On the eve of the Chinese lunar new year, President Jiang Zemin extended greetings to the Chinese people of various ethnic groups including the compatriots in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, as well as all overseas Chinese throughout the world.
Jiang expressed his good wishes to all those people for the traditional Spring Festival during a gathering at the Great Hall of the People held by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council.
Spring Festival is the most important holiday for Chinese, and the national leaders get together almost every year to celebrate the event. Jiang, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, said, "On behalf of the CPC Central Committee and State Council, I extend a warm Spring Festival greetings and good wishes to all Chinese people of various ethnic groups, as well as all the workers, farmers, intellectuals, officials, officers and men of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, armed police and public security bureaus."
Jiang extended festival greetings to compatriots in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Macao Special Administrative Region and Taiwan, and all the overseas Chinese across the world. He also expressed his gratitude to all foreign friends who have helped promote China's modernization drive.
Other national leaders, including Li Peng, Zhu Rongji, Li Ruihuan, Hu Jintao, Wei Jianxing and Li Lanqing, also attended get-together. Premier Zhu Rongji said in the year 2001, the government would continue to adhere to the policy of expanding domestic demand and maintain the positive trend of economic development. China would spare no efforts to build a clean and honest government through fighting against corruption, promote cultural and ethic progress, advance the construction of a democratic legal system, and safeguard social stability and national security, he said.
Zhu reiterated the government's determination to resolve the Taiwan issue as soon as possible. "It is a common wish of all the Chinese people to realize the reunification of Taiwan and the motherland," he said. "We will continue to resolutely prevent any separatist attempt and promote cross-Straits dialogue on the basis of one China," he stressed, adding that "we will strive to expand the economic, cultural and personnel contacts across the Straits, and do everything possible to realize the complete reunification of the motherland." China will continue to work to develop the cross-Straits relations in line with the principles of peaceful reunification, ' one country, two systems' and the eight-point proposition put forward by President Jiang Zemin on the Taiwan issue, he noted.
Zhu also pointed out that the central government would continue to support the governments of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Macao Special Administrative Region in their governance according to law and promote long-term prosperity and stability in the two regions. China would also continue to adhere to the independent foreign policy of peace, Zhu said.
More than 4,000 people attended yesterday's gathering, including Party, government and military leaders, as well as veterans, leaders of non-communist parties, members of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, representatives of ethnic minority groups, Chinese and foreign experts, and scholars and representatives from all walks of life.