From December 7 to 11, 2012, Xi went to Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan and Guangzhou in southern Guangdong Province for field investigations, dubbed the "new southern tour," signaling a continuation of the great course of China's opening up and reform started by former leader Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970s.
Prior to Xi's tour, during a meeting on November 21, 2012, Vice Premier Li Keqiang, who is expected take over the premiership next month, said that opening up and reform is the biggest dividend of China's development, in addition to being warmly welcomed by the public. The moves of the new-generation leaders demonstrate clearly they will waste no time knocking down barriers and deepening the reforms in important areas with greater political courage and wisdom.
Within China, the public has keenly caught on to the political signals by top-level officialdom and echoed it with action. Now, a new environment for reform with the positive interaction between the public and high-level officials is taking unprecedented shape. Many greedy officials have been ousted by an online anti-corruption campaign launched by the public.
Xi said openly that the Party should remain tough on corruption and crack down on malfeasance by both low- and high-ranking officials. In the meantime, Xi ordered enhanced restraint and supervision on the use of power. Power should be limited within the cage of regulations, Xi said.
A discussion about the direction of China's reform is underway nationwide, which will help to reach consensus on promoting the steady progress of the reform. The discussion has underlined the importance of political restructuring and drawn an outline for improving the style of the leadership and the ruling mode of the Party, assuring effective governance of the country under the leadership of the Party and safeguarding the rights and freedom people enjoy according to law.
In the new decade, China will abandon the "GDP first" principle and pay more attention to people's livelihood. A more comprehensive, balanced and sustainable development pattern will reconsolidate Chinese society and stimulate the development vitality and innovation capacity of China, setting a new path for China's development and reform.
Commitment to peace
At a group study session held on January 28 with members of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau, Xi said that China will remain on a path of peaceful development and explained how to pursue that path. Xi stressed first and foremost that China should run its own affairs efficiently and rely on its own strengths. Xi also said that the country will never surrender its legitimate rights or sacrifice its core national interests.
"No country should presume that China will engage in trade involving our core interests or swallow the 'bitter fruit' of harming our sovereignty, security or development interests," he added.
China's core interests are both multifaceted and wide-ranging. Raising and defining explicitly the conception of China's core interests is one of the major achievements in the theory and practice of Chinese diplomacy. A whitepaper entitled China's Peaceful Development released by the Chinese Government in September 2011 said that China is firm in upholding its core interests: state sovereignty, national security, territorial integrity and national reunification, China's political system established by the Constitution and overall social stability, and the basic safeguards for ensuring sustainable economic and social development.