Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a New Year's speech in Beijing. Picture: Ju Peng/Xinhua via AP
Chinese President Xi Jinping has delivered a New Year speech in which he reviewed the achievements of 2019 and extended his New Year wishes for 2020.

Comrades, friends, ladies and gentlemen, The year  2020 is arriving. From China’s capital Beijing, I would  like to extend my New Year wishes to you all!

In 2019, we sweated and we toiled as we pressed ahead  with concrete efforts for achievements. Thanks to our  steady pursuit of high-quality development, China’s GDP  is expected to edge close to 100 trillion yuan with the per  capita figure reaching the level of 10,000 U.S. dollars. 

Significant breakthroughs have been achieved in three  tough battles.

Coordinated development in the Beijing-Tianjin- Hebei Region, the Yangtze River Economic Belt, the  Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area,  and the Yangtze River Delta, all accelerated. Ecological  protection and high-quality development in the Yellow  River basin have become national strategies.

About 340 impoverished counties and more than 10  million people have been lifted out of poverty. Our lunar  probe Chang’e-4, for the first time in human history,  landed on the far side of the moon; the Long March-5  Y3 rocket was successfully launched; the Xuelong 2  icebreaker set sail on its maiden voyage to  the Antarctic;  the construction of the global network of the BeiDou  Navigation Satellite System is sprinting towards the  finish line; the commercial application of 5G technology  is accelerating; the Beijing Daxing International Airport  “phoenix spread its wings”... all these achievements are  the result of the efforts and sweat of those who strive  in the new era, and they demonstrate extraordinary  Chinese splendor and Chinese strength.

Over the past year, reform and opening-up has  continuously generated vigor for development. The  reform of Party and government institutions has been  successfully completed. We have set up another batch of  pilot free trade zones, and expanded the Shanghai Pilot  Free Trade Zone.  The Science and Technology Innovation Board was  launched smoothly. We have cut taxes and fees by more  than 2 trillion yuan, and raised the individual income  tax threshold.
Many types of commonly-used medicines have seen  their prices drop, while cheaper and faster internet  connection has enabled faster flow of information.

Garbage sorting is leading the new trend of a low- carbon lifestyle.

This year we have also streamlined the work of officials  at the grassroots level. New changes are taking place  everywhere and the country is taking on a fresh look.

Over the past year, we have steadily pushed forward  reforms in our national defense and military systems.  The armed forces have taken on a new look of a strong  army in the new era. We held a grand military parade  on National Day, celebrated the 70th anniversary of the  establishment of the Navy and the Air Force, and also  hosted the 7th Military World Games. The country’s  first self-developed aircraft carrier was commissioned.  The people’s army will always serve as a great wall of  steel that guards our motherland. Let’s salute those  loyal soldiers who safeguard our home.

The most memorable moment of 2019 was the  celebrations for the 70th anniversary of the founding  of the People’s Republic of China. We cheered for the
glorious achievements the People’s Republic has made  over the past 70 years, and were overwhelmed by the  sheer force of patriotism. The formations during the  military parade were powerful, and the mass pageant  thrilling. Tiananmen Square was turned into a sea of  happiness.

All of China was arrayed in red with proud smiles on  all faces as the song “My Motherland and I” played  throughout the streets and alleys. Patriotic feelings  brought tears to our eyes, and patriotic spirit forms the  backbone of the Chinese nation. All these merge into  a surging current that sings an ode to New China and  inspires us to work harder in the new era, filling us with  boundless energy.

Over the past year, I have visited many places. 

Construction of Xiong’an New Area is progressing,  Tianjin Port is booming, Beijing’s sub-center is thriving,  grasslands in Inner Mongolia are splendid, the Hexi  Corridor, after thousands of years, is teeming with new  life. The winding Yellow River, where the sky is high and  waters are wide, sometimes turbulent, sometimes calm;  on both banks of the Huangpu River, there is plenty and  prosperity, and ribbons of light shine in the night.  Everything is flourishing across our motherland.

I traced the routes of China’s revolution to strengthen  my original aspiration. From Yudu in Jiangxi Province  where the Red Army gathered for their Long March, to  the Revolution Museum in Xinxian County in Henan  Province, the former capital of the Hubei-Henan- Anhui revolutionary base, from the Monument to the  West Route Army in Gaotai, Gansu Province, to the  revolutionary memorial site in the Fragrant Hills in  Beijing, all these places aroused many feelings and  thoughts in my mind. 

Our original aspiration and  mission are our inexhaustible source of motivation  during our Long March of the new era.

As usual, no matter how busy I was, I spent time visiting  people in the countryside. People shared many of their  innermost thoughts with me, and I always keep them  in mind. I have also received letters from villagers of the  Dulong ethnic group in Gongshan, Yunnan Province;  residents of Xiadang township, Shouning County in  Fujian Province; soldiers of the Wang Jie Squad; the  graduate students of the Class of Champions at Beijing  Sport University; and children and senior volunteers from  Macao. In my reply letters, I applauded the achievements  they had made and sent my best wishes.

Over the past year, many people and their stories  touched us deeply. Zhang Fuqing has kept a low profile  and stayed true to his original heart despite the great  contributions he’s made to the nation; Huang Wenxiu  dedicated her youth and life to poverty alleviation; 31  fire fighters sacrificed their lives in the line of duty in  Muli, Sichuan Province; Du Fuguo sacrificed himself to  protect his teammates; and China’s Women’s National  Volleyball Team won the World Cup in an eleven-match  winning streak. Numerous unsung heroes, with neither  complaint nor regret, with dedication. Ordinary people  living extraordinary lives.

In the year of 2019, China continued to open its arms  wide to embrace the world. We hosted the second Belt  and Road Forum for International Cooperation, the  Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition, the  Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations, and the  second China International Import Expo, showcasing  a civilized, open and inclusive China to the rest of the  world.

I held meetings with many heads of state and  government, sharing with them China’s proposals,  promoting friendship and deepening consensus. A few  countries joined hands with us. The number of countries  that have diplomatic ties with China now stands at 180.

We have friends in every corner of the world.

2020 will be a year of milestone significance. We will  finish building a moderately prosperous society in all  respects and realize the first centenary goal. 2020 will  also be a year of decisive victory for the elimination of  poverty.

The bugle has sounded. We shall all of one heart “add oil.”

The greater the difficulties, the further we advance,  strengthening our weak links even more and laying a  more solid foundation to win the hard battle against
poverty with determination, to lift all impoverished  rural residents and counties out of poverty by current  standards as scheduled.

Several days ago, I attended the celebrations marking the  20th anniversary of Macao’s return to the motherland  and felt heartened for the prosperity and stability in  Macao. The successful practice of Macao indicates that  the principle of “One Country, Two Systems” is fully  applicable, achievable, and popular. 

In recent months,  our hearts have been concerned about the situation in  Hong Kong.

Without a harmonious and stable environment, how can  people live in peace and enjoy their work! I sincerely wish  Hong Kong well and our Hong Kong compatriots well.  Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability is the wish of Hong  Kong compatriots and the expectation of people of our  motherland.

Human history, like a river, runs forever, witnessing  both peaceful moments and great disturbances. We  are not afraid of storms and dangers and barriers.
China is determined to walk along the road of peaceful  development and will resolutely safeguard world peace  and promote common development. We are willing to  join hands with people of all countries in the world to  build together the Belt and Road Initiative, and push  forward the building of a community with a shared  future for mankind, and make unremitting efforts for  the creation of a beautiful future for mankind.

At this moment, many people are still at their posts,  many people are safeguarding peace and security, and  many people are working tirelessly. Your hard work is  greatly appreciated.

Let’s seize the day and live it to the full, and greet  the arrival of the year 2020 together. I wish you all  a happy new year!