Hon. Minister Jenny Salesa,
Hon. President Nigel Haworth,
Hon. Mayor Phil Goff,
Hon. Mr. Todd McClay,
Hon. Parliamentary Secretary Michael Wood,
Other respected Members of Parliament,
Dear colleagues from Diplomatic Corps,
My dear Chinese Compatriots,
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:
Thank you so much for joining us tonight in celebration of the Spring Festival of the Chinese Lunar New Year. Among the Chinese people, Spring Festival is the most important traditional festival, symbolizing reunion, happiness and hope. Especially at this joyful and auspicious moment of welcoming the Year of Golden Pig, which stands for big fortune, prosperity, generosity and honesty, I would like to express, on behalf of the Chinese Consulate General in Auckland, our best wishes to the distinguished guests present here tonight, and through you to all the friends including our dear Chinese compatriots, business people, students, and media in the consulate district and NZ, for a very happy and prosperous New Year of golden Pig.
At this festival occasion, I also wish to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to the friends from all walks of life in NZ for your great support to the development of China and China-NZ relations as well as the Chinese communities in NZ over the past year!
2018 was an extraordinary year for China. Despite all sorts of challenges and risks, China approached the full year with steadfast determination, pushed our economy towards high quality development, sped up the replacement of old drivers to the economic growth and kept our major economic indicator at a reasonable range. Our economy grew at 6.6% with strong resilience and potential. China continued to be the major contributor to the world economic growth. We made headway in our efforts in environment protection and in the innovation of science and technology. We also intensified our efforts to improve people's well-being and living standard. Another 10 million people were lifted out of poverty within the year.
2018 marked the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up. We launched over 100 major reform measures and a host of steps for further opening up, including broadening market access, protecting IPR and take initiatives to increase imports. China successfully held the first International Import Expo in Shanghai, attended by more than 3,600 companies, with deals worth USD 57.8 billion sealed. China began construction of a pilot free trade zone in Hainan. China's reform will never stop and its doors will only open wider to the outside world.
2018 entered its fifth anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative. BRI is a modern version of ancient Silk Road which is aimed to promote reform and opening up in China and also outline China's approach to better global economic governance. Today, it has become the biggest platform for international cooperation and a most welcomed international public good. China has signed BRI cooperation documents with more than 140 countries and international organizations. More than 40 countries were added within the year of 2018 in this pool. The BRI has brought about many tangible benefits. Total volume of trade in goods between China and countries along the Belt and Road has surpassed US$5 trillion; China's outward direct investment to these countries has surpassed US$70 billion; Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been created; tax revenue worth billions of US Dollars have been brought to local governments. In April this year, China will host the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, which will instill greater vitality into the further progress of the BRI construction.
This year 2019 is also a crucial year for China to meet its first centenary goal which is to build China into a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020 and also marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Seven decades ago, the Chinese Communist Party, rallying the Chinese people around itself engaged in an indomitable struggle and succeeded in establishing the New China in the ruins of an old semi-colonial and semi-feudal society, thus achieved national independence and liberation of the Chinese people. Since then, the Chinese nation has gained rebirth and entered a new era of development. Over the past seventy years, our country has braved thorny paths, confronted stormy weather, and went through all kinds of assessments and predictions about China either collapsing or threatening, but facts speak louder than words. Thanks to the hard work and wisdom of the Chinese people, under the leadership of the CPC, once a poor and weak nation suffered by foreign aggression, humiliation, war and chaos. has become the world 's No 2 economy, largest manufacturer, largest trader of goods and poised to be the world 's No one consumer of commodities and tourist market, creating a miracle in the history of human development. Our status and influence has risen as never before. Indeed China has increasingly become an important force for upholding world peace and promoting common development. A nation with 1.4 billion people who are enjoying stability, prosperity and development itself is a great contribution to the world.
Looking at the world at large, we are facing a period of major change never seen in a century. No matter what these changes bring, China will keep with the trend of the times, never stop reform and opening up. China will remain resolute and confident in its defense of its national sovereignty and security. We will firmly take our own path which fits our own condition, focusing on people-centered development, ensuring our people live better lives. Development will continue to be our top priority. China's sincerity and good will to safeguard world peace and promote common development will remain unchanged. China will unswervingly pursue peaceful development, continue to be the builder of world peace, contributor of the global growth and defender of the international order. Chinese people are peace loving people. Chinese culture values the teachings that one should help others to succeed while seeking one’s own success, create a world for all, treat others with respect and pursue win-win co-operation. Confucius stated "Treat others as you like to be treated". We reject the practices of the strong bullying the weak and self-claimed supremacy. Today, China's interests are closely linked to those of the world. We will continue to work with other countries to forge a new form of international relationship based on mutual respect, justice and fairness as well as win-win cooperation and to advance the development of a community of shared future for mankind. We need to uphold multilateralism, free trade, engage in extensive dialogue and cooperation based on mutual respect and mutual trust „jointly build a system of rules for technology and new international cooperation framework featuring peace, security, democracy, transparency, inclusiveness and mutual benefit so that all people can gain from technological innovation.
The Commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the New China reminds us of the great NZ friend of the Chinese people Mr. Rewi Alley who devoted his whole life to the establishment and construction of the New China. We will never forget him for his contribution to China and to the promotion of Sino NZ bilateral relations. As the Chinese Consul General to NZ, I always feel proud that I had that unique chance of meeting with Mr. Rewi Alley when I was little in the kindergarten and feel so blessed to have got an opportunity to work in his home country NZ. His spirit inspires me all the time to work hard and to promote the cooperation and friendship between our two countries and two peoples and to contribute more to people of NZ. China attaches great importance to Sino-NZ relations. For many years, with the visionary and farsighted leadership and concerted efforts of the leaders and friends of both sides like Mr. Rewi Alley and many others, the relationship has enjoyed many fruitful results which have brought tremendous benefits to both countries and peoples. China has over years remained to be NZ's largest trading partner, largest source of international students, and second largest source of overseas tourists. China plays a unique role of top three major drivers to NZ's economic growth. During the past three years of my tenure, I have seen a massive upsurge in the cooperation of aviation connectivity, trade, tourism, cultural exchanges, education and other fields. My colleagues and I have visited many regions and cities in my consulate district and NZ and were so much impressed by the strong desire of the local governments, business people, educators and many others to forge even stronger partnership with China. Countless facts and data shows that the development of China is an important opportunity to NZ, and relations are mutual beneficial in nature between China and New Zealand because they are highly complementary to each other in terms of economic features.
Business activities serve as an important barometer for development of economic cooperation between countries. We have always encouraged Chinese companies to conduct economic cooperation in other countries including NZ on the basis of following market principles and international rules and abiding by local laws. It is our sincere hope that government of the host country will also provide welcoming, fair and transparent environment as well as level ground for Chinese enterprises to do business and achieve win-win results that are in the long and essential interests of the local people.
As a Maori proverb goes, without foresight or vision the people will be lost. China and NZ need cherish the friendly and win-win cooperation like eyes, working harder to ensure the sound and smooth momentum of development of comprehensive strategic partnership based on equality, mutual respect and mutual benefit. I sincerely hope the two sides will grasp the opportunity, to work in unison and meet each other to strengthen pragmatic cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative to accomplish more tangible win-win results for our two peoples. It is also imperative that more efforts be made to uphold fairness and justice, to stand against protectionism and unilateralism in building an open world economy.
The above-mentioned achievements would not have been accomplished without the support of our Chinese compatriots, students and business people in NZ. They have not only made great contribution to the economic and social development as well as cultural diversities of NZ, but also acted as a very important bridge in promotion of the friendship and cooperation between our two peoples. Recently Chinese compatriots in NZ hosted a serious of meetings to express their support to President Xi Jinping's speech commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Chinese mainland's message to Compatriots in Taiwan which we highly appreciate. National reunification is in the fundamental interest of all the Chinese people including our Chinese compatriots overseas. It is our sincere hope that our Chinese compatriots in NZ will remain united closely as one and make further contribution to China's national reunification, at the same time promoting bilateral cooperation and friendly exchanges between China and New Zealand, serving as bridge of building 21st maritime Silk Road between china and NZ.
Once again, my very best wishes to you all for a very happy and prosperous Chinese Lunar New Year!
Thank you so much for your attendance!