Shortly after the Spring Festival ended, Cao Lei packed his bags and prepared to leave his rural hometown in northwest China's Gansu Province for a job in a city.
Cao's hometown is located in the Tibetan Tielou Township, which was devastated by a 2008 earthquake that hit neighboring Sichuan Province. Amid post-quake reconstruction efforts, Cao built a 10-room house with financial help from the local government.
Years of hard work in the township allowed Cao to pay off all the debt he had accrued while building his home.
"I plan to work outside for a few more years so I can make more money and my kids can receive a better education," the 35-year-old told Xinhua. "I dream that one day my kids will walk out of this mountain and change their fates through knowledge."
Fresh enthusiasm for the "Chinese dream" has been sparked by the country's new leadership, which was elected after the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) National Congress, held late last year.
In his "inaugural speech" on Nov. 15, Xi Jinping, the new general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, vowed to rally and lead the Party and all Chinese people in carrying "the relay baton" passed on to the new leadership by history, as well as in continuing efforts to achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Fifteen days later, when Xi and other members of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau visited "The Road Toward Renewal" exhibition in Beijing, he further explained the Chinese dream as the ambitious goal of realizing the nation's rejuvenation.
Xi said everyone has his or her own ideals and pursuits, in addition to this shared dream. "Realizing the nation's great rejuvenation is the greatest dream in the country's modern history," he said.
The Chinese dream features not only individual hopes, but also collective ones, such as the protection of social justice and people's rights, and national ones, like the safeguarding of the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
How to realize the Chinese dream will become a hot topic of discussion at the upcoming annual legislative and political consultative sessions.
The annual sessions of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's parliament, and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the top political advisory body, will open on March 5 and 3, respectively.
The sessions will elect or approve the appointment of the country's new leadership and executive organs, providing institutional and personnel guarantees for the country's development.
Meanwhile, the sessions will turn the ruling party's propositions into national policies to better rally the strength of the people in realizing the Chinese dream.
"The Chinese dream has its own timetable and will be realized step by step," said Fan Peng, a fellow researcher with the Gansu Academy of Social Sciences.
According to Xi, China will achieve the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2021, when the CPC marks its 100th founding anniversary.
By the 100th founding anniversary of the People's Republic of China in 2049, the goal of building an affluent, strong, civilized and harmonious modern socialist country will be fulfilled, and the dream of the great renewal of the Chinese nation will be accomplished, Xi said in his speech at the exhibition.
There are only eight years before China fulfills its first goal of realizing the Chinese dream. Although it is the world's second-largest economy, China still faces many challenges, such as unbalanced development between the country's eastern and western regions, a yawning wealth gap, an unhealthy economic structure and a fragile natural environment.
All of these problems will be discussed at the sessions, when measures will be proposed to resolve them and push forward the implementation of such remedies.
The Chinese dream is embodied in the dreams of each and every person like Cao.
Cao's dream is to increase his income, while Fan, a resident of the heavily-polluted inland city of Lanzhou, hopes the sky will be blue by the time he retires in 2019.
During the sessions, thousands of legislators and political advisors from all walks of life will keep the dreams of the people in mind and make their voices heard in a way that influences national policy making.
"This year's sessions will make the Chinese dream a common aspiration for all," said Ji Zhengju, executive director of the Political Parties Research Center at the Central Compilation & Translation Bureau, a CPC think tank.