Remarks by Ambassador Chen Xiaodong at the Virtual Celebration of Happy Chinese New Year 2022
28 January 2022
My Fellow Chinese, Friends,
Happy Chinese New Year!
The Year of the Tiger is bidding farewell to the Year of the Ox. In a few days, we will celebrate the Lunar New Year, the most important traditional festival for the Chinese nation. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy in South Africa, I would like to extend sincere new year greetings to all our fellow Chinese, Chinese institutions, students and faculty of Confucius Institutes and beyond, as well as friends from all walks of life in South Africa on the occasion of the Year of the Tiger.
It is our great pleasure to learn that President Ramaphosa has taken the time to record a Chinese New Year greeting video for all of us. This fully reflects the His Excellency the President’s friendship with the Chinese people and surely adds much more happiness to our traditional festival. I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to President Ramaphosa. I wish His Excellency and the people of South Africa a happy and prosperous Chinese New Year.
The year 2021 is a landmark year in the history of the Communist Party of China and our country. Under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, we celebrated the CPC’s centenary, achieved on schedule the goal of comprehensively building a moderately prosperous society, won the battle against poverty, and achieved our first centenary goal. The rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has entered an irreversible historical process. The Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee comprehensively summarized the major achievements and historical experience of the Party’s century-long struggle, and sent out a loud call for a new journey and a new era of success.
During the year, the 14th Five-Year Plan made a good start. China took new steps to foster a new development pattern, and achieved new results in high-quality development. We maintained global leadership in economic development and COVID-19 response. Our GDP grew at 8.1 percent annually, which puts us at a total economic output of 17.7 trillion US dollars, accounting for more than 18 percent of the global economy. China’s foreign trade volume exceeded the 6 trillion US dollars threshold for the first time, stabilizing our position as the world’s top trading nation. Our national strategic science and technology strength has grown, with the Zhurong rover probing Mars, the Xihe satellite chasing the sun, and the Tianhe space station core module traveling among the stars. New progress was made in green development, and the building of a “1+N” carbon peak and neutrality policy system was accelerated.
This year, China’s diplomacy has been guided by the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics in the New Era and the Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy. We tackled great difficulties and took the initiative to forge ahead and write new chapters. During the year, our head-of-state diplomacy has led the way. President Xi Jinping met or spoke with foreign leaders and heads of international organizations 79 times, hosted and attended 40 important foreign events via video link, and proposed a series of major initiatives such as building a global community of health for all, a community of life for man and nature and a global community of development with a shared future. China has provided over 2 billion doses of vaccines to more than 120 countries and international organizations and contributed to bridging the international immunity gap and strengthening international cooperation in fighting COVID-19. China has taken a clear stand on multilateral occasions, opposed hegemony and bullying, defended fairness and justice, advocated common values of humanity, and worked to promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. President Xi Jinping attended the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and put forward the spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation, featuring sincere friendship and equality, win-win for mutual benefit and common development, fairness and justice, and progress with the times and openness and inclusiveness. President Xi Jinping also put forward four proposals for building the China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era. These proposals, together with the nine programs of cooperation with Africa helped build a new milestone in China-Africa relations.
My Fellow Chinese, Friends,
In 2021, under the personal guidance of President Xi Jinping and President Ramaphosa, China and South Africa together celebrated the CPC’s centenary. The leaders of our two countries interacted frequently and deepened mutual political trust. We together overcame the challenges of COVID-19 and there were good highlights in our institutional exchanges in various fields. Bilateral practical cooperation was also steadily advanced. Bilateral trade delivered an impressive performance, reaching 54.35 billion US dollars, up 50.7 percent year-on-year. This is a record high since 2015. Among this number, South Africa’s exports to China reached 33.23 billion US dollars, up 59.6 percent year-on-year. China and South Africa have maintained close communication and cooperation in the United Nations, the G20, BRICS, FOCAC and other multilateral occasions, joined hands to safeguard the common interests of China, South Africa and developing countries in general. The comprehensive strategic partnership between our two countries continues to develop.
As we still face major changes and a pandemic unseen in a century, President Xi Jinping pointed out in his speech at the 2022 World Economic Forum Virtual Session that it is important 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 new year, China and South Africa will follow the important common understandings between our heads of state. As we deliver the outcome of the FOCAC meeting, we will continue to deepen mutual trust, promote cooperation, pursue high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, jointly safeguard multilateralism and international justice, and promote the building of a China-South Africa and China-Africa community with a shared future.
In the new year, the CPC will hold its 20th National Congress, which will be a critical event in the political life of our Party and country. At the same time, the ANC will also convene its 55th National Conference. We look forward to celebrating these important moments together, as well as continuing to deepen exchanges and cooperation between our governing parties in order to better deliver for our two countries and peoples.
In a few days, the Beijing Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games will open. The world is looking to China to deliver, and China is ready. Guided by the Olympic spirit, the Beijing Winter Olympic Games will promote peace, unity, hope and courage, usher in the way for humanity to join hands to defeat COVID-19 and provide a stage to promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. Under the guidance of President Xi Jinping’s approach of a green, inclusive, open and clean Olympics, preparations for the Winter Games and COVID response are moving forward smoothly. An extraordinary and outstanding Winter Olympics that is both green and tech-savvy will be presented to the world. Athletes from all countries will unleash the speed and passion of winters on this stage, and demonstrate the strength from solidarity and friendship for the world. We sincerely thank SASCOC and friends from all walks of life here for the strong support for the Beijing Winter Olympics. We are ready to work together with our friends from all over the world, including South Africa, towards the goal of “faster higher stronger, together”, to join hands as we welcome the Winter Olympics and usher in our joint future.
My Fellow Chinese, Friends,
The “Happy Spring Festival” event has been held in South Africa for ten years in a row. This year, we once again gather virtually because of COVID-19. Although we are not physically together, our hearts and minds are closely connected to each other.
In Chinese culture, the tiger symbolizes vitality, vigor, courage and strength. May we bring out the vigor, vitality and strength of a tiger in the Year of the Tiger, so that we all can have stronger energy and new progress in our work, national development and China-South Africa relations.
Last but not least, let us wish the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa prosperity, national peace and happiness!
May China-South Africa and China-Africa cooperation flourish and bear more fruits!
I wish all of you good health, smooth work, happiness and good luck in the Year of the Tiger!
Happy Chinese New Year to you all!