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Xi's address stresses well-being of people

By XING YI in London and LINDA DENG in Seattle, Washington | China Daily | Updated: 2024-01-02 07:32
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President Xi Jinping delivers his New Year address on Sunday in Beijing. JU PENG/XINHUA

Experts reflect on speech, highlighting commitment to peace and prosperity

Chinese President Xi Jinping's New Year speech had a strong focus on the well-being of the people and promoting prosperity, giving hopes of a better life and creating a win-win situation for a world of peaceful coexistence, global experts have said.

Xi delivered his New Year message on Sunday to ring in 2024, in which he hailed the achievements China has made in various sectors in 2023 and vowed to comprehensively deepen reform and opening-up, enhance economic vitality and steadfastly advance Chinese modernization.

Keith Bennett, co-editor of the Friends of Socialist China, said the New Year address presents a profound, comprehensive and touching panorama and survey of China's present situation, achievements and perspectives.

What is particularly impressive is the way it relates a grand vision to the issues that most touch on people's daily lives, from the encouragement of grassroots sports and community activities, such as the "village super league "soccer games, to the embrace by more people of low-carbon lifestyles, he said.

Bennett said that when Xi talks about children being well taken care of and receiving a good education, and elderly people having access to proper medical services and care, he speaks not just to the Chinese people, but also to people's universal aspirations.

"Making the issues that matter to every family the top priority for government, that is serving the people, is the essence of socialist governance," he said.

Brian Renwick, a London-based adviser to organizations with a focus on China, said the speech is "positive and energetic".

To Renwick, what is meaningful of the speech is that the president mentioned China's ultimate goal is about delivering a better life for the people, and China will work closely with the international community for the common good of humanity and make the world a better place for all.

"Few other leaders pay attention to these philosophies," he said.

Iris Yau, a member of the board of trustees for the Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding, said the speech fostered a warm and harmonious atmosphere for the society.

"It expands the inclusive and dynamic environment for innovation, and creates convenient and good living conditions, so that people can live happy lives, bring out their best, and realize their dreams," she said.

Moving passages

David Chong, founder and president of the US-China Youth and Student Exchange Association, said the speech had two particularly moving passages for him.

The first emphasized the grand yet simple goal: to improve the lives of ordinary people.

Raising and educating children, facilitating the employment and success of the youth, and ensuring healthcare and well-being for the elderly are not just personal matters, but also national concerns. It calls for a collective effort to manage these affairs effectively.

The second passage addressed the current conflicts in some parts of the world.

Recognizing the value of peace, the Chinese people express their willingness to work with the international community, holding the well-being of humanity and the prospects of people in mind, to build a community with a shared future for mankind and create a better world.

"Upon reflection, it's clear that the majority of people worldwide share simple aspirations: a secure and comfortable living, peaceful development and the opportunity to thrive in a fair global order, contributing to the well-being of humanity," he said.

Sourabh Gupta, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Institute for China-America Studies, said the people's development and the right to a better standard of living and a happier future have been at the heart of Xi's leadership over the past decade, and this people-centric vision will continue to animate his politics and policies.

David Choi, co-chair of the National Congress of Chinese Canadians, said overseas Chinese are glad to see that China has weathered a complicated challenging world in 2023, and China continues to forge ahead and is advancing itself.

China overcame a challenging economy and international environment, made new accomplishments in space and aeronautics, in the energy sector, in green technology, continues to modernize developments, and stays focused in pursuing higher quality and long-term economic progress, he added.

Chen Yingqun in Beijing, Yifan Xu in Washington and Rena Li in Los Angeles contributed to this story.

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