|Speech at the National Day Reception to Mark the 59th Anniversary of the People's Repubolic of China|
by H.E. Mr. ZHOU Yuxiao, Chinese Ambassador to Liberia
October 1, 2008
Honorable Chief Justice
Cabinet Ministers and officials,
SRSG and officials from UNMIL and the UN family,
Dean and Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Officials from UNMIL and the UN family
Friends from the media
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I wish to thank Madam President and all the distinguished guests for joining us in celebrating the 59th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
As you all know, 2008 is a very eventful year for China. Some of the events are sad and dreadful and while some are beautiful and delightful.I wish to recall some of them to mark the annual event, the National Day of the People’s Republic of China.
At the beginning of the year, China was hit by an unprecedented snow and ice disaster which destroyed much of the winter crops and public utilities like power lines and crippled all transportation for an extended period in several southern provinces which usually get little or no snow.The whole country was then mobilized to combat the natural calamity by urgently providing relief goods, rebuilding damaged structures and replanting affected farmland. With timely measures taken by the government, we have managed to reduce the disaster consequence to its minimum.For example, China’s grain harvest this year is expected to be record high, reaching 511.5 million tons, up more than 10 million tons from 2007.
On May 12, an 8.0-magnitude earthquake hit China’s Sichuan Province, killing almost 70,000，injured about 400,000, affected nearly 20 million people and devastated an area about 133,000 square kilometers covering 51 counties. The Chinese government responded immediately and humanly and the people of the nation were once again quickly mobilized for rescue and relief operations.Everybody in China was reactivated and helped the rescue and relief work in one way or another, mostly through donation.The whole international community including Liberia also reacted passionately by giving us so much material and financial support. I wish to express our sincere gratitude to the Liberian government and people and all those who stood behind us at our most difficult moment.With the joint efforts made by China and the international community, the rescue and relief operations have achieved periodical results. Now our focus of work has been shifted to the reconstruction of the earthquake area.The Chinese government has earmarked 143 billion US dollars to help rebuild the devastated area in the next three years to reach or surpass the pre-quake level in terms of living condition and economic and social development.The whole nation was shocked and grieved by the natural disaster but was not knocked off by it. Instead, the heroic and resilient Chinese people have come out of it much stronger, better prepared and more united than ever before.
Despite the above-mentioned natural disasters and man-made calamities at home and abroad, China managed to hold the 29th Olympics and the 13th Paralympics in an equally magnificent manner in August and September. The Games attracted record number of sportsmen and heads of state and government at opening ceremonies. It was said to be the most watched Game in the Olympic history.It was a joint success for China as well as the international community. China could not do it alone. The sportsmen, IOC, supporters of Olympic movement, donors, sponsors, designers of sports stadiums, broadcasters all contributed in their own way. We are happy with the number of medals won by the Chinese athletes.But what is most significant for China is not the medals, but the ability to organize such a large and complicated international event in an orderly manner, the capacity and willingness to put 40 billion US dollars into sports facilities and infrastructures to allow the young sports men and women from all over the world to realize their lifetime dream and make friends, the popularization of the Olympic Spirit “Faster, Higher and Stronger” among the 1.3 billion Chinese people, the enhanced sense ofenvironment protection among Chinese citizens, the accelerated infrastructure development in host cities, the more matured attitude towards wins and losses, the readiness to embrace the world with open hearts and smiling faces.The Olympic Games have ended.The legacy left behind will benefit and inspire the Chinese people for a long time to come.
On September 25, China successfully lunched its third manned-spaceship and one of the three astronauts took a space-walk, making China the third country in the world that has the capability to do so from its own spaceship. This represents a giant step forward in China’s space technology development for peaceful purposes and an important mile stone in China’s modernization and rejuvenation program.The whole Chinese nation is jubilant over this historical mission.We are pleased to share our joy with all of you.
2008 also marks the thirtieth anniversary of the initiation of China's reform and opening-up program that has brought about earthshaking changes which can be summarized in the following three areas: First, China has changed from a closed society to one that is widely open for cooperation with all countries in the world regardless their size, religion, ideology and political system;Second, its economic management has made historic transition from a highly centralized planned economy to a robust socialist market economy;Third, people’s life has changed from dire material shortage and poverty to abundance of consumer goods and to a relatively well-to-do life in all aspects.
As a result, China has registered an annual growth rate of nearly 10% for the last 30 years, making it the fourth largest economy in the world. Its poverty population has reduced from 250 million to 15 million.In fact, China accounted for 67% of the achievements in global poverty reduction over the past 25 years. Progress has been made in developing democracy and the legal system and in enhancing law-based governance.Greater efforts have been made to safeguard people’s rights and interests and ensure social fairness and justice.
What I have said above is just one side of a coin.Challenges and problems facing China are as numerous as its achievements, if not more. With its GDP per capita ranking behind the 100th place, China remains a developing country. Every year, China has to take care of additional population of 10 million on top of the existing 1.3 billion plus.15 million people in China’s rural areas still live in poverty.China needs to provide jobs for close to 24 million people annually.A surplus rural labor force of 100 million strong needs to be transferred to other sectors.Over 60 million people with disabilities need care and assistance.Mal-business practices like producing problematic milk powder need to be effectively dealt with. Its over-dependence on foreign trade makes its economy vulnerable. Its further reform programs are increasingly difficult to pursue. The sacred cause of national reunification is yet to be realized.Greater expectations are placed on China by the outside world.However, we are confident that these problems can be resolved through continued development and reform.
Ladies and gentlemen, the whole idea of seriously engaging ourselves in development, reform and opening-up is to eliminate poverty in China and provide a better life for the Chinese people.We believe that we are doing fine in our endeavor as China is the first country that meets all the MDG requirements so far.We are ready to share our experiences and achievements with other developing countries to facilitate their attainment of the MDGs.On September 25th, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced new aid initiative at the UN High-Level Meeting on MDGs on September 25th in New York. In the next 5 years, China will do the following things for developing countries. Some of them are exclusive for African countries:
doubling its original promise to build 30 instead of 15 agricultural technology demonstration centers;
doubling its original commitment to send 1,000 instead of 500 agricultural experts;
inviting 3,000 persons to receive training on agriculture in China;
contributing 30 million US dollars to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization to establish a trust fund;
increasing food export and food assistance;
providing 10,000 additional scholarships;
training 1,500 school masters and teachers for African countries;
equipping the promised 30 hospitals being built in African countries with appropriate number of doctors and equipment;
training 1,000 doctors, nurses and hospital managers for the above recipient countries;
writing off outstanding interest-free loans extended to the least developed countries that mature before the end of 2008;
granting zero-tariff treatment to 95% of products exported to China from the least developed countries;
building 100 small-scale clean energy projects such as small hydropower, solar power and bio-gas production facilities;
I am briefing you on China’s commitment for your supervision, in case we fail to deliver.
I wish to assure you madam President that I am fully prepared to work closer together with you and your government to get a share as big as possible out of China’s new aid basket.But that’s not good enough. To ensure greater participation in the implementation of Liberia’s PRS, I shall try my best to encourage Chinese investments in various sectors of the Liberian economy.I hope I can see some tangible results in our win-win cooperation before the completion of my duty in this great country that enjoys enormous potentials.
Madam President, I wish to take this opportunity to sincerely thank you, your government and your people for the strong and unreserved support and cooperation that you have rendered to me in fulfilling my duty during a little over one year since my arrival.Your personal grace of this occasion is a case in point.I am very pleased to see the further enhanced good relationship and friendship between our two nations.I would also like to thank my very devoted staff, all the Chinese peace keepers, aid workers, investors, contractors and business people for their respective contribution to peace and development in Liberia and to the promotion of Sino-Liberian relations and I urge you to do more, better and faster.Last but not least, my gratitude also goes to UNMIL for its effective peace-keeping role which makes our active bilateral interactions possible.
To conclude, may I invite all of you to join me in a toast
to the enhanced cooperation between China and Liberia,
to the health of Her Excellency Madam President Sirleaf and
to the health of all the distinguished guests present,