Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, delivers a speech at a meeting commending role models in the country's fight against the COVID-19 epidemic at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 8, 2020. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)
BEIJING, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- China held a meeting Tuesday morning in Beijing to commend role models in the country's fight against the COVID-19 epidemic.
President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, presented medals to recipients of the Medal of the Republic and the national honorary title at the Great Hall of the People.
Xi also delivered a speech at the meeting, attended by about 3,000 people.
China has made major strategic achievements in the battle against COVID-19, demonstrating the notable advantages of the CPC leadership and the country's socialist system, the great strength of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation, the profound heritage of Chinese civilization, and the nation's sense of responsibility as a major and responsible country, Xi said.
He called for transforming the virus-fighting spirit into tremendous strength to build a modern socialist country and achieve national rejuvenation.
The meeting was presided over by Li Keqiang and attended by other senior leaders: Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji, Han Zheng and Wang Qishan.
The meeting started with all participants rising to sing the national anthem. The participants then observed a moment of silence for every life lost due to COVID-19.
Li Zhanshu read a presidential order to confer the Medal of the Republic and the national honorary title on four medical professionals.
Renowned respiratory disease expert Zhong Nanshan received the Medal of the Republic, the highest state honor.
The national honorary title, "the People's Hero," was conferred on three other outstanding medical professionals:
-- Zhang Boli, a traditional Chinese medicine expert who presided over the research of the COVID-19 treatment scheme combining traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine;
-- Zhang Dingyu, head of Wuhan's designated coronavirus-treating Jinyintan Hospital;
-- Chen Wei, a military medical scientist who made major achievements in COVID-19-related basic research and development of vaccine and protective medicine.
Wang Huning read decisions to commend outstanding individuals and groups in the COVID-19 fight, as well as outstanding Party members and primary-level Party organizations across the country.
A total of 1,499 individuals, 500 groups, 186 CPC members and 150 primary-level Party organizations were commended for their roles in fighting the epidemic. Another 14 Party members were posthumously awarded.
Speaking of the anti-epidemic battle over the past eight-plus months, Xi said China has achieved another heroic feat in humankind's fight against disease by achieving major strategic achievements in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic.
The CPC Central Committee had adopted extraordinary measures to tackle the extraordinary incident of the COVID-19 epidemic, insisting on making people's lives and health the first priority, he said.
Xi went on to summarize China's spirit of combating the COVID-19 epidemic, which features putting people's lives first, nationwide solidarity, sacrifice, respecting science, and a sense of mission for humanity.
He also summarized the important experience of China's anti-epidemic fight in six areas.
The strong leadership of the CPC is the most reliable backbone for Chinese people in times of trouble, Xi said.
He said the unyielding will of the Chinese people is the source of power for overcoming all hardships and obstacles on the way forward.
The outstanding advantage of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the fundamental guarantee for resisting risks and challenges, and enhancing the capacity of national governance, he said.
Xi said the great struggle against coronavirus has once again proven that strong national strength accumulated since the founding of the People's Republic of China has laid a solid ground for the country to navigate any "turbulent tide" with composure.
The battle against COVID-19 has also demonstrated the power of core socialist values and fine traditional Chinese culture, which provide great motivation, and help build consensus and pool resources, he said.
He said the extensive appeal of building a community with a shared future for humanity is the right way for the mankind to overcome common challenges and build a more prosperous and better world.
Chinese people and the Chinese nation will certainly forge ahead on the great journey in the new era, Xi said.
"No individual or force can stop Chinese people's march toward a better life," he said.