BEIJING -- President Xi Jinping has pointed the way for China, which is at a historic development juncture, by expounding on a wide range of topics at this year's "two sessions," a key political event slated to close on Thursday.
The two sessions are the country's annual meetings of the National People's Congress (NPC) and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, participated in deliberations with national legislators and joined discussions with political advisors at the two sessions.
He took part in deliberations with other lawmakers from Inner Mongolia autonomous region and Qinghai province, and attended a plenary meeting of the delegation of the People's Liberation Army and People's Armed Police Force. He also joined national political advisors from education, medical and health sectors in a joint group meeting.
2021 marks a historic juncture for China as it embarks on a new quest for fully building a modern socialist country. Here are some key takeaways from Xi's speeches at the sessions that may provide insights into China's development trajectory.
Xi has always stressed adopting "a holistic approach" to conserving mountains, rivers, forests, farmlands, lakes and grasslands. This time, he brought "deserts" into the picture.
Top-level design and comprehensive measures are needed to protect the eco-systems in mountains, rivers, forests, farmlands, lakes, grasslands and deserts, said Xi, an NPC deputy himself.
Highlighting the concept of "green GDP," Xi said that maintaining a good ecological environment is of enormous value.
Xi stressed cementing the sense of community for the Chinese nation.
He called for promoting standard spoken and written Chinese language and the use of state-compiled textbooks.
Efforts should be made to facilitate more comprehensive understanding of the Party's policies concerning ethnic groups, especially among young people, Xi said.
People's health as "strategic priority"
Xi has stressed giving "strategic priority" to safeguarding people's health and focusing on tackling major diseases and problems that affect people's health.
The country's public health protection network should be fortified, and efforts should be made to promote the high-quality development of public hospitals, he said, demanding comprehensive health care for the people at all stages of life.
The fight against COVID-19 has once again proved that prevention is the most economical and effective health strategy, Xi said, calling for reforming and improving the disease prevention and control system.
Xi also urged the preservation and development of traditional Chinese medicine and breakthroughs in core technologies in key areas, as well as more protection, care and support for health workers.
Quality basic public education
On education, Xi said China must strive to build a high-quality and balanced basic public education service system.
He emphasized the socialist orientation in running schools, the non-profit nature of education and developing education that people are satisfied with.
Education is essential to the country and the Party, Xi stressed.
He called for efforts to train more talents who can contribute to the country's high-quality development and high-level self-reliance.
Teachers are the central pillar of education, and strengthening the professional ethics of teachers must be a top priority, Xi said.
High-quality development & people's well-being
Xi noted that high-quality development is the general requirement for all aspects of economic and social development.
It will not only be the requirement for developed regions, but will also be the requirement that entails implementation by all regions, Xi said, urging each region to pursue high-quality development based on local conditions.
He urged efforts to integrate high-quality development with action in meeting people's aspiration for a better life.
Xi stressed efforts to strengthen areas of weakness in people's well-being, unfailingly meet the basic living needs of the people and improve the availability and equality of basic public services.
He asked local authorities to promote coordinated development between rural and urban areas, advance rural vitalization on all fronts, improve people's well-being, and build a new socialist countryside that is beautiful, prosperous and harmonious.
Xi stressed achieving a good start in strengthening national defense and the armed forces during the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) period.
Development of the armed forces must focus on combat readiness, he said.
Xi demanded efforts to step up building high-caliber strategic deterrence and joint operation systems.
He called for intensified efforts and more concrete measures in the pursuit of independent innovation in science and technology, to fully leverage the role of science and technology as the strategic support for military development.
Highlighting the "instabilities" and "uncertainties" in China's current security circumstances, Xi said the whole armed forces must always be ready to respond to all kinds of complex and difficult situations, resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security, and development interests, and provide strong support for fully building a modern socialist country.