Kwok Wang-hei, a member of a group of Junior Police Call members who met with President Xi Jinping during the State leader’s 2017 visit to Hong Kong, talks to China Daily on May 29, 2022. (LI XIANG / CHINA DAILY)

Editor’s noteIn Hong Kong’s past 25 years, the central government’s support has played an indispensable role in safeguarding its development. In the last decade, the special administrative region has also pulled at the heartstrings of President Xi Jinping. In this series report, we invited Hong Kong residents who have come into close contact with Xi to share their stories with the State leader in a first-person perspective, and also reveal Xi’s profound impact on Hong Kong’s latest developments.

During Xi’s visit to Hong Kong in 2017, he called on the activity center of Junior Police Call and met with a group of young minds during his busy tour. It later led to a Lunar New Year greeting card for Xi, handmade by these youngsters. The president in reply wrote a letter to encourage them.

The kind words rippled in the young minds. Kwok Wang-hei, who was 11 years old at the time, briefed Xi on the JPC’s activities and training concepts. To this day, Kwok keeps the newspaper that has a photo of him with Xi, and what Xi told him has sowed the seeds of serving the society and the country.

I still remember the moment that I saw President Xi Jinping in person. He was gracious, easygoing, gentle, and kind. He looked different from what he was like on TV, where he looked serious most of the time. But on that day, he was smiling when he was listening to us, which drove away my jitters.

I did not tell my family in advance that I would meet with Xi. All of them were shocked when they saw Xi shaking hands with me on live TV. They called me immediately after the live broadcast ended and asked me, “Is that you? We can’t believe you chatted with the president just now!” My whole family was very proud of me.

During Lunar New Year 2018, some JPC members and I saw a video of the president delivering a New Year message in his office, and we were surprised to find that he put the photo of his visit to our center in his office bookcase. We made a handmade greeting card collaboratively for him as a fitting tribute to his care and concern for us.

I wrote “Happy New Year” slowly and meticulously on the card, carrying my best wishes to Xi.

His reply to our greeting card a month later was a pleasant surprise to us all. To this day, I still remember Xi’s words to live by. He encouraged us to “read more, travel more, and serve the country by action”.

I made it my lofty goal in life to “serve the society after growing up”, which is what Xi had in mind for us to do.

Putting Xi’s expectation into actions, I signed up for exchange activities in Sichuan province on the mainland and in Australia in the hope of broadening my horizons. The rewarding experience in Sichuan has altered my impressions about the mainland. The well-developed technologies, fully-fledged high-speed rail networks and widely accepted e-payment system have spoken for the rapid development itself.

This photo shows President Xi Jinping’s reply letter to the Junior Police Call members in 2018. (LI XIANG / CHINA DAILY)

It would be even better if we were able to visit Beijing and different organizations and departments in the country to have firsthand experience about the nation’s development.

During the pandemic, I saw a wealth of medical workers, construction workers and supplies of fresh food and anti-pandemic items sent into the city by the country. Hong Kong is fortunate to have the country’s backing during the fifth wave of the pandemic.

I was a chubby kid five years ago. I am much taller and thinner now. If it is possible, I want to tell the president that I have grown and found my life goal in your words, which is to serve the country with my full heart.