China will have a wet and windy beginning to the New Year, with the National Environment Agency forecasting light to heavy showers across the mainland over the weekend.

The first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year on Saturday (28 January) is expected to be cloudy and windy with spells of showers, heavy at times, the weather agency said. Friday (27 January) – the New Year eve's night – will also have similar weather conditions.

"The daily temperature during the weekend is forecast to range between 22°C and 32°C," Channel News Asia quoted the weather office as saying. It added that the rain and windy conditions are due to a monsoon surge that developed in the South China Sea, which is expected to gradually weaken on Sunday (29 January).

Meanwhile, extending New Year greetings to the people of China and Chinese nationals living abroad on Thursday (26 January), President Xi Jinping highlighted the achievements made by the country in fighting poverty, accelerating economic growth, improving national defence and military reforms.

He also lauded the citizens, saying: "The Chinese people have great dreams, but also have a great spirit to work hard and endure hardship to realise such dreams."

"The country has made major contributions to world peace and development with its own development and progress," Xinhua quoted the president as saying.

Xi, who is also the general secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China's Central Committee and the chairman of the Central Military Commission, called on all party members, the military and people of all ethnic groups living in the country to unite around the government to make further progress.