|Speech by Consul General Lin Jing at the Reception of Assumption of Office and In Celebration of Chinese New Year|
Hon. Premier Helen Zille of the Western Cape Province,
Hon. Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli, National Assembly of the Republic of South Africa,
Alderman Dan Plato, Executive Mayor of the City of Cape Town,
Hon. Minister Albert Fritz for Social Development, Western Cape Provincial Government,
Hon. Minister Beverley Schafer for Agriculture and Economy Opportunities, Western Cape Provincial Government,
Colleagues from the Consular Corps,
Friends from Chinese Community, Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
While the most important traditional festival for China, the Chinese Lunar New Year, namely the Spring Festival is drawing near, I am very glad 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 a warm welcome and New Year greetings 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!
I arrived at Post and assumed my duties in Cape Town 10 days ago. During my nearly three decades of diplomatic career, I have been mainly working on African Affairs. I am very honored to be here as the new Consul General of China in Cape Town. Though it has not been long since I arrived in Cape Town, I have learned a lot of touching stories about China-South African people to people exchanges. The team led by Dr. Lan and Mr. M.J. Li introduced Tai Chi and martial arts from China, thousands of miles away from South Africa, to offer us a feast of China-South Africa cultural exchanges and integration. Though Dr. Lan and Mr. M.J. Li were both born in South Africa, they share one thing in common, which is that they love Chinese culture deeply and are committed to disseminating Chinese culture in the Cape Peninsula. Dr. Lan established the Jing-an Wellness Sanctuary many years ago, thus more Capetonians benefit from Chinese Tai Chi and Chinese regimen. Mr. M.J. Li taught local teenagers to practice martial arts in the poor communities in the Cape Peninsula, adding colors to their spare time. In 2018, he led the South African youth martial arts team to Hong Kong, China to participate in the martial arts competition and achieved good results. These are all vivid examples about the China-South Africa people to people exchanges.
In addition to the above-said, since 2017, the Cape Town Huaxing Art Troupe Dragon-Lion dance team, which just brought us a warming-up performance, has made spectacular show at the Cape Town Carnival for two consecutive years. And to give you a spoiler in advance, after my speech, a Cheongsam (Chipao) Show performed by Overseas Chinese Woman's Association in Cape Town will be the grand finale. We are particularly proud that the Chinese community has increasingly been integrated into the big multicultural family of Cape Town with confidence. Apart from improving cultural integration, they also take an active part in building a safe South Africa. Based on the local Community Policing Forum (CPF) mechanism, a number of Chinese CPFs have been set up, working together with the local police to build a peaceful and harmonious community. Last week, I participated in a tea session in celebration of the Chinese New Year held by the Alderman Dan Plato, Mayor of Cape Town, honoring 200 elderly people from the local Chinese community. What is especially impressive is that Mayor Dan Plato took time out of his busy schedule, sending best wishes in person to the elderly who have settled down in South Africa. There is also another good news I want to share with you here. This year, the first Confucius Institute specialized in traditional Chinese medicine on the African continent will be set up in University of the Western Cape. Thus,the traditional medical cooperation between China, South Africa, and the African continent will surely gain further momentum and reach a new high.
Ladies and Gentlemen, dear friends,
The exchanges and cooperation between China and South Africa have maintained a strong momentum of development thanks to the increasingly closer people-to-people interactions and the ever-deepening cross-cultural exchanges between our two countries. 2018 marked the 20th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic ties between China and South Africa, and was important for the development of our bilateral relations. In that year, China successfully hosted the FOCAC Beijing Summit and South Africa successfully hosted the 10th BRICS Summit. These events provided valuable opportunities for the successful interactions between our two leaders, further strengthening the mutual political trust and catalyzing closer exchanges and cooperation in various fields. Furthermore, the comprehensive strategic partnership between our two countries have been further upgraded and optimized. Last November, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up, China hosted the first ever International Import Expo, demonstrating to the world its determination to bring its opening to a higher level. At the invitation of China, South Africa set up a national pavilion at the Expo to introduce its wine, aloe and beef biltong to the people both from China and the rest of the world. Thus our bilateral trade has yielded more fruitful results.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Both China and South Africa are major developing countries. The two countries are also coordinating and cooperating closely with each other in dealing with global challenges under the new international circumstances. Within the multilateral framework of the United Nations, the G20, the BRICS and the four BASIC countries on UN climate change, We have worked together closely to speak in one voice, actively safeguarded the multilateral trading system, opposed the historical countercurrent of unilateralism and protectionism, made important contributions to the win-win cooperation of the international community and the building of a community of shared future for mankind.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China and the 25th anniversary of the abolition of apartheid in South Africa. Both countries are at the threshhold of ushering in the 3rd decade of the 21 century. This is not a coincidence, but a choice made by history. It's my great honor to serve as the 8th Consul General of the People's Republic of China in Cape Town during the "Golden Harvest Season" of China-South Africa relations. At this moment, I feel great responsibilities and a sense of glorious mission. Enhancing solidarity and cooperation with African countries has always been the cornerstone of China's independent foreign policy of peace, as well as China's firm and longstanding strategic choice. China and Africa enjoy close and friendly relations. The two sides have long shared weal and woe, and a common destiny, and jointly safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries.
As a result of my career, I have visited South Africa many times before this posting. I am fully aware that the pragmatic cooperation and in-depth exchanges between China and South Africa since the establishment of diplomatic ties have greatly benefited our two peoples. To work in Cape Town, the southernmost city on the African continent, I will spare no efforts to work closely with our good friends, brothers and counterparts in South Africa to further deepen the people-to-people exchanges between the two countries and further promote mutual-understanding, mutual-acceptance and friendship between our two peoples, and serve the overseas Chinese in the consular districts under the guidance of People-Centered principle. I will be committed to further deepening and solidifying the existing relations of cooperation between China and the three Cape Provinces to produce more fruitful results, making it a flagship for China-South Africa and China-Africa exchanges and cooperation.
Ladies and Gentlemen, dear friends,
Between 1405 to 1433 A.D., Zheng He, a famous Chinese sailor in Ming Dynasty had made seven ocean voyages, three of which arrived at the Eastern Coast of African continent. Those voyages are nearly half a century earlier than Dias who bypassed the Cape of Good Hope in 1487 and Colombo who discovered the New World in 1492. Zheng He's fleet brought the Chinese products including tea, porcelain and silk to African people and brought back the African local specialties. It not only opened up the earliest ocean trading route between China and Africa, but also left much-told tales in history of friendly exchanges in hearts of the two peoples, demonstrating China's philosophy and practice of engaging in harmonious and peaceful exchanges with all nations. Nowadays after 600 years, friendship and cooperation between China and South Africa are in full swing while the people between the two countries are steadily moving forward following their ancestors' footprints. I believe that as long as China and South Africa join hands and forge ahead, we will surely seize the opportunities to win a bright future.
Finally, according to Chinese tradition, I would like to take this opportunity to extend New Year greetings to you. 2019 is the Year of the Pig in Chinese Lunar Calendar. As the symbol of good fortune, Pig represents auspiciousness and well-off. I wish you all great progress and prosperity in the Year of the Pig.