Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a New Year speech to extend New Year greetings to all Chinese, and best wishes to friends all over the world, in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 31, 2017. (Xinhua)
BEIJING, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) -- The well-being of the Chinese people took central place in the New Year speech delivered by President Xi Jinping on Sunday, highlighting his "people first" governance principle.
Ancient Chinese scholars used to say that people are fundamental to a country. In his speech, Xi said, "The well-being of our people is the Party and the government's greatest political achievement. Our cadres should put the people's state of living at the heart, and help them live a better life."
Actions speak louder than words. Over the past five years, Xi has led the country of about 1.4 billion people to numerous achievements related to their lives.
Stating the achievements China made in 2017, Xi said gross domestic product had risen to 80 trillion yuan (12.3 trillion U.S. dollars), over 13 million new jobs were created, 1.35 billion people were covered by basic medical insurance, and more than 10 million rural people were lifted out of poverty.
China has set an ambitious target of lifting all people out of poverty by 2020 -- only three years to go. The country has already set a remarkable example for the world as it has lifted over 700 million people out of poverty since it adopted the reform and opening up policy four decades ago.
When the 2020 target is achieved, which looks quite set, it will be the first time in China's thousands of years of history that extreme poverty is eliminated.
"This is a great cause, important to both the Chinese nation and humanity. Let's do it together and make it happen," Xi said.
However, problems do exist in Chinese society that undermine people's livelihood. Just as Xi said, among the people's most pressing concerns are education, employment, income, social security, health care, elderly care, housing and environmental protection.
This year, China will mark the 40th anniversary of reform and opening up. It will be a great chance for the country to reflect upon the past and plan for the future path of development.
Xi vowed in the speech that China will resolutely carry out reform in 2018: "Reform and opening up are the path we must take to make progress in contemporary China and realize the Chinese dream."
Xi also noted the well-being of the Chinese people cannot be separated from that of the entire mankind.
In his speech, Xi vowed that China will resolutely uphold the authority and status of the United Nations, actively fulfill China's international obligations and duties, remain firmly committed to its pledges to tackle climate change, actively push for the Belt and Road Initiative, and always be a builder of world peace, contributor to global development and keeper of international order.
The global vision, as Xi put it, is to chart out a more prosperous and peaceful future for humanity with the joint efforts of the Chinese people and people from other countries.