- By George N. Tzogopoul
- January 17, 2020
For China, the beginning of a new year cannot but encourage high expectations to its citizens. The country's development is due to a herculean task undertaken for seven decades and still continuing.
While last year marked the 70th anniversary of the founding of modern China, 2020 brings it closer to the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society. Progress in alleviating poverty and in increasing per capita income is impressive. The effort will intensify this year as well as in the next decades until the second centenary goal is met in 2049.
The improvement of living conditions requires planning ahead and targeted policies. President Xi Jinping has kept his promises. The fight against poverty remains his top priority. And it is being accompanied with the commitment to continuously contribute to prosperity.
This cannot be easily understood by Western observers who have not visited China. The country's economic and technological miracle does not mean all social problems have been resolved. Citizens of developed countries do enjoy goods and services that cannot necessarily be taken for granted for citizens of developing countries.
It is here where the role of a government matters. In his 2020 New Year speech, for example, Xi talked about "many types of commonly-used medicines have seen their prices drop."
An efficient social policy, especially for people in need and elderly citizens, is one that never ignores basic needs such as health. More importantly, lower prices are not only guaranteed through state subsidies for the acquisition of foreign medicines, but also with an inspiring support of medical research in China boosting domestic production.
China is undergoing significant changes being felt in daily life. Development and connectivity works create new opportunities. The Yangtze River Economic Belt project, for instance, is facilitating transport, reduces pollution and pools resources for entrepreneurship.
People can be proud of all the domestic achievements and for China's increasing international prestige. The Belt and Road Initiative fosters synergies with numerous countries, and China is even leaving its stamp on the Antarctic, the far side of the moon and in outer space.
The patriotism and love of Chinese citizens for their country is regularly seen by their self-sacrifice on several occasions. Xi made specific references to this in his speech. A remarkable case is that of Du Fuguo who lost both hands and eyes from a blast while clearing mines along the China-Vietnam boarder in Yunnan province, southwest China. Du preferred to proceed alone towards the dramatic clearance in order to protect his teammates.
The Chinese president considers it critical for himself, the Chinese government and the CPC to be close to citizens and acknowledge their work. Symbolic and substantial support does not pass unnoticed by the society.
The journey to success cannot always depend on smooth seas. What matters is not some turbulence but safe navigation until the destination. Complacency has never driven Chinese thinking.
George N. Tzogopoulos is a columnist with China.org.cn. For more information please visit:
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