President flanked by photographs of himself and family

Photo display was highlighted in an interactive article by state broadcaster CCTV

Family portraits, travel snaps and military memories were on display for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s

on Thursday night, as the annual broadcast delivered a message of seasonal cheer and party loyalty.

The selection of the photos stressed his credentials as a family and party man.

Xi gave his speech from behind a desk, with a picture of the Great Wall of China and the national flag behind him flanked by bookcases decorated with photographs of him with his family and the public.

Xi spoke of how China had overcome the

and rebooted its economy after the country almost ground to a standstill because of the government’s lockdown measures.

The photograph display was highlighted in an interactive article by state broadcaster CCTV.

“Xi Jinping greatly values family life and family education,” it said in its introduction to a family portrait of Xi with his wife Peng Liyuan and daughter Xi Mingze.

“The family is life’s first classroom, parents are a child’s first teacher,” it said, quoting Xi’s own words.

The report said many of the photos had never been shown in public before.

There were several other photos of Peng, both with Xi and on her own. China’s leaders tend to keep details of their family lives private so the exposure given to Peng, a former professional singer, was unusual.

Xi has given a New Year’s address annually since 2013. The photos placed on the bookshelf behind him were carefully chosen to promote an image of him as a leader of the people. One showed him at a tea plantation in Yunnan province, another chatting to soldiers in their barracks.

Xi was also shown as a leader in combating the coronavirus pandemic.

“In the photo, he [Xi] is holding his fist in a gesture of ‘add oil’ to encourage the medics of the nation: ‘you must have faith! We will definitely be victorious’,” read the caption for a photo of Xi talking to medics at Beijing Ditan Hospital in February.

Another showed him visiting Wuhan in March, where China’s coronavirus outbreak began.

Xi’s father, Xi Zhongxun, a former general in the

, also featured prominently. One photo showed the two Xis together in Hainan in 1979, while Xi Jnr was a student at Tsinghua University in Beijing. A biography of Xi’s father was positioned behind the photo.

The photos of Xi with his father, along with others showing a young Xi in military uniform, appear to stress his lifelong ties to the Communist Party, a theme also prevalent in his speech.

“2021 will see the 100th birthday of the Communist Party of China … Upholding the principle of putting people first and remaining true to our founding mission, we can break the waves to reach the destination of realising the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” he said.

“Its 100-year journey surges forward with great momentum.”

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