Chinese President Hu Jintao on Saturday in Golmud attended a launching ceremony of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the first ever rail link to the "roof of the world", Saturday.
The grand ceremony was held this morning in Golmud, a start-off point of the landmark railway in northwest China's Qinghai Province, to mark the railway's opening to traffic.
Hu, who also General Secretary of Chinese Communist Party (CPC) Central Committee and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, delivered a keynote speech at the gala held at the Golmud Railway Station, which was decorated with blossoming flowers and fluttering colorful flags.
Hu said that the opening to traffic of the Qinghai-Tibet railway is another magnificent accomplishment we have achieved in our socialist modernization drive. Construction of the Qinghai- Tibet railroad is a long-cherished dream of generations of the Chinese people.
The President then cut the ribbon for the launching of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. After his speech, a train carrying officials and model workers on the project set out from Golmud for Lhasa where it was due to arrive on Saturday night. Another train set out from Lhasa.
"The project is not only a magnificent feat in China's history of railway construction, but also a great miracle of the world's railroad history," according to the president.
Hu said this successful practice has made it clear again to the people at large that diligent and intelligent Chinese people are ambitious, self-confident and capable of continuously making extraordinary achievements, and they are ambitious, self-confident and capable of standing amongst the world's advanced nations.
The feat of completion will be recorded forever into the history of the People's Republic of China, he added.
Hu said the construction of the Qinghai-Tibet railway has brought forth four enlightments.
Firstly, we must stick to development, which is the top imperative task for our Party to govern and rejuvenate our country, so as to continuously enhance the country's overall strength.
Secondly, we must rev up scientific and technological progress so as to greatly improve our capability of innovation.
Thirdly, we must bring into full play the political advantage of the socialist institution, so as to realize a situation that the entire nation is united to jointly accomplish feats.
Fourthly, we must carry forward the spirit of arduous struggle and unceasingly strife in order to dauntlessly create historic feats.
President Hu required railway authorities to do a good job in management and use of the Qinghai-Tibet railroad and to establish awareness of the principles of putting the people first and of safe development.
He said that labor security for railway workers and physical health of passengers should be ensured. He emphasized the extremely importance of environmental protection of the Qinghai- Tibet Plateau.
Hu noted railway workers and passengers traveling on the Qinghai-Tibet railway should consciously treasure waters and mountains as well as grass and woods on the Plateau, and they should help conserve the eco system and environment along the railway.
According to Hu, launching of the Qinghai-Tibet railway will provide a historic opportunity for the economic and social development in Qinghai Province and Tibet Autonomous Region.
The two should take the wonderful opportunity to carry out the conception of scientific development, design industrial distribution in a scientific way, optimize the distribution of resources and push forward the economic restructuring, so as to speed up the formation of economic patterns with regional advantages and ethnic characteristics.
Hu said that efforts should be made to explore in a scientific manner the tourism resources along the railway, to create tourist brands with the plateau characteristics and to rev the development of local tourism industry.
Upon the operation of the railroad, endeavors should be exerted to develop advantageous resources and provide more jobs to help increase income of local peasant farmers and herdsmen and improve the living standards of various ethnic groups along the transport line, according to Hu.
He required related governmental departments to team up with railway authorities and the governments of Qinghai and Tibet to gradually build the areas along the Qinghai-Tibet railroad into booming economies with social harmony and beautiful environment.
Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan presided over the launching ceremony, which was also attended by Party chiefs of Tibet and Qinghai, as well as 2,600 people from various circles, including exemplary workers who have made special contributions to the railway construction.
Zhou Yongkong, State Councilor, cut the ribbon at another ceremony held at the Railway Station of Lhasa, and saw off the inland-bound train.
Liu Zhijun, Minister of Railway, said at the Golmud ceremony that the construction of the Qinghai-Tibet railway was a strategic decision made by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council, and it is an unprecedented difficult job in human's history.
The Qinghai-Tibet railway is 1,956 kilometers long, with 960 km of the track located 4,000 meters above the sea level and the highest point at 5,072 meters.
The railway stretches from Xining, capital of Qinghai Province, to Lhasa. The section of 814 km from Xining to Golmud began operation in 1984 and the Golmud-Lhasa section started construction on June 29, 2001.
The railway is the world's highest and longest plateau railroad and also the first railway connecting the Tibet Autonomous Region with the rest of China.
The railway is projected to help double tourism revenues by 2010 and reduce transport costs for goods by 75 percent in Tibet, offcials said.