Hong Kong protests severely challenged 'one country, two systems' principle: Xi in his New Year address

Reuters Beijing, China Jan 01, 2020, 08.07 AM(IST)

File photo: China's President Xi Jinping. Photograph:( Reuters )

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In his New Year address on Tuesday evening, President Xi Jinping spoke about China's achievements over the past year.

Chinese President Xi Jinping's New Year address reaffirmed China's commitment to the rest of the world, said a China Media Group (CMG) commentary published on Tuesday.

The full text of the CMG commentary is as follows:

In his New Year address on Tuesday evening, President Xi Jinping spoke about China's achievements over the past year. These achievements are all the more laudable given the complex challenges the world faces today, including a global economic climate afflicted by rising unilateralism and trade protectionism.

In his address, President Xi said he expected China's GDP to reach nearly 100 trillion yuan (about 14.3 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2019 and its per capita GDP to reach 10,000 U.S. dollars. By advancing almost 10 trillion yuan within one year, roughly equivalent to Australia's GDP in 2018, China has provided more evidence that it remains a major driving force for global growth, and that it will continue to offer more and more market opportunities to the world.

This economic achievement was helped by three indispensable factors: reform, opening-up, and innovation. In his address, President Xi said China had honored its pledges with concrete measures, including the reform of Party and government institutions, more than two trillion yuan of tax and fee cuts, the establishment of more free-trade zones, the launch of the Science and Technology Innovation Board, and an acceleration in the commercial application of 5G technology.

China has also shared development opportunities with the rest of the world. Deals worth billions of dollars were clinched at the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and the second China International Import Expo. And the number of countries that have official ties with China rose to 180 over the past year, reflecting the growing international recognition of the country's contribution to the world.

The year hasn't been an entirely easy one. As President Xi said, the riots in Hong Kong have severely challenged the "one country, two systems" principle. But the successful application of this principle in Macao shows how effective it can be. President Xi sent his best wishes to the residents of Hong Kong, lending the support of all of the people of the mainland to their Hong Kong compatriots as they strive for prosperity and stability.

Looking ahead, the president said that 2020 will be a milestone. China will finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, which marks a realization of the first of its two centenary goals. It will also be a year of decisive victory for the elimination of poverty: All of the residents of China's impoverished rural areas will be lifted out of poverty.

The world watched closely this year as the Chinese people celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic. Some people had doubts as to whether the world's second-largest economy could withstand the mounting external pressure, reach its development goals, and continue to be a major force driving global growth. But the results are clear –- the Chinese people rose up and met these challenges.

President Xi said that China is determined to walk along the road of peaceful development and will resolutely safeguard world peace and promote common development. As we move into the New Year, this is China's firm commitment to the world.