|Speech at the Reception in Celebration of the 70 Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China by Consul General Lin Jing|
Hon. Cedric Frolick, House Chairperson of the National Assembly of South Africa,
Hon. Alan Winde, Premier of the Western Cape Province,
Friends from South African Parliament, Provincial and Municipal Governments, Military and Police Forces,
Colleagues from the Consular Corps,
Friends from Chinese Community,
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today we are gathered here to celebrate the 70th birthday of the People's Republic of China. On behalf of the Chinese Consulate General in Cape Town, I'd like to extend a very warm welcome to all the guests present today. I'd also like to extend holiday greetings to the Chinese compatriots living, working and studying in the three Cape Provinces, and our heartfelt thanks to friends from all walks of life who have been devoted to promoting the friendly relationship between China and South Africa!
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,
I believe that before entering this ballroom, you must have browsed the "Picture Exhibition featuring 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China" on display outside the hall. The 40 carefully-chosen pictures tell us dynamic changes and great achievements of New China during the past 70 years in the fields of economy, people's livelihood, science and technology, agriculture, culture and education, etc. Whether it is the extensive high-speed railway system or the increasingly widely-applied artificial intelligence (AI) technology, whether it is the sharp contrast between the past and the present brought to the Chinese people's lives by the struggle against poverty, or the unremitting exploration into the space and deep ocean by Chinese scientists, the past 70 years have witnessed China's transition from poverty and weakness to prosperity and strength, and the historical leap from standing up, growing rich to becoming strong.
Over the past 70 years, the People's Republic of China has gone through an extraordinary course and made tremendous achievements in development. The most successful experience is China has found a development path in line with its own national conditions, which is the socialist path with Chinese characteristics. As the ruling party, the Communist Party of China has stayed true to original aspiration and mission, which is to seek happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation.
Over the past 70 years, China has started from scratch as an impoverished country to the world's second largest economy. In 2018, China's GDP grew by 6.6% with a total volume of USD 13.6 trillion, which contributed nearly 30% of global economic growth. In the first eight months of this year, China's economic performance has been generally smooth and made progress. The GDP increased by 6.3% in the first half of this year. Against the backdrop of current complex international situation, it is not easy for China to maintain a medium-high growth rate of more than 6% on the basis of a larger growth base, which still ranks as the top ones among the world's major economies. China will continue to assume the responsibility as the "stabilizer" and "propeller" of the world economy.
Over the past 70 years, the living standards of the Chinese people have greatly improved. China has lifted 850 million people out of poverty, cutting its poverty rate from 97.5 percent to 1.7 percent and contributing over 70 percent of the total of global poverty reduction. By 2020, China will achieve the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. By then, China's 1.4 billion population will have completely shaken off poverty and set up new benchmark in the great cause of human development.
Over the past 70 years, China's international status has improved unprecedentedly. China has been pursuing an independent foreign policy of peace, steadfastly developing friendly and cooperative relations with other countries and playing an increasingly important role in international affairs. China is committed to building a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind. The Belt and Road Initiative has received positive responses from more than 160 countries (regions) and international organizations, contributing Chinese wisdom and proposals to world peace and development. Last November, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up, China hosted the China International Import Expo for the first time. South Africa was invited to set up a National Pavilion at the Expo to introduce South African wine, aloe vera, Biltong and other good quality South African products to the Chinese consumers and people around the world. In early November this year, the second China International Import Expo will again be held in Shanghai. We warmly welcome South African friends to take an active part in the event, and introduce more high-quality South African specialties to the Chinese market and the Chinese consumers, taking the express train of China's development and sharing the opportunities provided by China's growth
Ladies and gentlemen, Dear friends,
Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1998, China and South Africa have always stood together and supported each other through thick and thin. China-South Africa relations have maintained steady and sound development, and achieved a "triple jump" from partnership to strategic partnership and to comprehensive strategic partnership, setting an example to overall China-Africa cooperation and South-South cooperation. Promoted by the frequent exchanges of high-level visits and interactions, the political mutual trust has been further deepened and cooperation in various fields has grown ever closer.
China and South Africa are both major developing countries in the world. The two countries are coordinating and cooperating closely with each other in dealing with global challenges under the new international circumstances. Within the multilateral framework such as the United Nations, the G20, the BRICS and the four BASIC countries on climate change, We have been working together closely to speak in one voice, vigorously safeguarding the multilateral trading system, opposing the counter current of unilateralism and protectionism. We have made important contributions to the win-win cooperation of the international community and building a community of shared future for mankind.
2018 marked the 20th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic ties between our two countries, and the development of China-South Africa relations ushered in new historical opportunities. In 2018, China successfully hosted the FOCAC Beijing Summit and South Africa successfully hosted the 10th BRICS Summit. The successful exchanges of visits between our two leaders have further strengthened the mutual political trust and catalyzed stronger cooperation in various fields. At the FOCAC Beijing Summit and the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, President Xi Jinping announced a series of major initiatives to enhance win-win cooperation and high-quality cooperation, which have injected new momentum into China-South Africa and China-Africa economic and trade mutually beneficial cooperation. The comprehensive strategic partnership between our two countries has been further upgraded and optimized.
In May this year, South Africa successfully held its 6th general election. Since the new national and provincial governments and parliament took office, the exchanges between China and South Africa have gained stronger momentum. In June, President Xi Jinping and President Ramaphosa met during the G20 Osaka Summit. In September, the delegation of Supervisory and Judicial Affairs Committee of Chinese National People's Congress successfully visited South Africa at the invitation of the Portfolio Committee on Police of the South African National Assembly. The delegation of Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development of South African National Assembly will visit China soon. The cooperation between our two parliaments, especially between the portfolio/special committees has been further deepened. It is worth mentioning that on 21 June, the day after President Ramaphosa's SONA, the signing ceremony of China-South Africa economic and trade cooperation was held in Cape Town CTICC. At the ceremony, 89 Chinese and South African enterprises signed 93 investment and trade agreements worth of nearly US$ 2 billion. The Chinese government sent such a large economic and trade delegation right after the inauguration of President Ramaphosa and the new South African government, fully demonstrating China's firm support to South Africa's exploration of its own development path, and highlighting the action-oriented essence of China-South Africa comprehensive strategic partnership. It will surely further release tremendous potential of practical cooperation between our two countries and compose a new chapter in the history of building China-South Africa comprehensive strategic partnership.
Ladies and Gentlemen, dear friends,
The Chinese Consulate General has always been committed to promoting friendly exchanges and cooperation between China and three Cape Provinces in our consular district, with the concerted efforts of the Chinese Consulate and friends from all walks of life, exchanges between local governments of China and the three Cape Provinces are increasingly strengthened. Practical cooperation in various fields has further deepened and yielded results with quite a few highlights to be marked.
In April this year, a delegation from Changsha, Hunan Province of China, visited Kimberley, the capital of the Northern Cape Province, with a twin city agreement reached by the two sides; Earlier this month, during the visit of the governor of Zhejiang Province of China, Sarah Baartman Municipality of the Eastern Cape Province, and Coega Industrial Development Zone, signed agreements of friendly exchanges and cooperation with their Chinese counterparts respectively; the first Confucius Institute specialized in Chinese Medicine on the African continent launched at the University of Western Cape, which is jointly established by UWC, China's Zhejing Normal University and Zhejing Chinese Medical University, symbolizing that people to people exchanges and education cooperation between China and South Africa has reached a higher level; major Chinese enterprises such as BAIC, FAW, Hisense, Longyuan Renewables, Huawei, ZTE ect., are deeply rooted in the three Cape Provinces and provide more choices for South African market and consumers. These Chinese enterprises not only help South African consumers know better about the Chinese name brands, but also make positive contributions to local social and economic development through creating job opportunities and actively fulfilling corporate social responsibilities.
Ladies and Gentlemen, dear friends,
The late great leader Madiba of South Africa once said, vision without action is just a dream, action without vision just passes the time, and vision with action can change the world. Now the China-South Africa comprehensive strategic partnership has entered the "Golden Harvest Season" with a focus on implementation and vision realization. China is willing to work closely with South Africa to carry out the major consensus reached by Presidents of the two countries, elevating the comprehensive strategic partnership to a new high and bringing more tangible benefits to our two peoples.
I believe that with the cordial cooperation between our two countries, just as between brothers and partners, and with the full support from our friends who are present this evening, China and South Africa will surely join hands to seize the historical opportunity for a shared brighter future!
Now I'd like to propose a toast,
to the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China,
to the peace and prosperity of China and South Africa,
and to the evergreen friendship between our two countries,
New era, greater partnership!