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Happiness Is the Fruit of Hard Work—Why is life improving for the Chinese people?

Source: Understanding China: 70 Years of Progress and Development Updated: 2020-08-13

The Chinese word "Jianguo", meaning the "founding of the new republic", is a phrase that captures too well patriotic emotions and the footprints of an era. Thousands of children born in that era had "Jianguo" in their names. Since 2019, many projects have sprung up around the nation looking for people with the name Jianguo, people who are turning 70 with the Republic, and interviewing them about the changes that have occurred in their lives over the past seven decades. The countless tales of Jianguo, like countless drops of water, reflect the vibrancy of life and hard work, trickling into small streams that ultimately flow into the roaring ocean that is China.

"To meet our people's desire for a happy life is our mission" — this is the solemn promise the Communist Party of China has given to its people. For the diligent Chinese people, a better and happy life certainly comes from hard work. Over the past 70 years, with the CPC in the lead and the dedication of the people, we are on track to national renewal and becoming a strong and prosperous nation. We have won our people the opportunity to shine and create their own wholesome living.


A nation's name is, oftentimes, the embodiment of a nation's essence. On the eve of the founding of New China in 1949, many options were proposed and considered for the official name of the new republic. "The Chinese Soviet Socialist Republic", "The Chinese Republic", "The People's Democratic Republic of China" were among the many names proposed. The final name, "The People's Republic of China", was determined after careful deliberation. With the word "people" permanently carved in the name, it has been demonstrated that this is a new republic of the people, a fundamental political position confirmed from the very beginning of the republic.


"Let us make the last bowl of rice, ration for our army; the last inch of cloth, uniforms for our army; our last sons, soldiers for our army." This song vividly displays the deep connections between our people and the CPC and the people's army. Pictured here is a man sending off his son to the Eighth Route Army during the war against Japanese aggression. 

The people are the true creators of the Republic. The CPC and the army come from the people and continue to draw strength from them. It was the assistance and support from the people that gave the army and the CPC the confidence to fight and win the wars. People often say that the sparks of revolution that started at Jinggangshan in 1927 only burned into a great fire with the support and protection of the people in the revolutionary areas; that the revolutionary power of Yan'an survived and flourished during the period from 1935 to 1947 because of the people of north Shanxi who produced millets that ensured food supply; and the Huaihai Military Campaign from November 1948 to January 1949 was won because of the tens of thousands people who transported supplies to the frontlines on their wheelbarrows. The people are the true heroes and the writers of history. Without the people, we could have never seen success in our revolution, much less the birth of New China.

The people are the great builders of the Republic, and they are the main force behind the progress in history and society. The achievements of New China were made possible by the hard-working Chinese people. The sturdy structure of the Republic was built by the Chinese people, brick by brick, tile by tile. Over the past 70 years, under the leadership of the CPC, the Chinese people have made enormous contribution to the nation's progress and development as they built up the capability for self-reliance and worked relentlessly overcoming countless challenges and obstacles. In the Republic's history, we see the dignity that is the stance of the Chinese people, the diligence that is the sweat of the Chinese people, and the pursuit of national rejuvenation that is the drive of the Chinese people.

The times set the test; CPC members take the test and the people grade the papers. Since the founding of the PRC, the CPC has always made the support, approval, agreement, and satisfaction of the people the fundamental standards and value of everything it does. We strive to answer each and every demand of our people so that the Party and all national affairs are consistent representations of the will of the people, and that we can answer to the test of reality, the people, and history. Over the past 70 years, the Republic has been advancing in the right direction precisely because we have made the will of the people our golden standard and maintained the belief that "our hearts are of and with the people".


The "big four possessions" — to the Chinese people, is a phrase that brings back a lot of memories. Between the 1950s and the 1970s, bicycles, sewing machines, wristwatches, and radios were the most desired objects of every household, once described as the "big four possessions". In the 1980s and 1990s, there were four household appliances: a color TV, a refrigerator, a washing machine, and a tape recorder that became the standard big-ticket items for a better-off family. Over the past two decades, as living standards improved drastically and many appliances found their way into average households, the "big four possessions" have lost their attraction and become a source of memory for days past.



Transformation of the "Big Four Possessions"

Over the past 70 years, life has been improving day by day for the Chinese people. Long gone are the days of scarcity. China has made big leaps in development as it moved from poverty to subsistence then to overall moderate prosperity. Behind this great success are countless stories of life-changing experiences. People are indeed happy and fortunate to have lived through the time of great changes.

Income is an important indicator of living standards. Over the past 70 years, the income of the Chinese people has grown quickly, and as their pockets fill up, their backs straighten as the burdens of life are lifted. It is not just the income that is growing — the wealth gap is also gradually shrinking. According to numbers from the National Bureau of Statistics, China reached the peak on the Gini coefficient at 0.491 in 2008, and has been, in general, improving on the indicator ever since. Today, those who are better-off continue to work together with the rest of the population toward the goal of common prosperity for all.

Consumption structure is continuously upgraded. Chinese today are no longer simply satisfying their basic needs of survival, but are in pursuit of a better life. Gone are imitated, homogeneous, and singular consumer products, replaced instead by a transition to individual, differentiated, and diverse demands. The consumption structure has continued to upgrade, from survival mode to development mode, and onto great satisfaction mode. More and more people are choosing to spend their money on a heartfelt concert, or an interesting course, or a workout session in the gym; "living for gourmet and good scenery", "read or travel — the soul and the body must be on the road" — these have become the consumption principles of the new generation of youth.

Welfare is continuously improved. "Great are the heavens and earth, but none is greater than the people". Tackling the challenges in welfare and making up for what's lacking is a major task that is closely connected to the happiness and wellbeing of the people, a major concern and responsibility of the CPC and the government. These years, as the nation becomes richer, we have been able to put more money into improving the livelihoods of the people. We have implemented beneficial policies and launched welfare programs to resolve livelihood issues and work toward the goal for all people to have access to childcare, education, employment, medical care, pension, housing and assistance for poverty elimination.




Meat coupons, grain coupons, cloth coupons

Basic living standards are guaranteed. No one will be left behind on the path to prosperity; the underprivileged will not be looked over as China prospers. With the principle of ensuring basic living standards for all who are unable to work, we strive to ensure the livelihoods of the elderly, the handicapped, the critically ill, children from families in financial difficulties and other underprivileged groups by creating for them a safety net of welfare. We have lifted over 700 million rural population from poverty, cutting the poverty rate to 1.7 percent. Over the past six years, there are, on average, 30 people being lifted from poverty every minute.

Seventy years of progress and development covering over 9.6 million square kilometers have brought enormous changes to every corner of the land. In this great symphony of time, the most lively, most vivid, and most touching movement is that of the happiness of the billions of Chinese people.

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