President and Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping gave a New Year speech that was televised nationwide on December 31. You can read an English translation of the full text here. Xi’s main points:
- Achievements of 2017: Xi praised the Chinese people’s “great creative forces that have burst forth” (迸发出来的创造伟力 bèngfā chūlái de chuàngzào wěilì), mentioning projects such as high speed rail, as well as the broadening of health insurance coverage, military progress, diplomatic successes and other Party achievements.
- Poverty alleviation: Xi repeated a “solemn commitment to lift all rural residents living below the current poverty line out of poverty by 2020.”
- International commitments: Xi said China “will resolutely uphold the authority and status of the United Nations,” be a responsible global actor, keeps its promises on climate change, and “actively push forward” the Belt and Road Initiative.
- “You have also encountered quite some frustrations,” Xi told the citizens, admitting that the Party had room for improvement and that the government needed to deliver on “education, employment, income, social security, healthcare, elderly care, housing, and the environment.”
- The photos on the bookshelves behind Xi during his speech caught the curiosity of Chinese internet users, rather than anything he said: see SupChina’s video explainer and this post on Shanghaiist for more.