Residents in Beijing watch newly-elected premier Li Keqiang answer questions raised by Chinese and overseas media on an outdoor TV screen. The first session of the 12th National People's Congress closed Sunday, Li met the press for the first time as the nation's premier, vowing to push forward reforms despite obstacles. Photo: CFP
Newly elected Chinese president Xi Jinping on Sunday underlined the importance of sharing the "Chinese dream" with everyone in the country during the closing ceremony of the first session of the 12th National People's Congress, following the installation of the new leadership.
Observers hailed the rarely-mentioned realization of the "Chinese dream" as a sign that the new leaders would stress individual pursuits and the sharing of reform dividends with the nation.
During his keynote speech delivered to the country's top legislature, Xi said the Chinese dream "is a dream of the whole nation, as well as of every individual," noting that all Chinese deserve "common opportunities to enjoy a wonderful life."
To realize this dream, China must adhere to socialism with Chinese characteristics while fostering the "Chinese spirit" and uniting the people as a form of "Chinese strength," said Xi, who was elected president on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Premier Li Keqiang also pledged to deepen comprehensive reforms and allow all the people in the country to share in the dividends of reforms.
"It's very rare to see that Chinese top officials say that the public should enjoy an equal opportunity to shine in society, which is common in speeches made by Western politicians," said Liu Renwen, a researcher with the Institute of Law under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Liu told the Global Times that the speeches encourage Chinese people to pursue happiness and ensure the possibility of success as long as efforts are made.
"In the face of the mighty trends of the times and earnest expectations of the people for a better life, we cannot have the slightest complacency," Xi said.
"Under the former ideals and education we encouraged people to sacrifice for collective interests and the greater good, but now it encourages personal achievements, which signals improvements in our society and demonstrates the public's expectation of sharing in the dividends of reforms," Liu added.
The concept of realizing the Chinese dream has become a key theme since the 18th Party congress in November 2012, and its popularity continued during the just-concluded annual two sessions.
After three decades of rapid economic growth, the world's most populous country has now become the second largest economy. However, "people's happiness is not only measured by their incomes, but also the possibility for them to pursue a dignified life," Wu Zongmin, a professor with the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, was quoted by the Xinuha News Agency as saying.
But to achieve this goal, both governments and analysts have agreed that reforms should be put in a crucial position.
"There is great space for further unleashing productivity through reform and there is great potential to make sure the benefits of reforms reach the entire population," said Li as he met the press for the first time as China's premier.
At his debut, Li responded to a series of questions involving general administrative goals, his personal feelings as a top leader and questions on specific topics such as urbanization, the reeducation through labor system, cross-Strait relations and international relations.
When asked about a detailed timetable to reform the controversial reeducation through labor system, which has been severely criticized by the public after abuse by the authorities, Li promised that a reform plan will be released this year.
The government will welcome public supervision of government expenditure and revenue, which improve the structure of government spending and tilt spending in favor of areas that will have a direct benefit for people's lives, Li said.
Zhou Xiaozheng, a professor of sociology at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times that the premier's responses are "clear and accurate" with detailed information, which could be seen as a demonstration of the government's determination to change its administrative style.
Liu echoed Zhou and said that the new government is even more personalized with less empty talk.
Li acknowledged the difficulty in advancing reform as the nation has to shake up vested interests, which he said may be more difficult than "touching the soul."
But his determination remains even though he has to lead the government through uncharted waters, saying that "talking the talk is not as good as walking the walk."
"The mission for the new government is still tough. The gap between the rich and the poor is still huge," Zhou said, adding that he is cautiously optimistic about the new leaders because what they say shows improvement but what they will do to implement these policies is more important.
Bai Tiantian and Xinhua contributed to this story