"Our 40 Years," a grand gala in celebration of the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up, is held in Beijing, capital of China, Dec 14, 2018. Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Han Zheng and Wang Qishan were among the Communist Party of China (CPC) and state leaders who joined more than 3,000 people to watch the gala at the Great Hall of the People. [Photo/Xinhua]

President Xi Jinping and other Party and State leaders attended a grand gala marking the 40th anniversary of the country’s historic journey of reform and opening-up on Friday night.

The gala, held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, showcased China’s great achievements since reform and opening-up was initiated by late leader Deng Xiaoping in 1978.

Over the past 40 years, China has recorded an average annual GDP growth rate of around 9.5 percent, fostered a middle-income population of 400 million and lifted more than 700 million Chinese people out of poverty, accounting for more than 70 percent of the global total.

The gala was among a series of recent high-profile official activities commemorating reform and opening-up.

On Nov 13, Xi visited a major exhibition at the National Museum of China to commemorate the 40th anniversary.

Friday also saw the global release of a cross-border, coproduced documentary to review the achievements of reform and opening-up in the National Museum of China. The three-episode production How China Made It is being aired on online streaming platform Youku.com and broadcast worldwide through the US-based Discovery Channel starting Saturday.

The coproduction, filmed using ultra-high-definition technology, is a joint production of the China Intercontinental Communication Center, a State-owned media group in China; the Discovery Channel; Youku; and Meridian Line Films, an independent production company based in Yorkshire, England.

The voice-over is in English, with English-Chinese bilingual subtitles.

In the documentary, many ordinary Chinese people from different fields are invited to share their personal experiences in recent decades to reflect the huge development of society and the economy of the country.

"Our 40 Years," a grand gala in celebration of the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up, is held in Beijing, capital of China, Dec 14, 2018. Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Han Zheng and Wang Qishan were among the Communist Party of China (CPC) and state leaders who joined more than 3,000 people to watch the gala at the Great Hall of the People. [Photo/Xinhua]

“This production chooses individual touches to better tell Chinese stories because each one of us is a witness to this great process,” Chen Lujun, director of CICC, said.

“China, on one hand, preserves the traditional colors of Eastern culture,” he said. “But it unrolls a dazzling modern picture as well. It’s our responsibility to help the rest of the world better understand this country.”

“Reform and opening-up not only changes China,” said Tony Qiu, general manager of the Discovery Channel in China. “This unique path to success also has a lasting influence in other countries.

“This project combines local elements with a cross-cultural mindset and viewing habits,” he said. “That way, it can vividly show that China has developed together with the whole world.”

Contact the writers at anbaijie@chinadaily.com.cn