What does the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation mean for China?

"The Chinese dream is as much the dream of every Chinese as it is the dream of the whole nation. It is not an illusion, nor is it an empty slogan." These were the words Chinese President Xi Jinping said back in 2015, emphasizing the substance of the dream and laying the groundwork for the Communist Party of China (CPC) to achieve great things for China.

Deeply rooted in the hearts of the Chinese people, the Chinese Dream is to be approached from two angles: history and reality, he explained.

The deep sufferings China went through since modern times did not stop its people from struggling tenaciously for a better future or giving up the longing for their cherished dream, Xi said, adding that one can only understand today's China through the prism of how these sufferings impacted the Chinese minds.

This is why the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is regarded as the nation's greatest dream.

The past decade was a defining moment for China. Xi, who proposed promoting national rejuvenation through a Chinese path to modernization, has placed issues concerning Chinese people's well-being in a prominent position.

"This is a new historic juncture in China's development," he said. "It will be an era for the Chinese people of all ethnic groups to work together and work hard to create a better life for themselves and ultimately achieve common prosperity for everyone."

The most fruitful of the efforts to improve people's lives is China's final victory in eradicating absolute poverty.

On China's southwestern frontier, a small county called Lancang was once a barren, desolate land blighted by extreme poverty, with local residents barely living hand-to-mouth. But the nationwide poverty alleviation campaign has turned it into a money-generating base, producing prolific harvests of potatoes that profoundly changed the locals' lives.

The story of Lancang not only exemplifies the countless poor townships and counties that have emerged victorious in the fight against poverty but also serves as a microcosm of how a Chinese path to modernization is crystallized.

In the eight years before China declared its victory in eliminating extreme poverty in 2021, a total of 832 impoverished counties and close to 100 million poor rural residents had been lifted out of poverty, and among them, more than 9.6 million poverty-stricken people had been relocated from inhospitable areas.

In his report to the 20th National Congress of CPC, Xi said the Chinese people have "achieved moderate prosperity, the millennia-old dream of the Chinese nation, through persistent hard work."

In the past decade, China's GDP has grown from 54 trillion yuan ($7.53 trillion) to 114 trillion yuan to account for 18.5 percent of the world economy, up 7.2 percentage points. The country has remained the world's second largest economy, and its per capita GDP has risen from 39,800 yuan to 81,000 yuan.

China also ranks first in the world in terms of grain output and has ensured food and energy security for its more than 1.4 billion people. The number of permanent urban residents has grown by 11.6 percentage points to account for 64.7 percent of the population. It has built the world's largest networks of high-speed railways and expressways and made major achievements in building airports, ports, water conservancy, energy, information and other infrastructure.

Yet despite the numerous breakthroughs that have marked a bright start for the path to national rejuvenation, the principal contradiction facing today's China has been identified as that between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life, and Xi has vowed to make closing this gap the focus of all CPC initiatives.

"We will build a broad united front to forge great unity and solidarity, and we will encourage all the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation to dedicate themselves to realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation," Xi said in his report to the 20th National Congress of the CPC.

(Cover: the letters "the Chinese Dream" can be seen on the grass next to a high-speed rail in Hangzhou, China, April 7, 2022. /CFP)

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