Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a New Year address Saturday evening in Beijing to ring in 2023. (Xinhua/Ju Peng)
BEIJING, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday stressed hard work and unity, and called on the young generation to shoulder their responsibilities to deliver China's ambitious blueprint for the future.
Giving his New Year Address to ring in 2023, Xi lauded the country's economic performance, COVID approach and sci-tech breakthroughs over the past year.
The nationally televised and livestreamed speech delivered in his office in central Beijing is the tenth of its kind since Xi became the Chinese president in 2013.
Reviewing the past year, Xi first commended the successful 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which drew an ambitious blueprint for building a modern socialist country in all respects and advancing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization.
On the Chinese economy, Xi said it has remained the second largest in the world and enjoyed sound development, adding that GDP for the whole year is expected to exceed 120 trillion yuan (about 17 trillion U.S. dollars).
"Despite a global food crisis, we have secured a bumper harvest for the 19th year in a row, putting us in a stronger position to ensure the food supply of the Chinese people," Xi said.
He also praised the country's poverty elimination and rural revitalization efforts, and tax and fee cuts and other measures to ease the burden on businesses, as well as active efforts to solve the most pressing difficulties of high concern to the people.
Xi said China has put the people first and put life first all along since COVID-19 struck.
"Following a science-based and targeted approach, we have adapted our COVID response in light of the evolving situation to protect the life and health of the people to the greatest extent possible," said the president.
"With extraordinary efforts, we have prevailed over unprecedented difficulties and challenges, and it has not been an easy journey for anyone," he said.
Noting that China has entered a new phase of COVID response where tough challenges remain, Xi called on the Chinese people to make an extra effort to pull through.
"Perseverance and solidarity mean victory," he said.
He also took a moment to remember late Chinese leader Jiang Zemin.
"Comrade Jiang Zemin passed away in 2022. We pay high tribute to his towering achievements and noble demeanor, and cherish the great legacy he left behind," Xi said.
"We will honor his last wishes and advance the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era," he added.
Xi said today's China is "a country where dreams become reality," citing some of the milestone achievements in the past year, including the Olympic Winter Games, China's manned space missions and space station, the 95th founding anniversary of the armed forces, the third aircraft carrier Fujian, the homegrown large passenger aircraft C919, and the Baihetan hydropower station.
Calling today's China "a country brimming with vigor and vitality," Xi said the Chinese economy enjoys strong resilience, tremendous potential and great vitality, and the fundamentals sustaining its long-term growth have remained strong.
"As long as we stay confident and strive for progress while maintaining stability, we will realize the goals we have set," Xi added.
"On my visit to Hong Kong earlier this year, I was deeply glad to see that Hong Kong has restored order and is set to thrive again," he said.
"With determined implementation of 'one country, two systems,' Hong Kong and Macao will surely enjoy long-term prosperity and stability," he added.
Xi also hailed China's national character, which has been demonstrated in coping with natural disasters and accidents, and will be a source of confidence for the country.
On the close link between today's China and the world, Xi said the country cherishes peace and development and values friends and partners as it has always done.
MAKE TOMORROW'S CHINA A BETTER PLACE
Vowing to make tomorrow's China a better place, Xi said the country will perform miracles through hard work.
"Long as the journey is, we will reach our destination if we stay the course; difficult as the task is, we will get the job done if we keep working at it," he said.
Xi said China will be a country that draws its strength from unity.
"Ours is a big country. It is only natural for different people to have different concerns or hold different views on the same issue," he said.
"What matters is that we build consensus through communication and consultation," he added.
"The people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are members of one and the same family. I sincerely hope that our compatriots on both sides of the Strait will work together with a unity of purpose to jointly foster lasting prosperity of the Chinese nation," said the president.
Voicing expectations of the younger generation, Xi said for China to develop further, young people must step forward and take on their responsibilities.
Youngsters should keep their country in mind and cultivate keen enterprise, he said. ■