BEIJING, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- China has entered the Year of the Rooster, the same year in the Chinese zodiac when the Communist Party of China (CPC) was founded in 1921.
The CPC has evolved from a small group with more than 50 members to the world's largest ruling party, with 88 million members -- and with General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Xi Jinping as the core.
The arrival of the lunar new year marks a fresh beginning for the Chinese leadership to lead 1.3 billion people towards the dream of creating an all-round moderately prosperous society by 2020.
Just before Chinese New Year, Xi visited Hebei Province in north China, calling for poverty alleviation and economic reform, both fundamental to building a well-off society.
Xi visited People's Liberation Army troops based in Hebei, and called for a strong military, more reform and the fighting against corruption. He also inspected preparation for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
"The Chinese people have not only great dreams, but also a great spirit to work hard and endure hardship to realize such dreams," Xi said in his Spring Festival greetings to all Chinese people in Beijing on Jan. 26.
As the Spring Festival is the most important holiday in the Chinese calendar, Xi's trip, speeches and policy initiatives all indicate areas of priority for the year ahead.
Xi is tasked with multiple missions: leading the Party and people to fulfill the great dream of revitalizing the Chinese nation; cracking the hard nuts of reform across all sectors; promoting the rule of law; and managing a clean, unified and advanced ruling party.
He is also expected to play a leading role in pushing forward globalization, as the West appears to be in retreat in this regard.
Reform is high on Xi's agenda. Hundreds of measures have been designed and released during the past four years to address issues such as urbanization, innovation and the market's role in resource allocation.
As "the main framework for reform is basically established," implementation will be the focus for the coming years.
Supply-side structural reform, which is called by Xi as a "battle" concerning the overall situation and long-term development, will be continued in 2017. Xi believes it is an "inevitable choice" for developing the Chinese economy.
This includes cutting excess capacity in major sectors such as steel and coal, implementing agricultural reforms, boosting the real economy and nurturing new growth drivers. China will deepen supply-side structural reform in agriculture, according to the first policy statement released by the central authorities this year.
The restructuring of China's economy and the upgrading of industry would generate huge new demand.
Xi has strengthened Party leadership in various sectors and the fight against corruption has gained "crushing momentum," netting both "tigers" and "flies." No let-up is expected in the future.
As part of major political reforms, China will establish a national supervisory commission and create a law on national supervision.
While pushing forward reforms with determination, Xi puts the people at the center of his thinking.
Although 10 million more people were lifted out of poverty in 2016, Xi said that what he cared about most was impoverished people.
He has promised that not a single family living in poverty would be left behind on the country's path to combating poverty.
As Chairman of the Central Military Commission, Xi has set great store on modernizing China's military, including developing a "blue water" navy to better defend the country's growing interests.
He has also launched reforms on structure and formation to make the armed forces smaller, but with better combat capability.
Internationally, Xi has shown the Chinese confidence and his global vision, especially when he attended the World Economic Forum annual meeting at Davos in January, one of the most-watched signposts for the global economic outlook.
While some major economies in the West are turning inward and questioning the open trade that they had long championed, Xi has inspired the world by defending free trade and warning against protectionism.
Xi has also tried to gather greater consensus for building a community of shared future for mankind, and called on the world to unite on everything from tackling climate change to counterterrorism.
Commenting on Xi's speech at Davos, David Rothkopf, editor of the Foreign Policy Group, wrote: "The really important [speeches] capture something special about the zeitgeist, and Xi's did that."
THE CHALLENGES AHEAD
It is a test of the Chinese leadership's wisdom to create a healthy, growing economy. China's GDP growth was 6.7 percent in 2016 -- a three-decade low for the country, but outpacing most other major economies.
Reforms in key areas of state-owned enterprises as well as financial and social security are also needed in good time.
Wide-ranging measures are needed to regulate property market.
The country is battling against pollution that affects the lives of millions. Xi has urged governments at all levels to remember that "clear waters and green mountains are invaluable assets."
Xi will also face a number of foreign policy choices, including a response to Donald Trump's presidency in the United States.
Despite the challenges ahead, Xi has voiced optimism about China's future.
"As long as our 1.3 billion-plus people pull together for a common cause, as long as the Party stands together with the people and we roll up our sleeves to work harder, we will surely succeed in a Long March of our generation," Xi said in his 2017 New Year address.
"Today, in the Xi Jinping era, China is on track to the central stage of the world," said Zhang Weiwei, director of the Institute of China Studies at Fudan University.