To those looking at the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China for hints about direction change, the message from the report CPC General Secretary Hu Jintao delivered on behalf of the 17th CPC Central Committee was loud and clear: the Party will stride ahead, in full confidence, on the path of "socialism with Chinese characteristics".
That is what the CPC has learnt from history. That is what it has prescribed for the future.
Hu's report, in the first place, is a fitting summary of what the CPC has been through and learned during the current leadership's 10 years in office, the more than 30 years of reform and opening-up, and the Party's more than 60 years at the helm.
The report's emphasis on self-confidence - in the path the CPC has chosen, the theories it has propounded, and in the system it has created - is not out of nowhere. From the first-generation CPC leaders' search for nation-building strategies to the inauguration and enrichment of the idea of "socialism with Chinese characteristics" by the second- and third-generation leaderships, the CPC's sense of direction has reached a new level under the leadership of Hu and his colleagues.
The country and the CPC have come face to face with severe tests in the past decade: SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), the 2008 global financial crisis, the Wenchuan earthquake and the ongoing eurozone debt crisis. Each prompted worries about the state of our country and economy. But to everyone's amazement, this country and its economy have remained in good shape.
During the decade, the country's economy grew from the sixth largest in the world to the second largest. While most major economies have had to cut back on social welfare, China has maneuvered to put in place a nationwide social security network. A brand-new social relief system is taking shape.
For the most part of the decade, China has remained an object of envy for its impressive immunity to the economic woes that brought down some much richer countries.
The proud score-sheet Hu and his colleagues hand over at the end of their term serves as a seal of approval of fine helmsmanship, and there can be no better support for the confidence they have displayed.
The prominence the current leaders have given to Scientific Outlook on Development - which they advocate should be implemented during the "entire process" of the country's modernization drive and "all aspects" of Party building - appears more than appropriate.
I’ve lived in China for quite a considerable time including my graduate school years, travelled and worked in a few cities and still choose my destination taking into consideration the density of smog or PM2.5 particulate matter in the region.