According to the Chinese calendar and zodiac, 2022 – the Year of the Tiger – is coming to an end, and the Year of the Rabbit, an animal considered smart, agile, pure and kind in traditional Chinese culture, is just around the corner.
Over the past year, China has written a new chapter of socialist modernization, President Xi Jinping said during a speech at a reception in Beijing on Friday, two days before the Chinese New Year that falls on January 22.
Noting that 2023 will be the first year for fully implementing the guiding principles of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Xi said there will be hope and challenges.
“As long as we have firm confidence and tenacity, and work hard, we will be able to achieve a good start to the new journey,” he said.
In 2022, the CPC held the 20th National Congress, specifying that its central task from the day forward is to build China into a great modern socialist country in all respects and to advance the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization.
China’s economy has maintained growth, as its GDP expanded by 3 percent year on year in 2022 to 121.02 trillion yuan ($17.94 trillion), beating market expectations and outperforming many major economies such as Germany, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Over the past year, China has secured a bumper harvest for the 19th year in a row. The country’s grain output in 2022 totaled about 686.53 billion kilograms, up 0.5 percent compared with 2021, according to the NBS.
When reviewing what has been achieved, Xi told Friday’s Spring Festival gathering held at the Great Hall of the People that the past year also saw generally stable employment and prices, people’s livelihoods well guaranteed, progress made in work on consolidating poverty alleviation outcomes, technological breakthroughs and ecological improvement.
In terms of the COVID-19 epidemic, China optimized relevant prevention and control measures in light of the evolving situation in early December. The country has now reported declining numbers of fever patients and critical cases nationwide as both peaks have passed, said the State Council joint COVID-19 prevention and control mechanism over the weekend.
“With the commitment to putting the people and lives above all else, we have constantly optimized epidemic response in light of virus development and the epidemic prevention situation,” Xi said, noting that these efforts have protected the safety of people’s lives and their health to the maximum extent, while minimizing the impact of COVID-19 in the economic and social fields.
He also highlighted the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland, adding that the initiative to steer relations across the Taiwan Straits has been maintained.
Diplomatically, China has advanced major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, helping inject stability into this volatile world, said Xi.
When the 20th CPC National Congress concluded on October 22, 2022, Xi said the CPC is fully confident and capable of creating new and even greater miracles on the new journey of the new era.
Addressing Friday’s reception, he underscored that the new journey ahead will be a long one filled with glories and dreams. “There are no shortcuts, and only actions count.”
The glorious past was created through solid work and only through solid work can a better future be created, Xi said.
He underscored the need to better coordinate COVID-19 response and economic and social development, better coordinate development and security, deepen reform and opening-up in all respects, achieve overall improvement of the economy, and steadily raise the living standards of the people.
The Chinese president started his speech with extending Spring Festival greetings to Chinese people of all ethnic groups, compatriots in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, and overseas Chinese.
He also wished all Chinese, especially the young people, can forge ahead with swift actions like rabbits, and fully display their charm and abilities in their respective sectors in the upcoming Year of the Rabbit.