A statue of Deng Yufen [Photo/Xinhua]
In a speech made in July 2014 at a ceremony marking the 77th anniversary of the start of the nationwide resistance against Japanese aggression, Xi told the story of Deng Yufen, a heroic mother whose husband and five sons died in the fight against Japanese invaders.
Deng's hometown in Beijing's Miyun district was occupied by the Japanese army in 1933 and became part of the puppet state of Manchukuo.
When the Communist Party of China enlisted guerrilla warriors to fight Japanese invaders in June 1940, Deng and her husband decided to send their three eldest sons to join the guerrillas. Deng's husband and her fourth and fifth sons later joined the anti-Japanese self-defense forces.
The war took away most of Deng's family members - her husband and five of her seven sons were killed.
However, grief didn't dampen her spirits. She believed what she and her family did was nothing short of a noble cause.
Later, Deng threw her full weight against the anti-Japanese forces and she even turned her house into a shelter for injured soldiers, taking care of them and treating them as if they were her own children.
Deng passed away in 1970 at age of 79. Her story is still being told to inspire people striving for a better life.