Xi Praises China’s Progress During Pandemic in New Year’s Speech | Business and economic news

Chinese President Xi Jinping praised his country’s progress in eradicating rural poverty, even during a difficult economic year.

China has made considerable progress in developing its economy and eradicating rural poverty over the past year despite the coronavirus pandemic, Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a New Year speech on Thursday.

China was the first major economy to post positive economic growth in 2020, with its gross domestic product (GDP) set to exceed 100 trillion yuan (nearly $ 14 trillion) for the year, Xi told national television. , speaking from behind his desk in his wood-paneled office.

The International Monetary Fund predicted in October that China, the world’s second-largest economy, would grow by 1.9% in 2020, a marked slowdown from its 6.1% gain in 2019, then grow by 8.2% in 2021. .

This compares to the IMF’s forecast of a global economic contraction of 4.4% for 2020, the worst fall since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

China has largely halted domestic transmission of the coronavirus, but Xi’s speech came as the government orders additional measures to prevent a resurgence in the coming months.

China is encouraging tens of millions of migrant workers not to return home during the February Lunar New Year holidays to prevent further spread of the coronavirus, disrupting the most important family gathering of the year. Schools nationwide are also expected to start the Lunar New Year holidays a week in advance, and tourists have been urged not to visit the capital Beijing during the holidays.

Xi called for increased international cooperation in tackling the virus, which is believed to have emerged from central China’s Wuhan city in late 2019.

“People around the world should make joint efforts to drive away the dark clouds of the COVID-19 pandemic at an early date and make planet Earth a better home for all mankind,” Xi said.

Xi also praised the progress made in lifting nearly 100 million rural Chinese out of poverty over the past eight years and “fully building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.”

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