The grave of the leader's father has brought increasing numbers of tourists to Fuping, a backwater even by the standards of rural Shaanxi province. A parade of delegations, some organized by the Communist Youth League, visited the site during the weeklong holiday beginning Oct. 1.
"There has definitely been an increase in visits since Xi Zhongxun's son became leader," said Yan, the Fuping tourism official. "During the national holidays, it is so crowded there isn't even a place to stand."
One person who hasn't visited much is Xi Jinping. Aside from the ceremony Tuesday, the president has distanced himself from the tributes. Political analysts say Xi is keen to avoid the perception that he is a "princeling," a derogatory expression for the privileged second-generation communists who are among China's elite.
"Whenever Xi goes to visit the family tomb, he is very low-key. He does not want to be accused of creating a cult of personality," said Zhang Lifan, a Beijing historian.
At a major symposium last week in Gansu province, the president's younger brother, Xi Yuanping, and other speakers didn't mention the salient fact that a son of Xi Zhongxun is the president.
The ceremony took place in Gansu's Liangdang county, where Xi Zhongxun lived in the mid-1930s. The local government has spent $33 million restoring the house where the older Xi lived and building a memorial site, according to a state media report in June.
Li, the retired editor, believes that Xi Jinping is not personally responsible for the initiatives.
"It is a huge taboo for Chinese leaders to expand family tombs or renovate childhood homes," said Li. "I think this is all local officials trying to ingratiate themselves. That's how China works."
Tommy Yang of The Times' Beijing bureau contributed to this report.