Always Put the People First

Xi Jinping: The Governance of China III Updated: 2021-12-29

Always Put the People First* 

March 20, 2018 

I was elected at this session to continue to serve as the president of the People's Republic of China. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude for the trust placed in me by all the deputies and Chinese people of all ethnic groups. 

It is a glorious mission and a weighty responsibility to take on this great position of the president of the People's Republic of China. I will, as always, faithfully fulfill the responsibilities prescribed by the Constitution, be loyal to the country and the people, perform my duties scrupulously, do my best, be diligent at work, and remain devoted and dedicated. I will continue to act as a servant of the people and accept scrutiny by the people, and will never in any way betray their great trust.

Any member of any state organ, no matter how high a position one holds, should keep firmly in mind that our republic is the People's Republic of China, and that we must always put the people first, always serve the people wholeheartedly, and always work hard for the people's interests and happiness.

The people are the creators of history. The people are the true heroes. The magnificent history of the Chinese nation has been written by the Chinese people. The extensive and profound Chinese civilization has been created by the Chinese people. The spirit of the Chinese nation, kept fresh and alive throughout history, has been cultivated by the Chinese people. The endeavor of the Chinese people has led to a tremendous transformation of the Chinese nation: It has stood up, become better off and grown in strength.

The character and endowment of the Chinese people have fostered the Chinese civilization over thousands of years. They have also exerted a far-reaching influence on the development of China and on the ethos of today's Chinese. The great national spirit, fostered, passed down, and developed by the Chinese people during their long struggle, has provided a strong impetus for the betterment of China and humanity.

– The Chinese people are highly creative. Throughout thousands of years of history, they have always been ready to labor, to innovate, and to create with diligence.

Our country has been the birthplace of world-renowned thinkers such as Lao Zi, Confucius, Zhuang Zi, Mencius, Mo Zi, Sun Zi and Han Fei Zi.1 The Chinese people's great scientific achievements such as papermaking, gunpowder, printing, and the compass have profoundly influenced the progress of human civilization. We created such great literary works as the Book of Songs, Songs of Chu, fu poetry of the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220), poetry of the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) dynasties, operas of the Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368) and the novels of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1616-1911) dynasties. We have passed down the powerful epics – King GesarManas and Jangar.2 We have built mighty projects – the Great Wall, the Dujiangyan flood control and irrigation system, the Grand Canal, the Forbidden City, and the Potala Palace.

Today, the creativity of the Chinese people is being unleashed to an extent never seen before, which is enabling our country to develop rapidly and stride forward at the forefront of the world. I am confident that as long as 1.3 billion Chinese people continue to demonstrate such great creativity, we will continue to create more miracles.

– The Chinese people are people with a great spirit of endeavor. Over thousands of years, they have been able to discard the outdated and bring in the new. Our pursuit of progress has never paused. We have developed and built an immense and beautiful country, and explored vast expanses of territorial seas. We have opened up extensive and productive farmland, harnessed numerous turbulent rivers, and overcome countless natural disasters. We have built towns and villages dotted all over the country and developed a complete range of industries. Our lives are varied and colorful.

The Chinese people have been well aware since ancient times that we cannot sit idle and enjoy the fruits of others' work, and that happiness can only be achieved through great endeavor. What the Chinese people have achieved stems from ingenuity and expertise, hard work, and enormous sacrifice. I believe, as long as all the Chinese people uphold this mighty spirit of endeavor, we will fulfill the great goal of creating a better life.

– The Chinese people are people with a great spirit of unity. Over thousands of years, they have remained united and stuck together through thick and thin. We have built a united multiethnic country, and developed harmonious relationships between 56 diverse but closely interwoven ethnic groups; we have formed one great Chinese family where all care for and help each other. Especially in modern times, confronted by aggressive and pitiless foreign occupation, all ethnic groups have joined to create a magnificent epic of defending the Chinese nation against external aggression. They have stood shoulder to shoulder and fought heroically and relentlessly, defeating every malicious invader and safeguarding national independence and freedom.

China today, with all ethnic groups striving with one heart, has achieved extraordinary successes. The Chinese people have learned from our own experiences that only when we are united can we be strong and march forward. A divided country will not prosper. I believe as long as all the Chinese people uphold the spirit of unity, we will forge an unstoppable and invincible force.

– The Chinese people are people with a great spirit of dreams. Over a history of thousands of years, they have held fast to their dreams and persevered in pursuing their goals. We have formed the ideal of living in prosperity, but also aspiring for the common good.

Ancient Chinese mythologies, such as Pangu creating the world, Nüwa patching up the sky, Fuxi drawing the eight diagrams, Shennong testing herbs, Kuafu chasing the sun, Jingwei filling up the sea, and Yugong removing mountains, reflect our determination in dauntlessly pursuing and realizing dreams. It is our firm belief that no matter how high a mountain is, if we keep climbing, we will reach the top; no matter how long a road is, if we keep walking, we will reach the destination.

Since the modern era began, to realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation has become the greatest dream of the Chinese nation. Chinese people never yield to reverses, and they stand firm and indomitable. With the spirit of fighting the enemy to the end, the resolve of recovering the lost on the basis of self-reliance, and the ability to stand firm among the community of nations, the Chinese people have made continuous efforts for more than 170 years to fulfill their great dreams.

Today, more than ever before, we are closer to, more confident of, and more capable of making the goal of national rejuvenation a reality. I believe that as long as all the Chinese people keep carrying forward this spirit of dreams, we can and will realize the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

Comrades, such a great people, a great nation and great national spirit give us the pride and the strength to remain confident in the path, theory, system and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and the force to go forward in spite of all difficulties.

China is a socialist country of people's democratic dictatorship under the leadership of the working class based on an alliance of workers and farmers. It is a country where all power of the state belongs to the people. We must base our efforts on the interests of the people, ensure the principal status of the people, humbly learn from the people, listen to their voices, and draw on their wisdom. We must ensure that the basic criterion of our work is whether we have the people's support, acceptance, satisfaction and approval. We must focus our efforts on addressing the most pressing, immediate issues that concern the people the most. We must also ensure that all Chinese people share the happiness and pride stemming from the historic course of national rejuvenation.

* Part of the speech at the First Session of the 13th National People's Congress.


1 Lao Zi (dates unknown), also known as Lao Dan or Li Er, was a philosopher and the founder of Taoism in the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC). 

Confucius (551-479 BC), also known as Kong Qiu or Zhongni, was a philosopher, educator, and statesman in the Spring and Autumn Period. He was the founder of Confucianism. 

Zhuang Zi (369-286 BC), also known as Zhuang Zhou, was a Taoist philosopher in the Warring States Period. Mencius (c. 372-289 BC), also known as Meng Ke or Ziyu, was a philosopher, thinker and educator in the Warring States Period. 

Mo Zi (c. 468-376 BC), also known as Mo Di, was a philosopher, thinker and statesman in the Warring States Period. He was the founder of the Mohist school. 

Sun Zi (dates unknown), also known as Sun Wu or Changqing, was a military strategist in the late Spring and Autumn Period. 

Han Fei Zi (c. 280-233 BC) was a leading exponent of the Legalist school in the Warring State Period. 

2 King Gesar is an epic of the Tibetan people. Manas is an epic of the Kirgiz people. Jangar is an epic of the Mongols.

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