Chinese President Xi Jinping, on behalf of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council, extended Spring Festival greetings to all Chinese Friday at a reception in Beijing.
Xi, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, delivered a speech at the gathering at the Great Hall of the People, greeting Chinese people of all ethnic groups, compatriots in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, and overseas Chinese.
This year's Spring Festival, or the Chinese Lunar New Year, falls on Jan. 22.
The outgoing Year of the Tiger is an extremely important year in the history of the Party and the country, Xi said.
Confronted with high winds and choppy waters in the international situation and the challenging tasks of pursuing reform and development and ensuring stability at home, the whole Party, the entire military and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups have risen to the challenge, united closely and worked in concert, writing a new chapter of socialist modernization, he said.
Li Keqiang presided over the reception. Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Li Qiang, Zhao Leji, Wang Huning, Han Zheng, Cai Qi, Ding Xuexiang, Li Xi and Wang Qishan were also present at the event.
Over the past year, the CPC successfully convened its 20th National Congress, Xi noted, lauding the country's efforts in accelerating the building of a new development pattern, promoting high-quality development, maintaining steady economic growth, achieving bumper harvests, keeping employment and prices generally stable, and having people's livelihoods well guaranteed.
He also praised the progress made in work on consolidating poverty alleviation outcomes, technological breakthroughs and ecological improvement.
Solid steps have been taken to modernize the national defense and armed forces, while full and strict Party self-governance has proceeded at a deeper level, and social stability has been maintained, Xi said.
"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.
The country successfully hosted the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics and celebrated the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland last year, Xi said, adding that the initiative to steer relations across the Taiwan Strait has been maintained, while major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics has been promoted to inject stability into this volatile world.
The hard-won achievements over the past year have come from the collective dedication and hard work of the Party and the people, Xi said.
"As long as the Party stands together with the people, always remains true to the people's aspirations and works in concert with the people, our iron-will will not be wavered by any storm, and our strides will not be stemmed by any difficulties," he said.
Noting that 2023 will be the first year for fully implementing the guiding principles of the 20th CPC National Congress, Xi 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 new journey ahead will be a long one filled with glories and dreams," Xi said. "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.
In traditional Chinese culture, the rabbit is considered smart and agile, pure and kind, as well as peaceful and happy, Xi said, expressing his hope that the people, especially the youth, can forge ahead with swift actions like rabbits, and fully display their charm and abilities in their respective sectors.