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Greetings from Zhao Zhenyu Ambassador of the People's Republic of China on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first group of chinese immigrants in Jamaica

2004-07-30 00:00

July 30th 150 years ago witnessed the arrival of the first group of Chinese immigrants in Jamaica -- 267 brave men and women. Today, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of their arrival, I'd like to join the Chinese Community in remembrance of these pioneers for their spirit to endure the untold hardships and the legacy they have left for their descendants. We have great respect to these pioneers. Having completed their back-breaking labour on the railroad construction in Panama, they moved northward and finally arrived in this "land of wood and water" as indentured labourers. First in the plantations and later in convenient stores known as "Chinese Shops" in many parts of the country, they worked hard with a dream of changing their fate and integrating with other ethnic groups in this highly diversified society. Their dream was fulfilled and their later generations have not let them down in keeping well the fine traditions, a unique combination of the Chinese values they brought from their homeland and the good qualities of the local people. Such spirit of our forefathers has guided the Chinese in Jamaica all through their entrepreneurial path.

Today, the Chinese community has already become an integral part of the Jamaican society. They have not only created plenty of wealth for this country, but also cultivated many outstanding talents in Jamaica's business, political, cultural and educational sectors. The Chinese community in Jamaica has been one of the most active, cohesive and integrated overseas Chinese communities all over the world. "Out of many, one people." No one could imagine a Jamaica without the Jamaican Chinese Community. Looking back on the past one and a half century, the Chinese people, no matter where they are, have so much to share with each other. As the forefathers of the Chinese Community and their descendants keep on working for a better life in Jamaica, their follow Chinese at home have been fighting for a strong and modernized new China. Over the past one and a half century, China has developed from a semi-feudal and semi-colonial country into an independent socialist country with initial prosperity. Especially over the past 25 years, enjoying economic growth, national unity and social progress, China has stunned the world by its achievements in raising people's living standard and won respect for its pursuance of the independent and peaceful foreign policy in the international arena. When China is confident of a more promising future, I wish to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the Jamaican Chinese Community for the support and concern they have always shown to their motherland. I am happy to see that, over the years, China and Jamaica have enjoyed excellent relations. Recent years have seen the two countries working hand in hand to build a comprehensive partnership. The good-will visits to Jamaica by Vice Premier Wu Yi and Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and Foreign Minister K.D. Knight's official visit to China have enhanced mutual trust between leaders of both countries. Our bilateral trade volume has surpassed 200 million USD in 2003. The Sino-Jamaican cooperation in fields of economy, technology, culture, education and sports has also made big strides. China and Jamaica will co-host the China-Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum in Kingston early next year, the first of its kind.

It is my belief that, the Chinese Community in Jamaica will serve as a significant bridge in keeping this momentum and furthering the relationship between the two countries. The celebration of the 150th anniversary of the first arrival of the Chinese in Jamaica has turned a new chapter in the history of the Chinese Community. Let's cherish the memory of these forefathers deep in our hearts. The future of the Chinese Community in Jamaica will be more flourishing and prosperous as our two peoples are working for a stronger China, a better Jamaica, a closer relationship between our two countries, and a more peaceful world. Our best wishes and blessing will always be with you.

                                                                                                                            Sincerely yours,

                                                                                                                              Zhao Zhenyu  

                                                                                           Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Jamaica

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