Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a New Year address Saturday evening in Beijing to ring in 2023. (Xinhua/Ju Peng)
China will be a country that performs miracles through hard work as it goes forward, Chinese President Xi Jinping said while delivering his 2023 New Year address on Saturday night, the 10th such speech he has given since 2014. He also hailed the determined effort every Chinese has made in overcoming unprecedent difficulties and challenges and called for more unity as the light of hope is right in front of us.
President Xi’s New Year address quickly became the top trending topic on China’s social media Sina Weibo on Saturday night with more than 250 million netizens viewing related posts and joining in discussions. Many netizens reposted highlights from Xi’s address to commemorate the year of 2022, with even more leaving their best wishes for the country and calling for people to embrace a brighter 2023.
“The year 2023 is approaching. From Beijing, I extend my best New Year wishes to all of you,” President Xi said at the beginning of his address. Then he noted that convening of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China has sounded a clarion call of the times for the Chinese people forging ahead on a new journey.
An ambitious blueprint has been drawn 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, he said.
President Xi hailed China’s achievements on social and economic developments, military advancement and major projects as well as the successful hosting of the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics in 2022.
“None of these achievements would have been possible without the sweat and toil of the Chinese people. Sparks of talent are coming together, and they are the strength of China!” Xi said.
As prevention and control of COVID-19 had been a key topic for Chinese in 2022, President Xi also addressed the Chinese people’s fight against the COVID-19 epidemic.
“Since COVID-19 struck, we have put the people first and put life first all along. 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,” Xi said.
With extraordinary efforts, we have prevailed over unprecedented difficulties and challenges, and it has not been an easy journey for anyone, said Xi, noting that “We have now entered a new phase of COVID response where tough challenges remain”.
“Everyone is holding on with great fortitude, and the light of hope is right in front of us. Let’s make an extra effort to pull through, as perseverance and solidarity mean victory,” Xi said.
China has faced a complicated and challenging year in 2022 and finally made it to the end with the efforts of every Chinese citizen. President Xi’s New Year address demonstrated the changes the Chinese society has experienced and showed the Chinese leader’s deep care for the Chinese people, Zhang Yiwu, a professor of Peking University, told the Global Times.
After three years’ hard efforts to keep COVID-19 at bay, China has gradually optimized its virus response in 2022 and implemented a major shift in its epidemic policy by downgrading COVID management and announcing the reopening of international borders from January 8, 2023. The crucial step has paved the way for China to gradually walk out of the epidemic and fully integrate with the world.
President Xi’s words reflecting on everyone holding with great fortitude also impressed Chinese netizens with many recalling the collective striving of the country in the fight against COVID-19 and the sacrifice of medical workers and people working across all sectors of society and expressed their wishes for the country to overcome the current epidemic wave.
“Every Chinese is the hero in 2022 and our country has also been a hero. We are ready to usher in a new year in 2023 with our motherland and wish our country to enjoy long-term prosperity,” wrote one netizen.
“Unity” is also a key word in President Xi’s speech, stressing that 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. What matters is that we build consensus through communication and consultation. When the 1.4 billion Chinese work with one heart and one mind, and stand in unity with a strong will, no task will be impossible and no difficulty insurmountable,” Xi said.
As the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are members of one and the same family, President Xi also expressed sincere 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.”
Xi also mentioned his trip to Hong Kong in 2022, saying that he “was deeply glad to see that Hong Kong has restored order and is set to thrive again. With determined implementation of One Country, Two Systems, Hong Kong and Macao will surely enjoy long-term prosperity and stability.”
The Chinese economy enjoys strong resilience, tremendous potential and great vitality. 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, said Xi.
The core of President Xi’s New Year address was to unite the Chinese people and inspire them to have more confidence to embrace a brighter future, Li Haidong, a professor from the Institute of International Relations from the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Saturday.
This year’s New Year address underscored that the destiny of every Chinese is closely linked to the destiny of the country and with the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China, we Chinese people can overcome all difficulties and challenges, Li added.
The expert noted that Xi’s address also sent a message to the outside world that China is a country brimming with vigor and vitality and China’s development will inject more stability and certainty into the world as China closely links with those beyond its borders.
Li Changan, a professor from the University of International Business and Economics, told the Global Times on Saturday that Xi’s address will instill confidence in the Chinese society, as it faces new opportunities following the conclusion of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
“Cohesion and confidence are the two vital elements for the people about to embark on a new journey and ensure the journey is a success,” Li Changan said, noting that external uncertainty and the fight against the COVID following the optimization of the epidemic control measures also makes cohesion a prerequisite for China to focus on domestic development.