China has made major progress in developing its economy and eradicating rural poverty over the past year despite the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a New Year address Thursday.
China was the first major economy to register positive economic growth in 2020, with its gross domestic product expected to exceed 100 trillion yuan (almost $14 trillion) for the year, Xi said on nationwide television, speaking from behind his desk in his wood-paneled office.
The International Monetary Fund forecast in October that China, the world’s second-largest economy, would grow 1.9 percent in 2020, a sharp slowdown from its 6.1-percent gain in 2019, and then expand 8.2 percent in 2021.
That compares with an International Monetary Fund forecast for a global economic contraction of 4.4 percent for 2020, the worst plunge since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
China has largely ended domestic transmission of the coronavirus, but Xi’s speech came as the government is ordering additional measures to prevent a resurgence over coming months.
Xi also called for increased international cooperation in fighting the virus, which is believed to have emerged from the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.
“People across the world should make joint efforts to drive away the dark clouds of the Covid-19 pandemic at an early date and build the planet Earth into a better home for all humanity,” Xi said. SOVEREIGNPH