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Remarks by H.E. Mr. Zhang Yiming at the Reception of 2019 Chinese New Year Gala
2019/01/23

Hon. Peter Hitjitevi Katjavivi, Speaker of the National Assembly of Namibia,

Hon. Margaret Mensah Williams, Chairperson of the National Council,

Honorable Ministers and other distinguished guests,

Dear compatriots, Namibia friends,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As the Chinese Lunar New Year is coming, we, the oversea Chinese in Namibia and our Namibian friends gather here tonight to celebrate the most important Chinese traditional festival. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Namibia, I would like to extend my warm greetings to all our Chinese compatriots, to pay high respect to all Chinese and foreign friends who care and support the development of China-Namibia relations, and to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the friends who have devoted themselves to this gala!

In the past year of 2018, our great motherland flourished and thrived. Faced with various complicated and serious risks and challenges, the Chinese economy vessel has moved forward steadily and soundly. The coordinated development of Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei has been performing well, Yangtze River Delta Economic Belt and Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area are under smooth construction. China Manufacturing, China Creation, and China Construction have become the world’s sensations. “Beidou” Global satellite navigation set the fastest record for completing global satellite navigation system, and Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge created a new miracle in the human history. China also invented the thinnest glass, the lightest subway, the largest amphibious aircraft and plenty of scientific and technological achievements in the world. The 1.3 billion Chinese people have written a magnificent epic of national rejuvenation in the new era!

Our foreign friends may ask, what is the "secret" of China's rapid development? As President Xi Jinping pointed out, "Reform and opening-up was the key factor determining the fate of contemporary China". 2018 is the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up. In the past 40 years, the proportion of China’s economy in the world's economy has jumped from 1.8% to 15%, China's per capita GDP has grown from 385 yuan RMB to nearly 10,000 US dollars. More than 700 million people have been lifted out of poverty and a group of more than 400 million middle-income nationals has come into shape. China has transformed from a poor and weak country to the world's second largest economy. Reform and opening up enabled China to achieve tremendous leaps and changes, which every Chinese people should be proud of!

In 2018, we solemnly celebrated the 40th anniversary of reform and opening up, successfully held the first China International Import Expo, launched the Hainan Pilot Free Trade Zone, and vigorously promoted the “Belt and Road” Initiative, all of which show that China’s reform will not stagnate, and the door will open even wider." We believe that the ancient China was splendid, the modern China is like a phoenix reborn, and the future China will be even more fascinating!

My fellow compatriots, dear friends,

In the past year of 2018, China’s diplomacy was quite fruitful. The Central Conference on Foreign Affairs has established the guiding position of Xi Jinping's Diplomatic Thoughts and made clear the course for the diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in new era. We hosted four major events: the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference, the Qingdao Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, and China International Import Expo. Each of the four events has its own characteristics and related to one another, which highlights the new look, and new achievements of China's diplomacy. Facing the negative movements such as trade frictions provoked by the United States, we have withstood the pressure, kept our concentration and firmly safeguarded our legitimate rights and interests. Facing the surging protectionism and anti-globalization tide, China firmly defended multilateralism and free trade, held high the banner of building a community of shared future for mankind, embodied China's image of a responsible major country, and injected positive energy into the stormy international situation.

In the past year of 2018, China-Africa relations have scored extraordinary achievements. Africa is vital foundation of China’s diplomacy and African people are our most reliable allied force. In September 2018, the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation was successfully held, 54 African representatives including 50 heads of state and government attended the summit. President Xi Jinping proposed a "five-no" approach and Eight Major Initiatives for China-Africa cooperation in the next three years and beyond. The summit has adopted a blueprint for China-Africa cooperation in the new era, and has become a monument in the history of China-Africa relations. So far, 37 African countries have joined “Belt and Road” family, making Africa the largest contributor to the “Belt and Road” cooperation in terms of number of member countries. In the future, China and Africa will continue upholding the principle of win-win cooperation, and work with our friends to build a much closer community of shared future between China and Africa.

In the past year of 2018, there was a lot of good news in China-Namibia relations. If we use one word to describe our bilateral relations, in 2017 it should be "difficult" while in 2018 it was "new", new relationship, new pragmatic cooperation and new people-to-people exchanges.

First of all, the relationship between the two countries has become better and better. China has been a strong supporter for Namibian independence struggle and a reliable partner for the Namibian national development. In 2018, President Hage Geingob visited China twice. The two heads of state met 3 times in 6 months. The Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China, Li Zhanshu, successfully visited Namibia. Our bilateral relations have entered a new era of comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.

Secondly, pragmatic cooperation has deepened, which includes China space tracking, telemetry and command station, Husab uranium mine, Namibian beef and oysters export to China and etc. China help Namibia build ports, highway which connect various regions of Namibia. The “Belt and Road” MOU outlines a bright future of China-Namibia strategic synergy. It is worth noting that in 2018, China has become Namibia’s largest export market. China-Namibia practical cooperation is opening up a magnificent and beautiful picture.

Thirdly, the two peoples have become closer. In 2018, more than 40 outstanding students from Namibia went to China for further study funded by Chinese Government Scholarship. More than 300 elites from all walks of life of Namibia went to China to participate in training and research projects. More than 400 primary and middle school learners from all over Namibia received the Chinese Ambassador Scholarship and 10,000 children from poor families received Panda Packs (schoolbags with stationeries and books) donated by ordinary Chinese people. The flower of the China-Namibia Friendship bloomed on the vast land of 820,000 square kilometers. Now, Namibian people can take the fresh water fish produced in the Hardap Aquaculture Center. Children in Windhoek can go to the Chairman Mao Zedong Middle School to study. Teenagers who dropped out of school can go to the Youth Training Center to learn some professional skills. Children in Windhoek international SOS village can drink the clean water from new pipes. The people in Kavango East can enjoy fresh vegetables from the China-aided Greenhouse. Some children from Zambezi Region have moved into the bright new hostel, and the people from Havana community can used the flushing toilets for the first time in their life... With all the good deeds and projects, we demonstrate our sincerity and win respect through actions. Everyone agrees that there is less trouble and more good news happening between China and Namibia now, and there are less estrangement and more trust between the two peoples. Besides, there are more thumbs-up and less criticizing comments on my Facebook. The friendship between the two peoples has reached a new high level.

Happiness is achieved through hard work, and achievements are obtained through strivings. Chinese enterprises and overseas Chinese roll up their sleeves and work hard together, thus making the relationship between China and Namibia turning up again. Over the past year, in a spirit of dedication, Chinese enterprises and overseas Chinese, Confucius Institute at UNAM and Chinese medical team have pressed on and keep forging ahead, and therefore have contributed enormously to China-Namibia comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership. A large number of brilliant models and good deeds sprung up.

To promote China-Namibia pragmatic cooperation, Chinese enterprises have actively supported Namibia to construct buildings, roads and bridges, which have given 10,000 people decent jobs. The output of Husab uranium mine has risen rapidly and will increase Namibia's GDP growth by 5% every year after it reaches target product. The Chinese Harbor Engineering has completed 95% of its Walvis Bay project. After completion, Walvis Bay will rank among the most important ports along the west coast of Africa. Yang Xiaohui, an engineer working in Nuctech, during his 6-year stay at the eastern border, has always been dedicated to his career. Retired Colonel Wang Tao spent his Christmas and New Year holidays to build vegetable greenhouse in Kavango regions in spite of poor conditions. Li Zhou, a graduate from China Agricultural University, in order to make local people eat freshwater fish, has resided in the suburb of Outapi Town. Rong Daohua from Guangxi Overseas Company has been engaged in Namibia's infrastructure construction for 20 years... Let us pay tribute to these outstanding people with warm applause!

The work of the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Namibia (CCCI) has reached a new high. Chairman Fu Xinli led the new team to forge ahead. The Chinese businessmen now shared the same goals and work in unison. CCCI has its permanent office for the first time. They dealt with financial and tax cases, successfully completed the reorganization of Chinatown and held a tax law lecture to raise the legal awareness of overseas Chinese. Let me take some examples. Mr. Gu Di from pre-fabricated houses company spent more than several hundred thousand Namibian dollars and voluntarily constructed hostels for Impalila Combined school. Li Shunhong from Hong Kong NAMAX Pharmaceuticals donated 7000 Hepatitis E Rapid test Diagnostic Kits to the Namibian Ministry of Health, so far the largest donation of this sort; Several Chinese businessmen donated money and materials to help Chairman Mao Zedong high school to build a square before its front. What’s more, Chinese businessmen assisted Chinese Embassy in Namibia to award Chinese Ambassador Scholarship, from Outapi, Oshikango, Katima and Rundu to Mariental and Rehoboth, from Walvis Bay, Swakopmund to Gobabis, they donated money and commodities to local beneficiary schools, fully demonstrating the patriotic enthusiasm and the spirit of fraternity, which won the respect of more local people. China Council for the Promotion of Peaceful National Reunification in Namibia has faithfully performed its duty and worked hard to promote the great cause of our reunification.

In 2018, the Confucius Institute worked vibrantly and brilliantly. Chinese Bridge-Chinese proficiency matches and the series of its 5th Anniversary Celebration were launched one after another. There have been more and more volunteers and teaching spots. Learning Chinese has become a new fashion for Namibians. Chinese medical team in Katutura hospital has been working remarkably. In the past 22 years, they have provided free Chinese medicine services for more than 100000 people. They also launched some charity treatment and health lectures. The "Chinese medicine fever" has become a fairly common practice. The engineers working in China space tracking, telemetry and command station are serving unacknowledged for the successful launch of the "Chang'e IV". Hereby, I would like to pay high tribute to our compatriots working diligently in all fronts in the past year. I also want to express my warmest congratulations on the marvelous achievements made by all of you! And it is also the right time to express our appreciation to all of you and your family members for their selfless support! Our motherland is proud of you! Cheers for you, and I want to give you a thumb-up!

Dear compatriots and friends,

In Chinese culture, pigs are not only charming and cute, but also mellow and festive, which imply auspiciously promotion and prosperity. Golden pigs welcome spring. I believe that through unremitting efforts of everyone, 2019 must be a good and harvest year! I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy and prosperous new year!

2019 is the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. It is also a crucial year for building a prosperous society in all respects and achieving the first centenary goal. 2019 is also the first year after establishing China-Namibia comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership. There is no doubt that our political mutual trust will be further consolidated, economic and trade cooperation will be closer and people-to-people exchanges will be more frequent in this year. China-Namibia friendship will reach a new high and open a new chapter. In order to further expand the cultural exchanges between the two countries, I propose to establish the "Chinese Ambassador Education Fund" to bring together the love of all to assist Namibia's education. I hope that Chinese enterprises and overseas Chinese can participate in this noble cause positively. Let us join hands and work together, seizing new opportunities, to realize the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation and add more credit to the bright future of China-Namibia relations!

I would like to propose a toast:

To our motherland prosperity,

To China-Namibia friendship,

To all overseas Chinese,

Wish you good luck, happy and healthy!

Cheers!

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