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Li Tongxi, a 76-year-old retired teacher in Xiongan New Area in Hebei province, changed his daily routine on Wednesday because he knew something was going to happen that day that would be significant for him and for his country.
That day saw the opening of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, and General Secretary Xi Jinping"s delivery of a report at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. The congress is the country"s most important political meeting in five years.
Normally, Li would get up at 6 am, go out for a 20-minute run, practice tai chi with other elders in the village of Beiliu in Anxin county and then do some weeding or planting in his garden.
But on Wednesday, he dropped all that and turned on his television after breakfast, looking forward to watching Xi"s delivery live.
"I was so excited to know what future China is going to embrace," Li said.
He added that people of his age had experienced different stages and big events over the years, and he certainly didn"t want to miss this historic moment.
Together with his family, Li listened attentively to what Xi said and unselfconsciously clapped his hands from time to time.
"I feel so proud and happy to be Chinese," Li said, "Our country is stepping into a new era and is becoming more and more prosperous, strong, harmonious and beautiful."
He said he couldn"t imagine how much better life would be in the future based on the great vision Xi laid out, and he even envies the young people who will be able to benefit even more.
In the past five years, Li said his life has improved a lot and he is pretty satisfied.
Li said his monthly retirement pension has increased by about 60 percent to more than 3,000 yuan ($453) since 2012.
"That"s more than enough for me to live a good life in the village," Li said.
But mostly, he feels special and lucky because Xi mentioned Li"s home in the report, saying that Xiongan New Area will be constructed with high standards.
Li became a resident of Xiongan when the central government unveiled plans for the area"s establishment in April. "I applauded loudly when I heard it," Li said, adding that a bright future is ahead for the area"s residents.
Located about 100 kilometers southwest of Beijing, Xiongan covers Hebei"s Xiongxian, Rongcheng and Anxin counties.
It is expected to help with phasing out some noncapital functions in Beijing, exploring a new model of optimized development in densely populated areas, and restructuring the urban layout in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. It will have the same national significance as the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone and Shanghai Pudong New Area.
"Mentioning Xiongan in the report shows how important the area is," said Li"s son, Li Huqun, who also listened to the report.
Li Huqun, 48, said he feels enthusiastic about the report.
"A bright future is certain, but I want to remain employed when the new area begins to take shape as an innovation hub," he said.
He runs a small workshop making embroidery products, which gives him an annual income of 200,000 yuan.
"My business may not be in accordance with the development concept of Xiongan and will probably be shut down," Li Huqun said, adding that he needs to come up with something new to do.
"But I am confident because the country has always regarded people"s interests as the top priority," Li said. He quoted a part of Xi"s report to show his confidence, "We must regard as our goal the people"s aspirations to live a better life."