BEIJING, April 3, Xinhua -- President Xi Jinping has kicked off an afforestation campaign by urging citizens to plant trees.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping (3rd, R) plants a sapling together with pupils during a tree-planting event in Sunhe Township of Chaoyang District in Beijing, capital of China, April 3, 2015. Top Communist Party of China (CPC) and state leaders Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli attended a tree planting event in Beijing on Friday. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)

While taking part in a tree-planting event in Beijing, Xi stressed that ensuring coverage by forests was key to people's livelihoods and efforts to make China greener and less polluted.

Xi cited successes in afforestation since the founding of the New China in 1949, but said that this work must be stepped up as the nation is faced with severe environmental challenges.

Every citizen is obliged to improve the environment and no piece of land is too small for trees, the president said.

He also called on people to preserve water and save grain "in order to build a resource-efficient and environment-friendly society where human beings and nature are in harmony".

Xi planted six seedlings, including ginkgo tree and midget crabapple, during the event, which was also joined by Chinese leaders Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli.