Xi Jinping and Peng Liyuan in 1987 on Dongshan Island, Fujian Province. (File Photo: Xinhua)
"Xi Jinping has a deep affection for Xiamen. One important reason is that he married Peng Liyuan here," said Wang Jinshui, who served as a vice mayor of Xiamen from 1979 to 1987.
From 1985 to 1988, Xi worked alongside Wang as a vice mayor of the island city in East China’s Fujian Province.
The day before getting married with Peng, Xi told the news to Wang and Zou Erjun, the then-Party chief of Xiamen.
This was great news and they were all happy for him. The next day, Wang telephoned Xi, asking him about the wedding.
Xi answered that they would not hold a wedding ceremony but just host a simple dinner at the Xiamen Hotel.
That day, the couple invited Wang and a few colleagues to the dinner. After dinner, some proposed to carry out some well-meaning trouble in the bridal chamber, following folk customs.
Xi readily agreed, and Wang and three other colleagues went to Xi's residence.
At that time, Xi was still living in a dormitory of the municipal committee. As the couple had not prepared for the celebration, they found there were not enough cups for serving the guests tea. The couple in the end used their tooth-brushing cups and two bowls instead. Peng also went to a nearby shop and bought back a bag of candies to serve them.
Peng said that they felt sorry for not preparing any gifts for them. Lyv Gongnan, a government official and one of the four guests, responded, "You can send us a gift, your song." Peng was a popular folk singer, gaining wide popularity in China since the 1980s. Peng agreed and sang a song for them.
It was Saturday when Xi and Peng got married, Wang recalled. The next day, Xi took Peng to Dongshan island near Xiamen for a visit in a government vehicle. "They stayed a night there, but the hotel and fuel bills were paid by Xi," Wang said.
Xi's honesty and self-discipline impressed Wang. "He was strict with himself in this way 30 years ago," Wang said in an interview in 2017.
Wang said from then on he always shared Xi's story with other officials. "A person, if developing a good habit, will benefit for life," Wang said.
(Compiled by Huang Jingjing and Jiao Jingxian; Source: Xi Jinping in Xiamen, a book about Xi's experience as a municipal official published in early 2020 by the Party School of the CPC Central Committee Publishing House)