Speech at 2017 Chinese New Year Reception by Dr Zhao Yongchen, Consul General
Hon Annastacia Palaszczuk MP, Premier of Queensland and Minister for the Arts,
Mr Tim Nicholls MP, Leader of the Opposition,
Hon Kate Jones MP, Minister for Education and Minister for Tourism and Major Events
Hon Leeanne Enoch MP, Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
Hon Grace Grace MP, Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, Minister for Racing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs
Cr Adrian Schrinner, Deputy Mayor and Lord Mayoral Representative of Brisbane
Other MPs, Councillors, local Chinese, Chinese business and students communities,
Friends, ladies and Gentlemen, Good evening!
Warm welcome to all of you, who gather for the Chinese lunar new year. On behalf of Chinese Consulate General, I'd like to begin with my good wishes to you, wish you all the best in the new year!
Representing thousands of years of Chinese traditional culture, the Festival has unique and home-culture significance.
On the festive occasion, all Chinese families would visit relatives and friends, bringing good wishes and greetings to hometown fellows and families members. That's a great love for families and homeland.
On the festive occasion, all households would attach couplets outside their door, organise fireworks, parties, watch lion and dragon dancing, and visit the festival market, expressing their love for life and good hopes for the future.
On the festive occasion, spring is back, so are all lives, people read and write, sing and dance, in memory of the past achievements made by their forefathers. Next generations are inspired, to fight for greater peace, progress and harmony.
Every Spring Festival sees all Chinese people travelling home where they join parents for the celebration, no matter how long and tough the journey is. That's what we call spring travel, the most massive migration in human history. We have the figures that during the 40 days around the Festival of 2016, Chinese people took 2.9 billion trips by road, rail, air, and water, an enormous drive for infrastructure building, commodity and people flow, social, economic and cultural prosperity. Now, tens of millions of overseas Chinese have followed the tradition by going back to parents' homes for the Festival, a huge booster for tourism and cultural exchange between different countries and China. Business opportunities are thus sparked.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Spring Festival is an important occasion to review the past year and look to the upcoming one. In 2016, China had steady economic and social development, with 6.7% of growth in GDP, and a large group of world-class high-tech projects emerged. We have improved our education and social well-being, our fight against poverty has achieved notable progress, we are well on our way towards a relatively prosperous society. And we are confident that in 2017, our move and reform would accelerate, innovation-driven development would see new fruits, and people's life standard would be even higher.
We've seen the fast-changing world in 2016, with rising anti-globalisation, protectionism, and populism. China responded by calling for peace, development, and win-win cooperation, in favour of more peaceful development. We've successfully hosted the Hangzhou G20 Summit, leading in the global governance and development. Over 40 countries or international organisations have signed the cooperation agreement on the "One Belt One Road" initiative, as the result of the common efforts made by China and many countries. The Initiative has been well-progressed. In May this year, China would host the Summit on "One Belt One Road" International Cooperation. We share the ideas, efforts, and outcomes, with participating countries, to drive economic prosperity.
Speaking at the 2017 World Economic Forum, Chinese President Xi Jinping presented China voice and approach on the issue of globalisation and economy. He said that path leads to destination, and the development of China is essentially about Chinese people exploring a rational path under the leadership of the Communist Party. China's development brings opportunities to the world, and China has worked for and benefited from globalised economy. It is projected that in the five years to come, China would import 8 trillion dollars of products, accept 500 billion dollars of foreign investment, and invest 750 billion overseas. Total number of outbound travels by Chinese people would be 700 million. That means expanded market, capital, products, and opportunities for the world. People from the rest of the world are welcome to take the ride of China's rapid development.
Ladies and gentlemen,
If you get water from the well, keep in mind who dug the well. In 2014, President Xi visited Australia and attended the Brisbane G20 Summit, improving the bilateral relations into Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. The free trade agreement has been reached. Both governments and various communities have worked together to agree on the bringing together of two strategies: "one belt one road" and Developing Northern Australia. China-Q friendship has been deepened, with growing cooperations on all fronts. We are now in the new era featuring joint hands, development and win-win outcomes.
We held Forum on Connecting "one belt one road" and developing northern Queensland, elevating our business partnerships; we co-organised the 1st China-Australia Forum on Science and technology, innovation and commercialisation, as well as the 3rd China-Australia Film Festival. We pushed for the opening of the direct flight between Shanghai and Brisbane operated by China Eastern. All these are good instance of our friendly and pragmatic cooperative results.
2017 is the 45 anniversary of China-Australia diplomatic relations, and the Year of Tourism. We are keen to work more closely with Queensland, to step up our joint efforts and capitalise on new opportunities, in a bid to further connect one belt one road and developing northern Queensland strategies, build our connectivity, work on education, science, tourism and culture, launch more flights, and get more Chinese visitors to Queensland and more student exchange of both ways. In doing so, we can achieve higher level of win-win cooperation.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is the fourth Spring Festival that I spend in Brisbane. During the memorable time, I very much appreciate the multi-cultural and integration into Asia policies adopted by Australia. The guiding principle of multi-culturalism is similar to that of many Chinese philosophies such as "harmony and difference", "shared prosperity", "love and benefits for all". The policy helps to ensure equal social and economic opportunities, so that local Chinese are able to celebrate and share the happiness of this traditional festival with different ethnic groups. We would continue to support the multi-cultural commitment of Federal and Queensland state government, and we encourage Chinese here to contribute to local development.
Ladies and gentlemen, in Chinese Zodiac, rooster stands for honesty, punctuality and diligence. Rooster crows for abundance and harmony. I wish China-Australia and China-Queensland relations reach new height and greater fruits. I wish you good health, thriving career, and good luck in the year of rooster.