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Speech by Chargé d'Affaires a.i. Chen Wen at the Online Celebration of the Chinese New Year Hosted by the Chinese Embassy in the UK: Leave Winter behind and Sail into Spring
Chinese Embassy in the UK, 8 February 2021

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends:

Good morning!

It is a real honour and pleasure to have you with us at the Online Celebration of the Chinese New Year!

In three days, we will mark the New Year’s Eve and ring in the Year of the Ox. In the Chinese culture, ox is a symbol of hard work and good fortune, and the Year of the Ox promises fair wind, favourable rain and bountiful harvest. I would like to wish everyone present today a smooth and successful Year of the Ox!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends:

The year 2020 was not an easy year for anyone anywhere in the world. Global economic recession was precipitated by the raging pandemic around the world. International travel was severely disrupted. Despite the hardship we experienced, we have managed to continue forging ahead together.

The year 2020 was an extraordinary year for China. The Communist Party of China led the Chinese people to overcome the difficulties and turn in a report that has won the recognition of both the Chinese people and the international community. In particular, we made important achievements in the following four aspects:

First, we made important achievements in the prevention and control of Covid-19.

In fighting the epidemic, we have put the people at the centre of our work and given top priority to saving lives. The people across the country are united in this battle.

  • In a little more than one month, we achieved preliminary success in containing the spread of the virus.
  • In about two months, we reduced the number of daily new cases to single digit.
  • In about three months, the battle of Wuhan and Hubei, the epicenter of the outbreak, witnessed a decisive victory.

These extraordinary achievements will be remembered as a courageous feat in the history of mankind’s battle against disease.

In China, at the moment, the spread of Covid-19 is on the whole and effectively contained, steady progress has been made in vaccination, and all sectors of the society are working hard to consolidate the hard-won results.

Second, we made important achievements in economic and social progress.

The people of China have displayed a persevering spirit despite the epidemic, by accelerating the new development paradigm, pursuing high-quality development at a deeper level, and getting ready for the 14th Five Year Plan after successfully completing the 13th Five Year Plan.

China was the first major country in the world to have resumed normal economic activities, and the first to have achieved positive growth, with economic aggregate exceeding 100 trillion RMB yuan for the first time and grain production hitting an all time high for the 17th year in a row.

In the field of scientific research, important breakthroughs were made in space and deep-sea explorations, highlighted by the Mars mission of Tianwen-1, the lunar probe Chang’e-5 and the manned submersible Fendouzhe.

Third, we made important achievements in building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects.

Various obstacles have been overcome to enable these historic achievements.

China hit its poverty reduction target as scheduled. According to the current standards, nearly 100 million rural residents and 832 counties have been lifted out of poverty. Absolute poverty has been eradicated, which represents a historic achievement and a “China Miracle” in the history of man’s battle against poverty.

Fourth, we made important achievements in delivering the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind.

We rose up and took our responsibility, and made new, important contribution to world peace and global development.

In the battle against Covid-19, China has taken an active part in international cooperation. As of today, China has provided assistance to more than 150 countries and 13 international organisations, and sent 36 teams of medical experts to countries in need.

President Xi Jinping emphasized, “It is especially important to scale up cooperation on the R&D, production and distribution of vaccines and make them public goods that are truly accessible and affordable to people in all countries.”

China has made vigorous efforts to promote international cooperation in this aspect; we have offered assistance or supplied vaccine to some countries in need; and we also announced the decision to provide 10 million doses of vaccine to COVAX. These efforts are aimed at enhancing accessibility and affordability of vaccines in developing countries, and they have provided positive energy to the building of a global community of health for all.

In the economic area, China has deepened business cooperation and opened its door wider to share opportunities for development with the rest of the world. We have signed RCEP, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, completed negotiations on the China-EU Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, and made vigorous efforts to promote the high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative. Through these efforts, China has provided key impetus for global economic recovery.

China has also held high the banner of multilateralism.

  • We supported international cooperation on climate response;
  • We announced the new nationally determined contributions, including peaking carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality before 2060;
  • We proposed the Global Initiative on Data Security;
  • And we took the initiative to lead the new reforms in the global governance system.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends:

The year 2021 is a critical year for both China and the world.

China will celebrate the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party of China and embark on a new journey of implementing the 14th Five Year Plan and building a modern socialist country in all aspects.

Countries of the world will continue to face multiple challenges, including fighting the pandemic, reinvigorating the economy, bridging divisions and rebuilding trust.

As a Chinese saying goes, heaven has its own law and those who follow the right path will go far.

Last month, President Xi Jinping spoke at the World Economic Forum Virtual Event of the Davos Agenda. The title of his special address was “Let the Torch of Multilateralism Light up Humanity’s Way Forward”. This address has outlined, loud and clear, “China’s solution” on where we should be going at this historical crossroads.

China firmly believes that solidarity and cooperation are the right way to meeting global challenges.

The battle against Covid-19 reminds us, once again, that mankind belongs to a community with a common future where we share weal and woe. Today’s world still faces severe challenges such as challenges to public health, extreme poverty, climate change, and depleting bio-diversity.

Both the need to address the current challenges and the task of building a brighter future call for countries of the world to replace division with solidarity, and to enhance dialogue and communication. Only by stepping up global actions, global response and global cooperation can we find opportunities amid the crisis and turn the crisis into opportunities. Only by joining hands can we overcome all kinds of difficulties and challenges.

China firmly believes that open and win-win cooperation is the right way to world economic recovery.

The world is experiencing the most severe economic recession since the end of the Second World War. The global industrial chain and supply chain are seriously disrupted, and trade and investment remain sluggish.

No country can address such a severe situation alone. Unilateralism or protectionism offers absolutely no solution to the crisis. It is important that countries of the world follow the open and win-win spirit, enhance coordination on macro-economic policies, safeguard the stable and smooth operation of the global industrial chain and supply chain, and ensure the steady and sound development of the global financial system. Only through these efforts can we bring the world economy out of the recession at an early date.

China firmly believes that inclusiveness and mutual learning are the right way to common progress.

Countries may differ in history, culture and development stage, but they are all equals.

A beautiful painting is made with different colours. A beautiful world depends on different countries, regions and civilisations coexisting in peace and learning from each other on the basis of mutual respect and seeking common ground despite differences. This will provide strong impetus for the progress of the overall civilisation of mankind.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends:

A few days ago, Ambassador Liu Xiaoming completed his eleven-year tour of office in the UK and returned to China. In 13 days, I will also complete my tenure here and leave, once again, the country where I had studied and worked for nearly ten years.

As we are about to say goodbye, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all the friends who have provided support and assistance to me in my work! I would also like to share with you my three hopes:

I hope visionary people from all sectors of our two countries will work together to promote closer China-UK cooperation and contribute more positive energy to China-UK relations.

I hope our two sides will keep in mind the big picture, follow the trend of our time, and respect and trust each other, so as to ensure the sound and steady development of this important relationship and deliver more benefits to the peoples of both countries and beyond.

And I hope all my friends will continue to support the endeavour of the Chinese Embassy in the UK and my successor Minister Yang Xiaoguang.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends:

Counter flows cannot turn back the current of the time; the cold winter cannot stop the steps of spring.

I believe that as long as we follow the major trend of solidarity and coordination, open and win-win cooperation, inclusiveness and mutual learning, mankind will sail into a better future.

I also believe that with the care of visionary people from both countries, China-UK relations will embrace a warm and bright spring!

Before conclusion, I would like to take this opportunity to convey the greetings from Ambassador Liu Xiaoming. During his eleven years in the UK, Ambassador Liu celebrated ten Chinese New Years with British friends from all sectors. He wishes his old friends a happy and prosperous Year of the Ox!

Thank you!

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