BEIJING, April 3, Xinhua -- President Xi Jinping on Friday joined Beijingers to plant trees and urged efforts to respect and protect nature and promote harmony between humans and nature.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks while attending a voluntary tree-planting activity in the Chinese capital's southern district of Daxing.

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President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, plants a tree during a voluntary tree-planting activity in Daxing district in Beijing, capital of China, April 3, 2020. The activity was also attended by other leaders including Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji, Han Zheng and Wang Qishan. [Photo/Xinhua]

"We plant trees together as a concrete action to boost the economic and social progress and the expedited return to normal work and life," Xi said, noting that the situation of epidemic control in China is continuously turning for the better.

The activity was also attended by other leaders including Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji, Han Zheng and Wang Qishan.

While planting saplings of different types of trees, Xi talked to the officials and people on-site, pointing out that afforestation has been a fine tradition of the Chinese nation since ancient times.

Ecological advancement has been brought into the country's five-sphere integrated plan since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012 and large-scale afforestation has thus been stepped up, Xi said.

China has seen its forest resources continuously increasing and its area of desertified land declining, making important contributions to the climate change response and global ecological governance, Xi said.

highlight 4.3 Xi plants trees in Beijing urging respect for nature 2

President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, waves to the officials and people on-site during a voluntary tree-planting activity in Daxing district in Beijing, capital of China, April 3, 2020. The activity was also attended by other leaders including Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji, Han Zheng and Wang Qishan. [Photo/Xinhua]

Underscoring the need to adhere to the principle of people-centered development, Xi called for planting trees for the people, thus bringing benefits to them.

He also stressed that citizens bear legal obligations to support afforestation and forest protection.

Speaking to community workers participating in the activity, Xi said as work resumption picked up pace, communities must not drop their guard in preventing the spread of the coronavirus and should make it their main task to guarantee residents' safety and health.