|Speech at the Reception in Celebration of Chinese New Year by Consul General Lin Jing|
While the most important traditional festival for China, the Chinese Lunar New Year, namely the Spring Festival is drawing near, I am more than happy to hold this reception tonight and join everyone here to celebrate the Chinese New Year. On behalf of the entire staff at the Chinese Consulate General in Cape Town, I would like to extend the warmest welcome to all the guests present at the reception today. Taking this opportunity, I'd also like to extend my heartfelt thanks to friends from all walks of life who have been devoted to promoting the friendly relationship between China and South Africa! As well as my warmest Chinese new year greetings to all the Chinese compatriots living, working and studying in the three Cape Provinces!
The just passed 2019 is an extraordinary year. Both China's domestic development and China-South Africa relationship have ushered in a new stage. There is a famous song in China entitled "Meeting each other is like a song". However, in my opinion, fond memories are also like a song. I would like to borrow two Chinese songs to summarize the year of 2019.
The first song is "My Motherland and me".
"My motherland and I can't be separated even for a moment. Wherever I go, a song of praise flows out of my heart" As the People's Republic of China celebrated her 70th birthday, this classical golden oldie regained its popularity in China in 2019. The song not only expresses the Chinese people's profound love for their motherland, but also celebrates the high and vigorous spirits of the whole nation.
In 1921, the Chinese Communist Party was founded. In 1949, the People's Republic of China declared independence. In 1978, the reform and opening up policy was adopted. In 2019, we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, which opened a new era for the Chinese people from standing up, growing rich to becoming strong. Under the strong leadership of the Chinese Communist Party in the past 70 years, Chinese people have forged ahead and created one miracle after another in economic and social development. In 2019, China's GDP is expected to be close to 100 trillion yuan, and per capita GDP will exceed 10,000 US dollars. Major achievements have been made in cutting-edge fields such as manned spaceflight, lunar exploration, quantum science, deep-sea exploration, supercomputers, and satellite navigation. New technologies such as big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and 5G are in the ascendant, making the daily lives of ordinary Chinese people more comfortable and enjoyable. Today, China is the world's second largest economy, with the largest manufacturing industry, the largest trade volume in goods, and the largest foreign exchange reserve in the world. These achievements have laid a solid foundation for China's high-quality development in the future. The Chinese nation is much closer to, more confident and more capable of achieving great rejuvenation than ever before in its history!
The second song is "being friends forever".
"A friend is beyond price. The more friends you have, the happier your life will be. Making friends with our hearts, let us be friends forever." In 2019, multilateralism and unilateralism have been locked in acute contest, protectionism and populism have been on the rise, power politics and bullying were rampant in the international arena. China has made friends extensively in the world on the basis of equal treatment and sincerity, held high the torch of multilateralism, stood for peaceful settlement of disputes, upheld principle of fairness and justice in the global affairs, and committed to building a community with shared future for mankind and a more just and reasonable global governance system. Over recent past years, China has made all-out efforts to facilitate policy communication, infrastructure connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and mutual understanding under Belt and Road Initiative, so as to achieve win-win cooperation and common development. The Belt and Road Initiative has become the most popular global public good. So far, 136 countries and 30 international organizations have signed cooperation agreements with China on Belt and Road cooperation, among them, South Africa is the first among all the African countries.
Nothing can separate people who share the same vision. 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. China always regards South Africa as a true good friend, brother and partner. South Africa is the only country in Africa that President Xi Jinping has paid three state visits to. Last year, President Xi Jinping and President Cyril Ramaphosa held talks at international occasions such as G20 summit in Japan and BRICS Summit in Brazil. The two heads of state hold regular meetings annually, constantly injecting new impetus into China-South Africa comprehensive strategic partnership and delivering tangible benefits to our two countries and peoples.
Now bilateral trade between China and South Africa accounts for one quarter of China-Africa trade, China's investment and financing in South Africa has exceeded $25 billion US dollars. China has been South Africa's largest trading partner for ten consecutive years and has become a major source of investment and tourists for South Africa. South Africa has been China's largest trading partner in Africa for nine consecutive years. These figures highlight China's unwavering support for South Africa's economic and social transformation and development, and it well elaborate on the action-oriented and result-oriented essence of the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and South Africa. There is no interval to the China-South Africa cooperation, only forging ahead. We firmly believe that under the guidance of the two heads of state, China-South Africa relations will continue to achieve new records in history and reach a new high.
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends!
The year 2020 will be a key milestone in the course of the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. It is not only a decisive year to fight poverty, but also the opening year for achieving the goal of modernization of the national governance system and capacity.
Today in China, after more than 40 years of reform and opening up, 850 million people have shaken off poverty. For every 100 people lifted out of poverty worldwide, more than 70 of them would have come from China. Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012, the number of people living in poverty has drastically reduced from 98.99 million to 6 million.Every year for the past seven years, there were more than 10 million people lifted out of poverty, which is equivalent to the size of a population in a medium-sized country in Europe. This year, China will realize the goal of lifting all its rural population living under the poverty line, and all the impoverished counties out of poverty. The Chinese government's determination, efforts and the national resources it has mobilized to fight poverty as well as the achievements are unprecedented in the world. Today China has written the most successful poverty-alleviation stories and contributed its wisdom to the great cause of international development and poverty alleviation.
Ladies and Gentlemen, dear friends,
Over the past year, with the active promotion and the concerted efforts by the Chinese Consulate General and friends from all walks of life, the collaboration and communication between two countries' parliaments, and cooperation between three Cape provinces and their counterparts in China in the fields of local government exchanges, educational cooperation and people-to-people exchanges etc. have been further strengthened with more substantial results.
This year is the Year of Rat in Chinese Lunar Calendar. Rat is head of the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac, which symbolizes carrying on the past heritage and forging ahead into the future. The Chinese Consulate General in Cape Town will set out from a new starting point, stay true to our original aspiration and bear in mind our mission, and continue to provide whole-hearted services for the Chinese compatriots in our consular district by adhering to the people-centered philosophy. We will also work closely with all the good friends, brothers and partners from South Africa to further promote in-depth and substantial cooperation between three Cape provinces and China to harvest more abundant fruits. Looking into the new year, I believe that with the joint efforts by provincial and municipal governments, and other relevant institutions in three Cape provinces and all the guests present here, we will make more contributions to the ever-growing China-South Africa comprehensive strategic partnership which will better benefits our two countries and two peoples.
Finally, following Chinese tradition, I would like to once again take this opportunity to extend New Year greetings to everyone.
Now I would like to propose a toast
For the long-lasting friendship between the peoples of China and South Africa,
For greater achievements in cooperation and exchanges between three Cape provinces and China,
For the fortunes and good health of all the friends in the New Year.