Raymond Huo, Dr Jian Yang, Both Members of Parliament,
Mr. John McKinnon, former New Zealand Ambassador to China,
Mr. Don Brash, Chairman of ICBC New Zealand,
Students, teachers, parents, Good Afternoon!
It is my pleasure to be here today with all of you at the National Final of the 11th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for New Zealand Secondary School Students. I am so impressed and pleased after watching your wonderful speeches and performances. All the participants have shown high level and ability of Chinese language skills, passions for Chinese culture, profound knowledge and understanding about China. I want to express my sincere congratulation to all of you for your outstanding achievements in learning Chinese language. And to each participant, you are all winners in this competition. My congratulation also goes to the teachers and parents, who must be extremely proud of your students, your boys and girls.
Ladies and gentlemen, "Chinese bridge" has become a big event in NZ, and a well-established brand for people to people exchanges in the whole world.
Chinese language learning opens doors for people from different countries and for our young kiwi friends to get to know not only about the fascinating Chinese culture and civilization which is unique and uninterrupted for more than 5000 years, but also about the dynamic development of modern China and progress made by the hard work of more than 1.3 billion Chinese people through reform and opening up over the past 40 years. You will see China's door opening wider and wider to the outside world in future.
To China and NZ, Chinese Bridge" builds bridges in promotion of relations between our two great nations and two peoples. Now China has become NZ largest source of international students, largest trading partner and second largest source of tourists. Export, tourism and education are three major driving forces of NZ economic growth. In future we are faced with tremendous opportunities in furthering our cooperation and communication in all areas. There will be more and more good job opportunities waiting for you as well. We need more people like you who understand Chinese language to make contribution to the win-win co-operations and push forward the Belt and Road Initiative construction between our two countries to benefit our two peoples. The Belt and Road Initiative is a road of connectivity of policy, trade, finance, infrastructure and people to people.
Chinese bridge connects the hearts of the peoples from different countries, different cultures and different religions. And it provides a very useful platform for young people from different backgrounds to exchange ideas, to enhance mutual understanding and friendship between China and the rest of the world. China is looking forward to working together with other countries to build a community of shared future for mankind, featuring lasting peace, universal security, common prosperity, openness and inclusiveness, clean and beautiful world. Language is a bridge of communication for mankind. Chinese bridge will serve as a driving force to develop our friendly exchanges, communication and cooperation, and make the world a better one for the future and for our younger generations.
In the past decade, with the joint efforts, we have witnessed a growing enthusiasm for learning Chinese language and culture in New Zealand. More and more primary schools and secondary schools have set up Chinese language programs. According to the latest statistics, the Chinese language learners in New Zealand primary and secondary schools have reached over 70,000 in 453 schools compared with 6200 in 107 schools ten years ago. Moreover, through the language learning, more and more students have a deeper understanding about China.
As Confucius said: "After learned skill, it would be a pleasure to practice it timely and regularly." Therefore, I hope that all the participant present here or other Chinese language learners will continue working hard and practicing more in future. In addition to the studies in the classrooms and from the books, I encourage you to take every opportunity to communicate with your classmates and Chinese friends around you, with the Chinese people who live in New Zealand, and with the Chinese tourists who travel in New Zealand. Furthermore, sometime in the future, you are most welcome to cross the bridge to visit China, work in China, enjoy the Chinese culture and make more Chinese friends there.
Last but not least, I would like to express my appreciation to the Education Offices of the Chinese Embassy in Wellington, and Consulate-Generals in Christchurch and Auckland who are in charge of hosting this competition. Our appreciation goes to the Confucius Institutes at Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Canterbury, and the Confucius Institute in Auckland for organizing the competitions. Without their hard work, today's event would not be possible. Our deepest thanks also go to the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, New Zealand, Westlake Boys High School and New Zealand China Council for their generosity to sponsor and support this competition! Thanks to all the judges and staffs! Once again, my congratulations to all participants in this competition. Wish all of you immense progress in the journey of Chinese language study.