our diet for months. I knew what the villagers wanted the most. Later I became the village's Party secretary and began to lead the villagers in production. I understood their needs. One thing I wished most at the time was to make it possible for the villagers to have meat and have it often. But it was very difficult for such a wish to come true in those years."

"At the Spring Festival early this year, I returned to the village. I saw blacktop roads. Now living in houses with bricks and tiles, the villagers had Internet access. Elderly folks had basic old-age care and all villagers had medical care coverage. Children were in school. Of course, meat was readily available. This made me keenly aware that the Chinese Dream is after all a dream of the people. We can fulfill the Chinese Dream only when we link it with our people's yearning for a better life." 

Xi Jinping calls on villagers of Liangjiahe on February 13, 2015.

Xi Jinping calls on villagers of Liangjiahe on February 13, 2015.

President Xi recounted the social progress in China and the essence of the Chinese Dream with his personal stories. The simple and sincere narrative deeply touched the audience at the dinner, among whom was Howard Schultz, Honorary Chairman of Starbucks. He was impressed by President Xi's bond with Liangjiahe, a place he had never heard of before. 

On November 9, 2020, Schultz wrote a letter to President Xi Jinping, in which he said, "I still recall the uplifting words you shared that day, about your early years in Liangjiahe, how the village had changed for the better when you returned, and that the progress in Liangjiahe was a microcosm of the progress China has made through reform and opening-up in the last four decades. I congratulate you on your leadership toward China's goal of achieving a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020. I have great respect for the Chinese people and your culture. The yearning for a better life that is part of the Chinese Dream reminds me of the American Dream." He also said that despite the twists and turns in recent bilateral relations, he believed the foundation of China-US friendship has its roots in the people. The stories happened in the northern Shaanxi village helped him gain a deeper understanding of President Xi's words about how the Chinese Dream and the American Dream share things in common.

On January 6, 2021, Schultz was pleasantly surprised to receive President Xi Jinping's reply. In the letter, President Xi wrote that under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the 1.4 billion Chinese people have worked long and hard to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects and pursue socialist modernization. As China embarks on a new journey toward fully building a modern socialist country, there will be more exciting prospects for companies from around the world, including Starbucks and other US companies. President Xi expressed his hope that Starbucks would make continued contribution to growing the business ties and overall bilateral relations between China and the United States.

From earth caves, earth beds and meatless meals to blacktop roads, brick-and-tile houses and internet access, the villagers of Liangjiahe are now living a happy life that they used to dream about. And just like in Liangjiahe, more and more people elsewhere in China are seeing their dreams for a better life come true at an incredible speed. On the scroll painting depicting the happy lives of the Chinese people, many multinationals have also left their marks by making their sincere contributions.

The pursuit of beautiful dreams resonates far and wide across countries and nations. The Chinese Dream is about pursuing strength of the country, rejuvenation of the nation and happiness of the people, and the dream of the world is about enduring peace and common prosperity. These two dreams can always be pursued together. The Chinese Dream, a dream about peace, development, cooperation and win-win, is closely linked with the beautiful dreams of people in countries around the world. The Chinese people and people elsewhere in the world are bound together by the shared aspirations for a better life. Supporting and helping each other along the way, they are making progress hand in hand in realizing the dreams.