BEIJING, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- China held a grand gathering Tuesday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the country's reform and opening-up, a great revolution that has changed the destiny of the Chinese nation and influenced the world.
Addressing the meeting, President Xi Jinping described the reform and opening-up as "a great reawakening" of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
"Chinese Communists accomplished the most profound and the greatest social transformation in China's history and created the fundamental political conditions and the institutional foundation for all development and progress in China today," said Xi, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission.
Premier Li Keqiang presided over the meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
The celebration started with all participants rising to sing the national anthem.
Wang Huning, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, read a decision to award personnel for their outstanding contributions to the reform and opening-up.
The award recipients were 100 Chinese and 10 foreigners. Chinese leaders presented the medals to those who were present at Tuesday's event.
Describing the reform and opening-up as "a great revolution in the history of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation," Xi said a quantum leap has been made in the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Xi hailed the birth of the CPC, the founding of the People's Republic of China, and the pursuit of reform and opening-up and socialism with Chinese characteristics as "the three milestones" on the way toward national rejuvenation in modern times.
"What we have achieved in the past 40 years was not a windfall, nor was it given in charity by others. It comes from the hard work, wisdom and courage of all members of the Party and the people of all ethnic groups in China," Xi said.
In 40 years, China lifted 740 million people out of poverty. China has built the world's largest social security system, with the basic old-age pension covering more than 900 million people and medical insurance covering over 1.3 billion people.
China's share of global gross domestic product rose from 1.8 percent to 15.2 percent, generating more than 30 percent of global growth for years.
"The great spirit of reform and opening-up ... has significantly enriched our national character and become the most prominent hallmark of the Chinese people in the modern day," Xi said.
Dawn Nakagawa, executive vice president of the Los Angeles-based Berggruen Institute, said China's reform and opening-up is an amazing course to celebrate and a miracle.
"The reform and opening-up has made great contributions to turning China into a powerful country," said Yohei Kono, president of the Japanese Association for the Promotion of International Trade.
Xi said that the past 40 years eloquently prove the correctness of the path, theory, system and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics, noting the reform and opening-up is a game-changing move not only in making China what it is today, but also for the Chinese people to achieve the country's two centenary goals and its great national rejuvenation.
Tu Xinquan, a professor at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, said the most important reason behind China's economic and social marvels is the strong leadership of the CPC.
On the way forward, Xi said the country must see the CPC exercises leadership over all work, as the leadership of the CPC is the most essential attribute of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the greatest strength of this system.
Xi also emphasized the need to adhere to the people-oriented approach to keep delivering on the aspirations of the people for a better life.
Chinese Communists are duty-bound to develop Marxism in the 21st century and adapt it to the Chinese context, he said.
"There is no textbook of golden rules to follow for reform and development in China, a country with over 5,000 years of civilization and more than 1.3 billion people," he said. "No one is in a position to dictate to the Chinese people what should or should not be done."
Xi stressed that the decisive role of the market in resource allocation should be put into full play while the role of the government will be better leveraged, and the vitality of various market entities will be stimulated.
He said China has stayed committed to the fundamental national policy of opening-up, noting China cannot develop itself in isolation from the world, and the world needs China for global prosperity.
"A major country like China cannot afford any disruptive mistake on fundamental issues," Xi said when elaborating on the need to strike a balance between reform, development and stability.
"We must show full tenacity and persistence to see all major reform measures through," Xi said.
By staying committed to advancing reform and opening-up and seeing that Chinese people realize their aspirations for a better life, Xi said that new and even greater wonders of the Chinese nation would be made in the new era.
"We will create new and even greater wonders that will truly impress the world," he said.