China no longer 'catching up with the times,' but 'leading the times' in modernization drive

There will be difficulties along the way, but battling them will strengthen the nation's faith in its dream, and deliver whatever goals the nation wishes to achieve.

China is embracing the Year of the Dog, but this particular year is known as a Wuxu year, which only comes every 60 years.

One such Wuxu year was in 1898, two cycles ago, when the emperor and his supporters tried to reform the weak feudal system of the Qing Dynasty whose weakness was exposed in a series of defeats to the West and Japan.

The reform lasted only 103 days, and the Chinese failed in catching up major countries that were making great leaps forward in modernization.

Despite the tries of every possible means to seek salvation, the nation suffered from decades of turmoil and civil war until the People's Republic of China was established in 1949 under the leadership of the Communist Party of China.

The Party dragged the country out of its war-torn economy, started a socialist revolution, established socialism as China's basic system, and advanced socialism. The past decades have seen the broadest and most profound social transformation in China's history, reversing its fate from its decline in modern times, and putting it on a steady track toward prosperity and strength.

Forty years ago, China launched the reform and opening up, removing ideological and institutional barriers to the nation's development, and embarking on the path of "socialism with Chinese characteristics." In 1982, China adopted its current Constitution, which has shown that good legislation meets the demand of the times.

In 1994, the country started to build a socialist market economy, which boosted China to a fast and steady track of development. Both years were the Year of Dog.

Now, China is marching toward the goal of building a moderately prosperous society by 2020 and embarking on a new journey to become a modern socialist country by the middle of this century. It is also playing an increasingly important role in safeguarding world peace, promoting economic globalization and improving global governance.

The country is no longer "catching up with the times," but "leading the times."

China has shown that to achieve national rejuvenation, it is imperative to follow the times, respond to the people and have courage to reform and open up. Establishing a system that suits the country's circumstances is essential.

As the Chinese saying goes, the last leg of a journey marks the halfway point. Achieving national rejuvenation will be no walk in the park. It needs everyone of the nation to work even harder to achieve this goal.

China's per capita GDP is still standing at the middle of the world rankings. About 30 million people are still living below the national poverty line. The country is also tasked with defusing major risks and controlling pollution. Upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics will take generations, perhaps dozens of generations, of hard work.

China must grasp the historic opportunity to develop in science, technology and industry, as well as to provide wisdom and solutions to problems throughout the world.

There will be difficulties along the way, but battling them will strengthen the nation's faith in its dream, and deliver whatever goals the nation wishes to achieve.

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