Chinese president Xi Jinping is talking tough.

On Tuesday, he vowed to push ahead with China's "reform and opening up" but warned that no one can "dictate" what it does, as the Communist Party celebrated the policy's 40th anniversary.

AFP reports that while he pledged to press forward with the economic reforms initiated under late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping in December 1978, Xi indicated that there would be no change to the one-party system.

"The great banner of socialism has always been flying high over the Chinese land," Xi said in a speech at Beijing's imposing Great Hall of the People.

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"The leadership of the Communist Party of China is the most essential feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the greatest advantage of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics," he said.

His speech came as China faces stern challenges from the United States on trade and diplomatic fronts.

"No one is in a position to dictate to the Chinese people what should or should not be done," Xi said.

"We must resolutely reform what should and can be changed, we must resolutely not reform what shouldn't and can't be changed."

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