|China confident of meeting challenges|
President Hu Jintao's New Year address, broadcast on Saturday, which called for "strengthened confidence to accomplish the tasks of 2012", has been widely endorsed as a call for the country to unite and push forward opening-up and reform to build a well-off society in an all-around way.
"We have been encouraged by President Hu's address, said Wang Laihua, head of the public opinion research institute of Tianjin Social Sciences Academy.
"His address summarized the achievements that we have made in the first year of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), which have raised people's expectations for prosperity and happiness," said Wang.
In his speech, Hu said the country will continue to manage inflation expectations and pursue steady economic growth, while making greater efforts to improve people's livelihoods.
According to Zhu Jianfang, chief economist of CITIC Securities, the government's macroeconomic policies effectively controlled property and commodity prices last year, which helped maintain stability and development.
Hu also urged that the transformation of the country's economic development pattern and structural adjustments be accelerated to promote development and people's well-being.
"We are engaged in and are benefiting from the transformation of the economic development pattern, which has lifted us into the top-500 of the world's biggest enterprises," said Zhu Jimin, board chairman of the Shougang Group, one of the country's largest steel companies.
Wu Daofan, head of Bishan County in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, is anticipating continued economic growth for the county and further improvements in residents' welfare.
"Although we have lost some GDP after shutting down polluting plants, the better environment has attracted a great deal of investment," said Wu.
Hu's comments that China will stick to the guidelines of "one country, two systems" and maintain a high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions to promote their long-term prosperity and stability was also warmly welcomed.
"We feel reassured after hearing Hu's speech," said Wen Jun, who has been coming from Hong Kong to Guangzhou for business for 16 years.
Hu's speech also highlighted the international situation and outlined China's independent foreign policy.
China will stick to peace, development and cooperation, and adhere to the principle of mutual benefit, Hu said.
Qin Yaqing, executive vice-president of China Foreign Affairs University, and Feng Zhongping, head of the European studies institute in the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said Hu's remarks reinforced that China is a responsible country that shoulders its global responsibilities.
Peace is in the interests of all nations in the world, and development is the call of the times, the two scholars said.