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Last year was a highly significant one for the nation, best summed up through key phrases and words that capture its development, significant events and selfless acts. Jiang Xueqing reports.
In 2012, China witnessed its most significant leadership transition in a decade. During this, the Communist Party of China decided to forge ahead with reform and opening-up as well as the country's drive for modernization in 2013. As the economy maintained fast and steady growth, China's gross domestic product hit 47.3 trillion yuan ($7.6 trillion) in 2011. President Hu Jintao urged both the Party and people to seize the chance to secure the goal of completing the building of a moderately prosperous society by 2020. Looking back at last year, China Daily has selected some key words to encapsulate the country's remarkable development and highlight some of the most important events with historical significance. The events, people and ideas behind these key words aroused widespread interest among our readers, both in and outside China.
The Chinese Dream
Xi Jinping, Party leader and head of the country's military, said he believes the "great renewal" of the nation is the greatest Chinese Dream in modern history. The dream not only condenses long-cherished wishes for generations but also represents the overall interest of the Chinese people, and every Chinese is looking forward to the day it comes true, Xi said while attending an exhibition on the country's road to rejuvenation, at the National Museum of China on Nov 29.
This new phrase - the Chinese Dream - was warmly received on the Internet, with Chinese Web users enthusiastically talking about their own aspirations and how they relate to the Chinese Dream. Their own dreams range from having "a beautiful environment with blue sky and clean water" to "better housing, education, healthcare and social security that relieves people's pressure", "fewer corrupt officials" to "the complete reunification of China".
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The 18th National Congress of the Party
The 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, held in Beijing from Nov 8-14, was the most important event on the country's 2012 political calendar. During the Congress, power was transferred to the next generation of leaders, with President Hu Jintao handing over the offices of general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission to 59-year-old Xi Jinping.
In a keynote report to the Congress, Hu called for all members of the Party and the Chinese people to "firmly march on the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics and strive to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects". The Congress also called for greater social equality and justice. Both the old and new leadership pledged unremitting efforts to fight corruption and uphold Party integrity.
The Chinese public was moved by the examples set by several inspirational and selfless people in 2012.
They included Wu Bin, a bus driver, who ensured the safety of 24 passengers despite being fatally injured by a piece of iron that flew through his windscreen while he was driving from Wuxi in Jiangsu province to Hangzhou in Zhejiang province on May 29. The 48-year-old kept control of the bus, brought it to a halt, pulled on the handbrake, turned on the warning lights, and told passengers to remain seated, before collapsing. He died three days later and was hailed as a national hero.
Zhang Lili, a 29-year-old teacher in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, saved two students from a bus accident on May 8, but lost her legs. She was later termed the "most beautiful teacher" in China.
On Oct 11, 57-year-old novelist Mo Yan became the first Chinese citizen to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. The Swedish Academy praised his work for merging "folk tales, history and the contemporary" with "hallucinatory realism". His Nobel achievement brought him widespread public acclaim in China, with most people feeling highly proud of Mo, whether they had read his books or not.
Born in 1955 to a farming family, Mo Yan is a pen name for Guan Moye, and means "don't speak". Mo grew up in Gaomi in Shandong province. Talented at storytelling, and blessed with a vivid imagination since childhood, he was forced to leave school in the "cultural revolution" (1966-76) and worked in the fields for many years. Later, he joined the army in 1976 and completed his education.
He published his first novel in 1981 and became known to a wider audience after his novel Red Sorghum was turned into a movie by director Zhang Yimou in 1987. His other works include The Garlic Ballads, The Republic of Wine, Big Breasts and Wide Hips, Sandalwood Torture, Forty-One Bombs and Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out.
Thousands took to the streets in many cities across China in August and September after a group of Japanese nationalists landed on the Diaoyu Islands, center of a territorial dispute between the two countries.
The Chinese protesters waved banners reading "The Diaoyu Islands belong to China" and "All Chinese people united in boycotting Japanese products". They chanted slogans and smashed Japanese-made cars. Many people surrounded the Japanese embassy in Beijing, throwing bottles, eggs and bricks.
In April 2012, then-Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara said he would use public money to "purchase" the Diaoyu Islands from the Kurihara family, which claimed ownership of the islands in the East China Sea. Despite repeated warnings from China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Japanese government signed the "purchase" contract on Sept 11. Chinese leaders denounced the "purchase" as a farce and urged Japan to stop infringing on China's sovereignty.
Xu Yiping, director of the Beijing Center for Japanese Studies at Beijing Foreign Studies University, said, "It is natural and justified that many people reacted angrily toward the Japanese government's 'purchase' of the Diaoyu Islands, because a territorial dispute like this concerns the most important interest of our country.
"Chinese citizens have the freedom to protest with banners, cancel their trips to Japan, or stop doing business with the Japanese to express their anger and wishes, as long as they keep their actions within a rational scope," he said.
Aircraft carrier style
China successfully landed a J-15 fighter jet on its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, on Nov 25 and the actions of the deck crew in guiding the aircraft spread on the Internet overnight, turning into a celebration among Chinese Web users of growing military power.
Two crew members signaled the go-ahead for take-off by kneeling down on one knee, with their left arms bent back and right arms extended, pointing their index and middle fingers to the front end of the deck and leaning their upper bodies in the same direction. The gesture was termed "aircraft carrier style" by Chinese Web users, after the dance pop single Gangnam Style by South Korean singer PSY, which became hugely popular worldwide. Many people enthusiastically imitated the gesture, posting pictures of their own "aircraft carrier style" online.
(China Daily 02/14/2013 page1)