Xi hails heroic Party members
General secretary awards July 1 Medals during grand ceremony in Beijing
Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, called upon the whole Party on Tuesday to make persistent efforts to serve the people and forever maintain close ties with the people as he conferred the top honor of the Party on its outstanding members.
In a grand ceremony held at the Great Hall of the People, Xi hailed the 29 recipients of the July 1 Medal, some posthumously, as outstanding representatives of CPC members on all fronts.
They are a vivid example of the noble quality and lofty spirit of CPC members as they firm up their ideals, live up to the Party's fundamental mission, fight with dedication and serve the people with clean conduct, said Xi, who is also China's president and chairman of the Central Military Commission.
This is the first time the medal has been awarded as the CPC is set to celebrate its centenary on Thursday.
In his speech, Xi briefly recalled the Party's history over the past century, during which he said the CPC led the people to blaze a great path, established a great cause, forged a great spirit and accumulated precious experience.
Over the past 100 years, generations of CPC members have worked hard and made selfless contributions in the pursuit of national independence and the liberation of the people, as well as in striving for a prosperous and strong country and the people's well-being, he said.
To maintain staunch faith is to stay true to the Party's original aspiration and dedicate everything, even one's precious life, to the cause of the Party and the people, said Xi.
Xi urged all Party members to regard their faith in Marxism and their belief in socialism with Chinese characteristics as their lifelong pursuit.
He called on all Party members to adhere to a people-centered position and put the people first.
The greater the cause is, the more challenging it is, and the more it requires understanding and shouldering of the responsibility it entails, he said, urging all Party members to maintain high morale, work diligently, tackle challenges and continue the fine traditions of hard work and plain living, and to put the interests of the people above personal interests.
"Communists can only win the hearts of the people by virtue of their strong personality," he said.
Xi noted that the recipients of the July 1 Medal are everyday people who are heroes. They come from the people and are deeply rooted in the people, he said, adding that they are humble, unassuming and dedicated people.
He called on Party members to learn from the deeds and the spirit of the medal recipients.
Through their actions they have proved that every Party member can make accomplishments in the great cause of national rejuvenation as long as they have firm ideals and beliefs, resolute willpower and steadfast perseverance, he added.
"This is a new era that calls for heroes and will surely give rise to heroes. If the Communist Party of China always wants to be the vanguard of the era and the backbone of the nation, its members must be held to the highest standards," Xi said.
He highlighted the need to encourage Party members to always remember the Party's character and fundamental purpose and its original inspirations and mission and to fight without complacency and enduringly.
Zhang Guimei, a recipient of the medal and the founder of a high school that offers free education for girls in a less-developed area in Yunnan province, said at the ceremony that the medal was a great encouragement to her.
"What we did was merely what many CPC members are doing every day, and yet the Party and the people have given us such a great honor," she said, adding that she will continue to devote herself to the cause of education.
Before the award ceremony, Xi and other leaders met recipients of the titles of outstanding Party members, exemplary Party workers and advanced community-level Party organizations from across the country, and had a group photo taken with them.