Celebrating Proud Achievements and Pressing Forward with Confidence
Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Zheng Zeguang at the Online Reception Celebrating the Chinese New Year of the Tiger
24 January 2022
Officials from the British Government,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a real delight to join you at this online reception to celebrate the Chinese New Year of the Tiger. As we ring out the old and ring in the new, I would like to, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy, extend our New Year greetings to you all. I wish you and your family a very happy and successful Year of the Tiger! And I wish to thank all of you for your strong support for the Embassy and for your contribution to the development of China-UK relations over the past year!
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Chinese New Year is an occasion for families and friends to get together, share happy moments, and exchange best wishes and encouragements.
The past year, the Year of the Ox, has been a milestone for China. It was filled with major events, joyous occasions and proud achievements.
In the past year, we marked the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. President Xi Jinping solemnly announced on the Tian’anmen tower gate that China has realized the first centenary goal, namely, building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and making the historic achievement of eliminating absolute poverty; The country is now striving with great vitality towards the second centenary goal, that is, to build a great modern socialist country in a comprehensive way. The Communist Party of China held the sixth plenum of its 19th Central Committee, where in a systematic way, we took stock of the Party’s major achievements and summed up its historical experience over the past century. The third historical resolution of the Party was adopted. A hundred years of strenuous efforts has resulted in splendid achievements which give the Chinese people great historic confidence and strong driving force to press ahead.
In the past year, we responded steadily to the profound changes unseen in a hundred years and the gravest pandemic of the century, and led the world in economic recovery and pandemic response. The 14th Five Year Plan was off to a good start. In pandemic response, China took targeted and effective measures. The high inoculation rate, over 1.2 billion people across the country, means that the life and health of the entire population of over 1.4 billion are effectively safeguarded against Covid-19. In building a new development paradigm, more progress was made. China’s GDP for 2021 exceeded 110 trillion RMB yuan, which is an increase of 8.1% on top of 2020. And the relatively high growth is accompanied by relatively low inflation at the same time. China made solid headway in advancing common prosperity. Consumer income grew in tandem with the economy. Over 12 million new jobs were created in urban areas. In further opening up the Chinese market, new steps were taken. Annual import and export exceeded 6 trillion US dollars for the first time, and paid-in FDI was more than 170 billion US dollars. In strategic scientific and technological strength, there were new breakthroughs. Zhurong the Mars rover landed on the red planet; Xihe solar observatory started its journey towards the Sun; Shenzhou 13 spacecraft lifted off as scheduled; and Tianhe?the core module of the space station entered orbit. After a whole year’s hard efforts, China has turned in a result that is inspiring to the people and remarkable in the world
In the spirit of a community with a shared future for mankind, China vigorously supports global pandemic response and promotes common development. We have honoured our commitment of making our vaccines global public goods and provided over 2 billion doses to more than 120 countries and international organizations. Other products needed for pandemic response have continued to flow from China to all corners of the world. These efforts have contributed to pooling global efforts in the fight against the pandemic. President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Development Initiative at the UN General Assembly, calling on the international community to address the pressing problems facing developing countries. This has provided a new driving force for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the UN. We also actively carried out international cooperation on climate response and ecological conservation, playing a positive role in global sustainable development.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Chinese New Year is a festival of harmony and cooperation. Harmony is an ideal deeply rooted in the Chinese heritage. That is why the Chinese people, in handling the relationship between people as well as countries, have always valued harmony. There are many well-known ancient quotes, such as “one should seek harmony without uniformity” and “harmony arises from the ability to appreciate different cultures for their unique beauty”. In plain language, these are translated as mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation.
The past year also witnessed the China-UK relationship overcoming various obstacles, making new headway and bringing more tangible benefits to the peoples of the two countries.
Last October, President Xi Jinping had a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in which they reached important understanding on China-UK ties and closer cooperation in all areas. This conversation pointed the way forward for the further development of this very important relationship. Premier Li Keqiang had a virtual dialogue with UK business leaders, which sent a positive message of supporting closer mutually-beneficial cooperation between our two countries.
The two countries maintained communication and dialogue on pandemic response and climate action, and in the fields of energy, financial services, economy and trade. Our cooperation in various areas made further progress. The two-way trade and investment bucked the trend and continued to grow. The trade in goods exceeded 100 billion US dollars for the first time. China’s import from the UK and export to the UK increased by 29% and 22% respectively.
Exchanges between the two countries in education, culture and sports continued to deepen. We held some very successful events including the “China Weeks: When Culture and Tourism Blend” and the “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition UK Regional Final. The numbers of Chinese students in the UK and British students studying in China on Chinese Scholarships continued to grow.
The two countries hosted the COP15 to the Convention on Biological Diversity and COP26 to the UNFCCC respectively, stepped up communication and coordination on addressing climate change and preserving biological diversity, and made positive contribution to global green development.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Chinese New Year is also a festival of hope and aspiration. As a Chinese saying goes, “Plan for a successful year in the spring.” Spring is the season?when nature comes back to life. It is also the time for making plans and getting down to business.
Looking around the world, the changes of the times are precipitated by the worst pandemic of the century. The world enters a new period of turbulence. What must we do to prevail over Covid-19? What kind of a world do we want post pandemic? At the 2022 World Economic Forum Virtual Session on January 17th, President Xi Jinping proposed and expounded China’s solution.
He pointed out, countries need to embrace cooperation and jointly defeat the pandemic, resolve various risks and promote steady recovery of the world economy, bridge the development divide and revitalize global development, and discard Cold War mentality and seek peaceful coexistence and win-win outcomes. In the Year of the Tiger, China will stay committed to pursuing high-quality development, to reform and opening-up and to promoting ecological conservation. We will continue to champion the common values of mankind. We will always be a defender of world peace, a contributor to global development and an upholder of international order. And we will work with all countries to build a community with a shared future for mankind.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The year 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of ambassadorial diplomatic relations between our two countries. Over half a century, despite twists and turns, the China-UK relationship bucked the trend and made historic progress. The history of our relationship has made it very clear: For China-Britain relations to fare well, mutual understanding is the precondition, mutual trust is the foundation, and proper management of our differences is the key. Clinging to ideological bias and creating divisions and confrontations are against the trend of history and would do all harm and no good to anyone. Peaceful development and win-win cooperation are the right way forward. Given our different national conditions, China and the UK should pursue common development on the basis of mutual respect and work for win-win results by seeking common ground.
Standing at the new historical juncture, China and the UK should take the opportunity of celebrating the 50th anniversary of our ambassadorial diplomatic relations and keep to the right direction of dialogue and cooperation. We should step up dialogue and communication, enhance understanding and trust, resist disruptions, and expand our mutually-beneficial cooperation and friendly exchanges, so as to make sure our bilateral ties will stay on the right track, achieve steady and sustained development, and bring more benefits to the peoples of both countries.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Chinese New Year is drawing near, and it will be followed by the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics. What a doubly joyous occasion! As I said during a recent visit to the British Olympic Association, China has the confidence and capability to present to the world a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympics. I believe you will join me in wishing athletes from China, the UK and the rest of the world excellent performance! I am sure that Beijing 2022 will be a splendid display of the Olympic spirit of Higher, Faster, Stronger—Together!
In the Chinese culture, “tiger” is a symbol of courage and fortitude. So, in the spirit of the tiger, let’s join hands to strive forward in confidence and courage and promote the sound and steady development of China-UK cooperation.
Once again, Happy Chinese New Year!