Building on Past Achievements, Taking China-New Zealand Friendship to a New Level
Consul General He Ying Published an Article in The Star
15 August 2022
Kia Ora. My name is He Ying, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Christchurch. It’s been 4 months since I came to the South Island. Besides Christchurch, I have also visited some other cities and districts including Selwyn, Hurunui, Marlborough, Nelson, Dunedin, and Queenstown. I’m deeply impressed and happy to see the fruits of China-New Zealand cooperation wherever I go. Now, the South Island has 16 pairs of sister city relations with various provinces and cities in China, which provide efficient platforms to carry out our practical cooperation. The local governments I visited, enterprises and businessmen I talked with, are attaching great importance to the cooperation with China. In particular, Christchurch city council has formulated its international strategy, taking Guangdong Province of China as one of the priorities for its international cooperation. I met people from dairy, meat processing, construction, education and tourism sectors, as well as members of the Chinese communities, all of whom are participants, contributors and beneficiaries of our bilateral practical cooperation. The passion and commitment of the South Island community to China-New Zealand friendship and cooperation has made me deeply aware that this relationship has brought tangible benefits to both people, thus filled me with a sense of responsibility for my work as the Consul General.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between China and New Zealand. Over the past 50 years, China-New Zealand relations have weathered international changes and become a successful example of win-win cooperation between countries with different social systems, histories, cultures, and development stages. Cooperation between our two countries has reaped fruitful outcomes, especially in economic and trade fields. The signing of the FTA in 2008 has boosted bilateral trade in goods from NZ$9 billion to NZ$35.5 billion by 2021. This hard-won result is achieved through the relentless efforts of both sides and thus deserves to be cherished and maintained by both sides. Currently, China is New Zealand’s largest trading partner, export market and source of trade surplus. Our economies are complementary. New Zealand products can meet China’s growing demand for high-quality products, while the Chinese market makes positive contribution to New Zealand’s economic development, income growth and job creation. Meanwhile, “made in China” products like home appliances, inexpensive and of good-quality, provide more choices for New Zealand’s consumers and are welcomed by the Kiwis as well. Our two countries and peoples have achieved mutual benefit and win-win results.
China now has a population of more than 1.4 billion, a large labor force of more than 900 million, a per capita GDP of more than $12,000, a middle-income group of more than 400 million, and imports goods and services worth about $2.5 trillion every year. It’s a market with unlimited potential. New Zealand’s national brand as a clean, green, open, friendly country and its high-quality products are very popular in Chinese market. As New Zealand’s biggest trade partner, China accounts for about 30% of New Zealand’s foreign exports of goods and services. In 2021, China accounts for 42% of total exports of New Zealand’s dairy products, 42% of total exports of meat and 65% of total exports of wood products. There is also a growing demand in China for New Zealand’s wine, honey, fruits, seafood, etc., all of which are mainly produced in the South Island. In April this year, the Upgrade Protocol of China-New Zealand FTA came into force, giving new momentum to deepen our bilateral practical cooperation.
New Zealand enjoys a good reputation among Chinese tourists for its natural scenery. Before the pandemic, most of the nearly 400,000 Chinese tourists who visited New Zealand came to the South Island. Close to 4000 Chinese students studied in the South Island, in Christchurch, Dunedin, Invercargill, Nelson and other places. Many of them were attracted by New Zealand’s multicultural society and chose to stay here and live a happy life. Chinese companies actively participate in the South Island’s urban construction and economic development. Wherever I go in the South Island, I can feel the enthusiasm of local people in developing China-New Zealand relations and their appreciation for Chinese companies, Chinese students and local Chinese communities. This makes me deeply moved and proud. On Aug.1, New Zealand reopened its borders. Like many New Zealanders, I also look forward to welcoming Chinese students, tourists and entrepreneurs back to New Zealand for sightseeing, study, investment and business.
This year also marks the 125th anniversary of the birth of Rewi Alley. Rewi was a great hero of Canterbury and one of the most respected international friends of the Chinese people. He came to China in 1927 and lived in China for 60 years, dedicating his life to China’s development and the friendship between our two countries. When visiting Rewi Alley memorial park and relevant commemoration facilities in Selwyn and Hurunui, I was deeply touched by his internationalism of loving peace and pursuing justice, his “Gung Ho spirit” of arduous struggle and “work hard, work together”, his educational philosophy of “hand and mind, create and analyse”, as well as his boundless love and selfless dedication to the Chinese people. This year, our Consulate General plans to hold a series of events to celebrate and commemorate the 50th anniversary of China-New Zealand diplomatic relations and the 125th anniversary of Rewi Alley’s birth. We welcome our Kiwi friends’ active participation.
Our Consulate General will make full use of our resources and do our best to promote friendly relations and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries. China has made new adjustments to the measures on Covid-19 prevention and control. Many cities in China have shortened their entry quarantine time. The Chinese embassies and consulates abroad including our consulate general, have already started to accept visa applications to China. As before the pandemic, if you want to apply for business or visit visa, you only need to provide an invitation letter from a partner in China. We welcome more Kiwi friends to China with open arms.