BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping defended his COVID-19 policy in his public address on the occasion of the new year, calling it "rational and well-thought-out."
In his first public address on the new year, Xi Jinping did not speak about the government's unpreparedness and the sudden cancellation of the zero-COVID policy that led to a surge in COVID-19 cases in China, Geo-Politik reported.
He said that they have adopted the COVID response following a "science-based and targeted approach."
Xi Jinping said, "Following a science-based and targeted approach, we have adapted our Covid response in light of the evolving situation to protect the life and health of the people to the greatest extent possible," according to Geo-Politik.
Xi stressed that officials and the general public, particularly medical professionals and community workers have "bravely stuck to their posts through it," as per the Geo-Politik report.
He further said, "With extraordinary efforts, we have prevailed over unprecedented difficulties and challenges, and it has not been an easy journey for anyone."
In his speech, Xi Jinping did not speak about people's suffering, their growing anger in the last few weeks, and how the response of the residents forced the government to withdraw the policy.
Notably, China followed a stringent policy to curb the spread of COVID-19, including mass testing, lockdowns, and travel restrictions.
The government withdrew the policy after people held protests across China. Furthermore, the Chinese President said that China has entered a new phase of the COVID response where tough challenges continue to exist.
Xi insisted, "Everyone is holding on with great fortitude, and the light of hope is right in front of us. Let's make an extra effort to pull through, as perseverance and solidarity mean victory," as per the news report.
He did not even mention coronavirus once in his address, including COVID-related death.
Xi Jinping said that China had to face natural disasters, including earthquakes, floods, droughts, and wildfires, and experienced some workplace accidents.
In his address, Xi recalled his tour of some Chinese provinces immediately after the 20th Party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party.
The report said that the Chinese President had not bothered about people's anger against his COVID policy. During his address, he stressed on the importance of building "consensus through communication and consultation."
Addressing the young people of China in his speech, Xi Jinping said, "A nation will prosper only when its young people thrive. For China to develop further, our young people must step forward and take on their responsibilities," as per the Geo-Politik report.
Xi Jinping also spoke about Taiwan in his address. Notably, China claims Taiwan as part of its territory.
He said, "The people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are members of one and the same family. I sincerely hope that our compatriots on both sides of the Strait will work together with a unity of purpose to jointly foster lasting prosperity of the Chinese nation."