Xi Focus-Closeup: A taste of sweetness of Spring Festival-Xinhua

President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, visits pig farmer Li Fashun's house in Simola Wa village, Qingshui township of the city of Tengchong, Southwest China's Yunnan during an inspection tour to the province ahead of the Chinese New Year, on January 19, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)

BEIJING, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- As Spring Festival, or the Chinese Lunar New Year, draws near, life is made sweeter thanks to blessings, family reunions, and, of course, festive dishes.

Around this time of year, residents of Shenshan Village in Jiangxi Province, east China, busy themselves with making "ciba." This festive snack is made by pounding cooked glutinous rice into a paste. The resultant sweet and round treat symbolizes family gatherings and good luck for a new year.

In 2016, the ciba team were joined by an unexpected helper -- President Xi Jinping, who visited Jiangxi ahead of the Spring Festival.

At that time, Shenshan villagers were still struggling to make ends meet, and poverty cast a long shadow over their lives.

Xi joined villagers in making ciba and quipped that it is good for health by pounding the glutinous paste. Xi assured the villagers that "not a single family or an individual living in poverty is to be left behind on the path to poverty alleviation."

Thanks to the development of poverty alleviation industries and rural tourism, Shenshan Village bid farewell to poverty in early 2017. The average annual income of villagers per capita grew 9 folds in five years to reach 28,000 yuan (about $4,430) in 2020.

The changes in Shenshan epitomize what has happened across the country. It was announced earlier in 2021 that China had scored a "complete victory" in its fight against absolute poverty, with the final 98.99 million impoverished rural residents living under the current poverty line all lifted out of poverty over the previous eight years.

"Now my dream of becoming well-off has come true, and life is sweeter, just like ciba," said Peng Xiaying, a villager in Shenshan.