President marks milestone by warning against complacency The Communist Party yesterday marked the 30th anniversary of the launch of economic reforms which have revitalised China and reshaped the world - with a pledge of further change and even greater opening up. Speaking before ranks of current and retired state leaders at the Great Hall of the People, President Hu Jintao hailed the nation's astonishing rise since the party embarked on the road of reform in 1978. He promised China's people a 'prosperous and harmonious society' in the years to come. But he warned the party against self-satisfaction and said that only by implementing more reforms could it lead the country to greater prosperity and retain its legitimacy to govern. 'Comparing our achievements with our long-range goals and people's expectations of a better life, we have no reason to feel content and stop moving forward,' he said. China still faced many challenges, including a low level of industrial innovation, a weak agricultural foundation, its less developed rural areas and deficiencies in party and government work. 'Reform and opening was a key choice for the fate of China,' Mr Hu, who is also the party's general secretary, said. 'The road has been correctly chosen. There is no way we will turn back.' The meeting marked the anniversary of the start on December 18, 1978, of the third plenary session of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party at which the economic reforms were launched two years after the end of the chaotic, decade-long Cultural Revolution. The president reminded the public how the reforms had brought the mainland from the brink of collapse 30 years ago to the economic power it is today. The historic shift came after the party leadership, under late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping , decided to throw open its doors to the rest of the world. 'Only development makes hard sense,' Mr Hu said, quoting a famous slogan used by Deng at the peak of ideological disputes in the 1990s over the way forward. Looking ahead, Mr Hu said China must continue to keep its feet firmly on the ground and focus on economic development, particularly wth the international financial crisis escalating. 'Making economic development the focus is the key to national rejuvenation, and it is the fundamental imperative for our party and our country to achieve prosperity and development and enduring peace and stability,' the president said. 'We must earnestly implement the measures [which the government has announced] to further expand domestic demand, boost economic growth as well as cope properly with the international financial crisis and various risks in the internal economy to maintain stable and relatively rapid economic growth.' The nationally televised gathering seemed designed to be a show of unity after China's successful staging of the Olympic Games this summer. The event featured a rare joint appearance by more than 6,000 current and retired mainland leaders. Mr Hu said the goal of building a well-off society would be reached in 2021, when the party celebrates its centennial. China would become a 'prosperous, democratised, civilised and harmonious modern socialist country' when the People's Republic celebrated its centenary in 2049.