Beijing: China`s new leader Xi Jinping Sunday visited impoverished villages close to Beijing and warned officials that embezzlement of poverty-alleviation funds is an "intolerable crime".
Waiting in the wings to take over as President next March, Xi, who succeeded Hu Jintao as General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) said policies designed to support agriculture, rural areas and farmers and alleviate poverty must be implemented fully.
He called the embezzlement of poverty-alleviation funds an "intolerable crime", state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
A well-off China won`t come if people in rural areas can`t live a well-off life, he said.
He visited farmers` homes in the villages of Luotuowan and Gujiatai in Longquanguan Township to get a first-hand look at people`s lives there, state run Xinhua news agency reported.
During chats with villagers, Xi paid special attention to difficulties in their daily life, such as problems concerning income, food, education and medical care, it said.
Statistics show that the annual net income per capita is only around 2,400 yuan (USD 390) for farmers in natural resource-poor Fuping County, a former revolutionary base 300 km from Beijing.
China`s national annual per capita income currently stands at USD 3461.
"The most arduous and heavy task facing China in completing the building of a moderately prosperous society is in the rural areas, especially the poverty-stricken regions," Xi said.
Xi, last month went Fuping, an impoverished county set deep in the Taihang Mountains of Hebei Province and interacted with the villagers.
He is due to take over as President when incumbent Hu formally retires in March next year after serving as the head of the state for a decade.