CGTN: New journey of the new era: China charts course for modernization

BEIJING, Dec. 31, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — For more than a century, China has tirelessly pursued modernization — from “Revitalize China” to the “four modernizations” goal launched after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, referring to agriculture, industry, defense and science.

Now modernization is no longer simply a dream for the Chinese people. In 2022, China’s leadership unveiled its blueprint for building a modern socialist China in all respects featuring a unique Chinese path.

“An ambitious blueprint has been drawn for building a modern socialist country in all respects and advancing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization, sounding a clarion call of the times for us forging ahead on a new journey,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said in his New Year address on Saturday.

Toward Chinese modernization

In October, Chinese modernization, a key term defining China’s journey to rejuvenation, was for the first time written into a report to the National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Chinese modernization has elements that are universal to all modernization processes but is characterized by features that are unique to the Chinese context.

President Xi has underscored the unique features of Chinese modernization: the modernization of a huge population, of common prosperity for all, of material and cultural-ethical advancement, of harmony between humanity and nature, and of peaceful development.

China is working to achieve modernization for more than 1.4 billion people, a number larger than the combined population of all developed countries in the world today.

With the steady growth of its own economy, China champions common prosperity to ensure that everyone receives a fair share of its economic success and to reduce inequality. According to the Blue Book of Common Prosperity, China’s index of common prosperity increased by 79.3 percent from 24.67 in 2013 to 44.23 in 2020.

While continuing to consolidate the material foundation for modernization and improve the material conditions for people’s well-being, China is striving to develop advanced socialist culture, foster strong ideals and convictions, and carry forward China’s cultural heritage. China now has 43 items on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list, the highest number in the world.

Guided by the new development philosophy featuring innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, China in 2022 continued to be a leading growth engine for the world economy. The International Monetary Fund forecast that China’s economy would grow at 3.2 percent in 2022, aligning with the global projected pace.

As the Chinese leadership has pledged many times, the country has stayed committed to peaceful development. The Global Security Initiative launched in April is one example. It has already gained appreciation and support from over 70 countries.

With solid steps

The CPC aims to realize socialist modernization from 2020 through 2035, and build China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful from 2035 through the middle of this century.

The path to achieving the goals is already taking shape. With its people-centered philosophy of development, the country has built the world’s largest education, social security and healthcare systems.

Xi has called innovation the heart of China’s modernization drive. China’s pursuit of independence in scientific innovation is reflected in its various achievements, including the Beidou Navigation Satellite System, space exploration including lunar and Mars probes and the construction of China’s own space station, and the deep-sea manned submersible Fendouzhe. The country has also developed its own high-speed railway technologies, 5G communication technologies and artificial intelligence.

In the Global Innovation Index 2022 provided by the World Intellectual Property Organization, a UN specialized agency, China’s rank has risen to 11th among the 132 economies surveyed.

Guided by Xi’s vision of “lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets,” China’s modernization drive also emphasizes harmonious coexistence between humanity and nature. The country has cut its carbon emission intensity by 34.4 percent over the past 10 years, and pledged to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.

Moreover, China reiterates that it will advance a broader agenda of opening up across more areas and with greater depth, follow the Chinese path to modernization, and share the nation’s development opportunities with the world. In the first 11 months of 2022, China’s trade in goods expanded 8.6 percent year on year to 38.34 trillion yuan ($5.5 trillion), according to the General Administration of Customs.

CGTN: Xi Jinping salutes ordinary people’s extraordinary efforts in New Year Address

BEIJING, Dec. 31, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — From medical professionals to delivery men and women, from community workers to next-door neighbors, ordinary Chinese people are doing their best and lending a hand to help others cope with the latest waves of COVID-19 infections in the country.

With extraordinary efforts, China has prevailed over unprecedented difficulties and challenges in fighting the pandemic, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Saturday while delivering his 2023 New Year Address.

Officials and the general public, particularly medical professionals and community workers, have bravely stuck to their posts through it all, Xi said.

“It has not been an easy journey for anyone,” he said, calling for an extra effort from the people to pull through.

People first, life first

In 2022, China continued to optimize its COVID response in light of the evolving situation. Based on the mutation of the virus, the popularization of vaccination and the accumulation of experience in prevention and control, the National Health Commission said in December that the country’s epidemic prevention and control has entered a new stage.

Shifting from infection prevention to medical treatment, China has rolled out a host of measures to boost access to medical treatment and drugs, improve health services for the elderly and other vulnerable groups, speed up vaccination, and beef up health infrastructure in rural areas.

Seventy percent of those aged over 60 had received a booster dose of vaccines as of December 13, up from less than 53 percent among the age group of the population by March 24, according to data from the State Council Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism Against COVID-19.

In addition, the relaxation of the response policy in 2022 comes after China has effectively responded to five global COVID waves and avoided widespread infections with the original strain and the Delta variant, which are relatively more pathogenic than the other variants.

“Since COVID-19 struck, we have put the people first and put life first all along,” Xi said during his New Year Address.

“Following a science-based and targeted approach, we have adapted our COVID response in light of the evolving situation to protect the life and health of the people to the greatest extent possible,” he added.

China has kept its severe COVID-19 cases and death rates among the lowest in the world. The average life expectancy of the Chinese has continued to rise amid the pandemic, from 77.93 years in 2020 to 78.2 years in 2021.

Light right in front

Starting January 8, China will downgrade management of the disease from Class A to Class B in accordance with the country’s law on prevention and treatment of infectious disease, in a major shift of its epidemic response policies. The country will also scrap quarantine measures for inbound travelers from the day.

Following the announcement of the latest adjustments, searches and bookings for international flights and hotels rocketed on multiple Chinese online travel agencies, with some numbers hitting three-year highs, indicating that normal life is picking up.

Another sign that experts believe bodes the revival of the country’s consumption market in 2023, restaurants, shopping malls and cinemas nationwide have reopened and reported burgeoning visits.

“Everyone is holding on with great fortitude, and the light of hope is right in front of us,” Xi said during Saturday’s address to ring in the new year.

“Let’s make an extra effort to pull through, as perseverance and solidarity mean victory.”

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CGTN: China will continue to contribute to global peace and development in connected world

BEIJING, Dec. 31, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Noting China is a country closely linked with the world, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that he has not only hosted old and new friends in Beijing, but also traveled abroad to communicate China’s propositions to the world over the past year in his 2023 New Year address on Saturday.

The past year has witnessed a friends-gathering Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Spring, bilateral meetings between Xi and foreign leaders of more than 40 countries, and three overseas trips made by Xi before and after the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in October.

Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee, became the first foreign leader to visit China since the conclusion of the 20th CPC National Congress. Since then, Xi has held dozens of bilateral meetings with foreign leaders including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who was the first leader of a major Western country to visit China after the milestone CPC meeting.

The visits were widely acknowledged to create peaks for head-of-state diplomacy in 2022.

In the past year, China has continued to play its role as a responsible major country in the international arena by enhancing relations with other major countries.

From two phone calls to a face-to-face meeting in Bali between Xi and his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden, both leaders agreed to take concrete actions to put China-U.S. relations back on track with steady development.

Besides two personal meetings in Beijing in February and in Samarkand in September, the virtual meeting between Xi and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin yesterday showed both countries will continue to strengthen strategic coordination and uphold international justice.

With Xi’s attendance at the first China-Arab States Summit and the China-Gulf Cooperation Council in Riyadh, China-Arab states relations also ushered in a new era of all-round and in-depth development.

In the past year, China has also continued to offer its solutions with Chinese wisdom to tackle common challenges confronting the international community.

Xi proposed the Global Security Initiative (GSI) at the Boao Forum for Asia in April 2022 to work with other countries to promote security for all, after putting forward the Global Development Index (GDI) at the general debate of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2021.

To date, more than 70 countries have expressed support for the GSI, and more than 100 countries and a number of international organizations, including the UN, have committed support to the GDI and nearly 70 countries have joined the Group of Friends of the GDI.

Noting that changes unseen in a century are unfolding at a faster pace and the world is not yet a tranquil place, Xi said in the New Year address that China cherishes peace and development and values friends and partners as always.

“We stand firm on the right side of history and on the side of human civilization and progress. We work hard to contribute China’s wisdom and solutions to the cause of peace and development for all humanity,” he said.

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Asian stock markets close Friday on high note

Major Asian stock markets closed higher on the final trading day of the year.

The Asia Dow, which includes blue-chip companies in the region, gained 0.41% for a reading of 3,247.80 points. On a yearly basis, the index lost 13.9%.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 was flat at 26,094.50 while it has fallen 9.37% since the beginning of 2022, marking its first annual drop in 4 years amid high global inflation and aggressive rate hikes from major central banks.

The Hang Seng, the benchmark for blue-chip stocks trading on the Hong Kong stock exchange, rose 0.20% to 19,781.41. On an annual basis the Hang Seng fell 15.46%, its worst year since 2011.

China’s Shanghai Stock Exchange gained 0.51% to 3,089.26. However, the index dropped over 15% this year due to COVID-19, a property crisis, and slowing global growth.

The Singapore index climbed 0.06%, to 3,251.32 while gaining 4.09% for the year.

On the other hand, India’s Sensex benchmark lost 0.48% to close Friday at 60,840.74. It was up 4.44% this year.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Patients in UK get mistaken text about serious disease instead of Christmas message

Patients at a doctors’ office in one English city got mistaken text messages saying they had a serious disease rather than the intended holiday greetings.

The Askern Medical Practice in the city of Doncaster meant to send messages two days before Dec. 25, Christmas, wishing their patients a “merry Christmas and happy New Year,” but instead sent out texts saying the recipient had aggressive lung cancer.

An hour later a second message informed patients of the error, apologizing, and gave holiday greetings. The GP surgery has some 8,000 patients.

Sarah Hargreaves, a patient who was waiting for medical test results, said she “broke down” when she got the text, the BBC reported.

Another patient said he initially wondered if the first text was “some kind of sick joke.”

No one at the GP office was available to comment to the BBC.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Türkiye’s 1st and only ice museum hosts 100,000 visitors since opening

Türkiye’s first and only ice museum that opened in the eastern province of Erzurum has become one of the country’s focal points for winter tourism, hosting over 100,000 visitors so far.

The Ata Ice Museum, the only establishment of its kind in Türkiye, was opened in cooperation with Ataturk University and the Northeast Anatolian Development Agency (KUDAKA). It opened in 2020 at the Faculty of Fine Arts at Ataturk University in Erzurum, one of the cities where the winter season is harsh.

Since its opening in 2020, the museum hosted numerous solo exhibits and others under the themes “Republic and Child” and “Salt and Ice (Tuz Buz).” It displayed frozen works such as igloo homes and sculptures of Türkiye, its flag, a phoenix, the Trojan horse, Gobeklitepe and important symbols of Erzurum.

The museum, which contains ice sculptures illuminated with special lighting systems, takes visitors on a journey through the poles bundled up in coats due to the cold temperature inside.

Mustafa Bulat, dean of the Fine Arts Faculty of Ataturk University, told Anadolu Agency that the museum opened its doors to visitors on July 15, 2020.

It also has works of art concerned with social issues on display, Bulat said.

“The theme in our museum constantly changes. In about three to five months, the ice works are deformed, and we update our museum with new projects instead,” he explained.

Noting that many of the museum-goers came from schools, he added: “We can say that more than 100,000 visitors came to our museum.”

As it gains international recognition particularly via social media promotions, museum administrators plan to apply for the European Museum Award, making it a well-known brand.

Bulat stressed that they plan to organize an event in February with the participation of around 10 foreign artists by working with a private company.

The museum is constantly active, with students in sculpture departments take elective ice sculptures courses in the museum, he noted.

Children visit museum even during pandemic

“While people were unable to leave their homes during the pandemic, children were able to visit this place easily,” Bulat said.

He noted that the museum owns eight machines that make blocs of transparent ice to be used for sculptures to be displayed in the two-floor exhibition area of 400 square meters (about 4,300 sq feet) and displayed for the visitors.

The museum is also home to the ice sculptures of important locations in Anatolia, he said. “For example, there is a project from Sanliurfa’s Gobeklitepe, which is described as the ‘zero point in time’ dating back 12,000 years and a site on the UNESCO World Heritage List.”

As the museum is home to from 250-300 ice works, Bulat said they were always ready to host local and foreign visitors.

Source: Anadolu Agency

France must get rid of its ‘colonizer complex’: Algerian president

The Algerian president has said “France must get rid of its colonizer complex,” according to local media.

“The relations between the two countries need — in order to cool down — France to liberate itself from its colonizer complex and Algeria from its colonized complex,” Abdelmadjid Tebboune told the French daily Le Figaro in an interview on Thursday.

He added that the image of Algeria must change as “the country is far more different than what it was in 1962.”

The Algerian leader announced his plans for an official visit to Paris in 2023, and said his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron “is the incarnation of a new generation that can save the relations between the two countries.”

Tebboune also noted the need to “depoliticize and leave to history certain parts of the colonization,” justifying the decision to set up commissions of historians on both sides.

He also urged France to “decontaminate the nuclear test scenes at Reggane and Tamanrasset (in southern Algeria) and cover medical treatments of the people in those areas.”

Source: Anadolu Agency

UN rights chief calls for coordinated regional approach to protect Rohingya

UN Human Rights chief Volker Turk on Friday called for a coordinated regional approach to protect thousands of Rohingya risking their lives on perilous sea voyages.

“More than 2,400 Rohingya have sought to leave Bangladesh and Myanmar in 2022 alone, and I am deeply saddened that over 200 have reportedly lost their lives on the way,” Turk said in a statement.

“Recent reports indicate that overcrowded and unsafe boats carrying Rohingyas have been left to drift for days on end without any help.”

He urged countries in the region to come up with a coordination mechanism “to ensure proactive search and rescue, the disembarkation of Rohingya refugees on their territories, and their effective protection.”

An urgent solution must be found to enable the voluntary return of all Rohingya, with “full respect of their dignity and human rights as full and equal citizens of Myanmar,” he added.

Bangladesh is currently hosting more than 1.2 million Rohingya, most of whom fled a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine State in 2017.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Spain’s annual consumer inflation at 13-month low

Spain’s annual consumer inflation rate fell to a 13-month low in December, according to provisional data released on Friday.

Consumer prices in December rose 5.8% year-on-year, easing from a 6.8% hike in November, data from the National Statistics Institute showed.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices index climbed 0.3%, after dropping 0.1% in November.

Source: Anadolu Agency