This quote from Xi Jinping is from his speech at the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone on October 14.
Meaning: lit. to cut one’s way through thistles and thorns; fig. to overcome all obstacles on the way; to break through hardships; to blaze a new trail
Original: “ 深圳广大干部群众披荆斩棘、埋头苦干，用40年时间走过了国外一些国际化大都市上百年走完的历程。”