BEIJING • Chinese President Xi Jinping touted his government's success in controlling the Covid-19 outbreak, and its hard-won achievements in economic recovery and poverty eradication in 2020, in an address which analysts said emphasised the importance of people and set key national development and economic goals for this year.
Mr Xi called for continued efforts to score more "glorious" achievements in 2021. The year ahead brings several milestones for Mr Xi and the Communist Party, which celebrates its centennial in July, and will kick off a 15-year endeavour to build China into a "modern socialist country".
China will formally announce the country's success in building a "moderately prosperous society" in the first half of 2021, a goal introduced by paramount leader Deng Xiaoping in the 1970s.
Mr Xi will also lay the ground for a twice-a-decade leadership reshuffle in 2022, that is likely to see him secure power for another five years.
China has written an epic in fighting Covid-19 as the country put people and life first and fought the epidemic with unity and perseverance, Mr Xi said in his New Year's Eve address.
"We overcame the impact of the pandemic and made significant achievements in both controlling the coronavirus and pushing economic developments," Mr Xi had said in the speech broadcast to China's 1.4 billion residents.
Mr Xi also said: "Reform and opening up have created miracles. In the future, we will deepen reform and expand opening up with greater boldness."
Commenting on the speech, analysts such as international business law professor Christopher Bovis at the University of Hull in Britain noted that Mr Xi had reaffirmed China's commitment to international cooperation, multilateralism, and continuous reform of domestic systems.
But the focus on economic growth did not lose touch with policies aimed at promoting human development, Professor Bovis said.
Oxford University's professor of history and politics of modern China Rana Mitter said: "China can take a lead by making it clear that mutual trade, open markets, and a genuine willingness to exchange human capital and talent across borders will create a high-value global economy for all."
And Professor Jon Taylor, chair of the political science and geography department at the University of Texas at San Antonio, said Mr Xi's speech set important national development and economic goals
He also cited Mr Xi's quote that recognised the hard work of the average Chinese citizen in 2020: "Greatness is forged in the ordinary. Heroes come from the people. Every person is remarkable."
CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, BLOOMBERG, XINHUA