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Speech by H.E. Ambassador Zheng Zeguang at the Online Reception Celebrating the 72nd Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China: Forging ahead towards Greater Success

(From Chinese Embassy in UK)

2021-09-29 06:43

28 September 2021

Minister Milling,
British friends,
Chinese compatriots in the UK,
Ladies and Gentlemen:

On October 1st, 2021, the People's Republic of China will celebrate its 72nd anniversary. Today, with great joy and best wishes, we are gathered together online to celebrate this significant occasion.

On behalf of the Chinese Embassy in the UK, I'd like to extend our warm welcome and greetings to our British friends and Chinese compatriots here in the UK!

Seventy-two years ago, under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China and after courageous and arduous struggles, the Chinese people founded the New China and became masters of their own country. They toppled the "three mountains" on their backs, namely imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism, and realized national independence and liberation. They stood up on their feet and brought to an end over 100 years of sufferings at the hands of foreign powers. The Chinese nation embarked on a great journey towards rejuvenation.

These 72 years have witnessed tremendous transformation in China. Since the founding of New China, the CPC has united and led the Chinese people on the road of strenuous exploration and persistent efforts which has led to the creation of two "miracles" rarely seen in the world, namely, rapid economic growth and sustained social stability.

Absolute poverty is now eliminated and a moderately prosperous society in all respects is achieved. The economy has increased by about 189 times in real terms. China has grown from a backward agricultural country into the world's second largest economy and the biggest manufacturing power. Its per capita national income was merely 27 US dollars in 1949, but now its per capita GDP exceeds 10,000 US dollars.

China's interaction with the world is closer than ever. Its contribution to world peace and development is unprecedented and positive. The rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is now on an irreversible course.

History is the best textbook. What the Chinese people have learned from history is this:

Without the CPC, there would not have been New China, still less the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation; Socialism is the only way to save China, and socialism with Chinese characteristics is the only way to develop China.

The Chinese people are highly confident in the path of our own choice. We will forge ahead along this path with firm strides and achieve new and greater success.

A few days ago, after regaining freedom and returning home, Ms Meng Wanzhou said, where the Five-starred Red Flag flies, I find the beacon of faith; and if my faith has colour, it must be China red!

I believe she spoke for every Chinese citizen.

Dear friends and compatriots:

At present, the world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century. Uncertainties, risks and challenges are increasing.

Amid these unprecedented changes, China is striving forward, with confidence and in firm steps, towards building a strong and modern socialist country in a comprehensive way.

This is a China that puts the people front and centre and focuses on high-quality development.

In the fight against Covid-19, we have always regarded the safety of people's lives as the top priority and taken firm and effective measures. China was the first country to control the spread of the virus, and continued working vigorously to prevent the import and spread of new variants, so as to consolidate the hard-won prevention and control achievements.

On the economic front, we are fully and accurately implementing the new development concept, i.e., innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development. This will enable us to foster a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other so as to achieve high-quality development.

In the first half of this year, China's GDP grew by 12.7% year-on-year, and its foreign trade increased by 27.1% year-on-year. The sustained and steady recovery of China's economy contributes to the stable and smooth operation of the global industrial and supply chains, and injects strong impetus into global economic recovery.

This is a China that is opening up at a higher level and ready to share its opportunities with the world.

In China,

The Foreign Investment Law and its implementing regulations have come into force.

A system of "pre-establishment national treatment plus a negative list" has been fully established.

The manufacturing sector is now fully open.

The service sector is being opened in an orderly manner.

The number of items in the nationwide negative list has been reducing.

At the opening ceremony of the 2021 China International Fair for Trade in Services on September 2nd, President Xi Jinping announced four new measures including opening up the service sector at a higher level.

China is stepping up the implementation of anti-monopoly policies and building a market-based, law-based and open business environment.

From November 5th to 10th, China will host the fourth China International Import Expo. Businesses from all countries are welcomed at the CIIE to benefit from China's enormous market.

In a word, China will only open its market wider to the world at a higher level.

This is a China that promotes fairness, better life and common prosperity for the people.

Common prosperity is a goal that the Chinese nation has been pursuing for thousands of years. It is also an intrinsic feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

During 40 plus years of reform and opening up, China lifted 770 million rural residents out of poverty under the current standard. This accounts for over 70% of the world's total poverty reduction in the same period. Meanwhile, more than 400 million Chinese people joined the middle-income group.

Putting the people at the centre, China has given greater priority to closing the gaps between regions, between the urban and rural areas, and between different income groups. We have entered a historical stage to focus on achieving common prosperity for all our people.

Chinese leaders have made it clear that common prosperity is not egalitarianism. Nor is it attainable overnight. It is more than mere material wealth, but rather, it is about both material and spiritual enrichment that can be accomplished only through down-to-earth, step-by-step and sustained efforts.

This is a China that promotes world peace and upholds international justice.

China is always holding high the banners of peace, development and win-win cooperation. It follows an independent foreign policy of peace, remains committed to peaceful development, and promotes the building of a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind.

China stands ready to join hands with other countries to champion the universal values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom, and uphold the international system with the United Nations at the core and the international order with international law as the basis. China strongly opposes hegemony and power politics, and strongly rejects Cold-War mentality, creation of coteries, and other moves that would lead to division or confrontation.

China will always be a defender of world peace, contributor to global development, upholder of international order and provider of public goods.

China has never bullied, oppressed or enslaved other nations, and will never allow any external force to bully, oppress or enslave its own people. Attempts to contain or besiege China never succeeded in the past and are doomed to fail in the future. No force can stop the Chinese people from making further progress.

This is a China that honours its commitments and shoulders its due responsibilities.

China has actively supported the international response to the pandemic and global economic recovery.

China has provided two billion US dollars in aid to other developing countries,

donated Covid control supplies to more than 150 countries and 13 international organisations,

offered over 1.25 billion doses of finished and bulk vaccines to more than 100 countries and international organisations, and

will strive to provide a total of two billion doses to the world by the end of this year.

On top of this, China is fully implementing the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative for Poorest Countries and has offered the highest deferral amount among the G20 members. In the coming three years, China will provide another three billion dollars in international aid to support the pandemic response and economic and social development in other developing countries.

On tackling climate change and preserving bio-diversity, China has been true to its belief that man and nature should coexist in harmony and accelerated green and low-carbon development. Our goal is to peak carbon emissions before 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. In other words, we will leap from carbon peak to carbon neutrality in a much shorter time than the developed countries did. This is China's positive contribution to the global efforts in realising the climate goals set in the Paris Agreement.

We will also provide strong support to other developing countries in their green and low-carbon development, including no more new coal-fired power projects abroad.

In two weeks, the first part of the CBD COP15 meeting will be held in Kunming. China is ready to engage all parties in discussions on biodiversity preservation.

Dear friends and compatriots:

The past 72 years has also seen how the China-UK relations evolved. Since the establishment of diplomatic relationship, the China-UK relations, despite ups and downs, has made historic progress on the whole and delivered tangible benefits to the peoples of both countries.

In recent years, this relationship encountered some setbacks. This does not serve the interest of our peoples or our two countries.

In the past three months since I arrived in London, I have met with many British friends from different circles. They agree that there is a deficit in mutual understanding between our two countries. There is much misperception and not enough trust. The potential for cooperation is far from being fully tapped. Now is the time to change this situation. It is my hope that our two sides will make concerted efforts in the following aspects:

First, have a right understanding of each other's development.

China always values peace, good neighbourliness and harmony, and it has been faithfully practicing these values. China's development poses no threat to any country. On the contrary, it creates opportunities for common development. We do not see the UK as an adversary or a threat. Quite the opposite, we regard the UK as a partner for dialogue and cooperation.

It is hoped that people in the UK would see China as it is, transcending ideological barrier and rejecting the misperception that China is a "systemic competitor" or even a threat. This is the right choice to make because it is in line with the interests of the UK and the common interests of our two countries.

Second, respect each other.

Countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are all equals. No country is superior to others. The people have the right to choose a development path that suits the national conditions of their own country. No other country has the right to interfere in this process. Long-term and steady cooperation between countries is determined by whether they can respect each other's sovereignty, security and development interests.

China and the UK have different views on certain issues. That is nothing to be afraid of. The key is to keep the door to communication open and engage in candid dialogue on the basis of equality and mutual respect. Only in this way can we narrow differences, expand consensus and build up mutual trust.

Third, expand exchanges and cooperation.

China-UK cooperation enjoys enormous potential and promising prospects. Under the principle of mutual benefit, our two sides should expand cooperation in trade, investment, financial services, infrastructure, clean energy and green development, and deepen friendly exchanges in the areas of education, culture, sports and tourism. Such cooperation will bring real benefits to the peoples of both countries.

It is important that our two governments foster a sound and stable political environment and a fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment for the exchanges and cooperation between our two sides.

Fourth, display the courage to shoulder responsibilities as major countries.

As countries of global significance, China and the UK have every reason to contribute more to the progress of mankind.

Our two sides need to enhance communication and coordination on major global issues such asCovid-19 response, economic recovery and climate change. We should leverage our respective strengths and help developing countries meet the challenges from diseases, poverty and environmental deterioration. And we should make greater contribution to safeguarding world peace and promoting common development.

Dear friends and compatriots:

A Chinese poem has these lines:

From the banks of Yangzi, apes moan ceaselessly.

My boat's passed ten thousand mountains briskly.

China today is standing tall independently and confidently. Tomorrow will promise greater vitality and prosperity for the country. It is our sincere hope that countries of the world will live in peace, engage in friendly cooperation and join hands to build a community with a shared future for mankind.

As I reflect upon the past three months, I believe that there is a deep reservoir of goodwill between the Chinese and British peoples. They all aspire to more exchanges and cooperation with each other. The bond between our peoples has strengthened my confidence in the improvement and development of the China-UK relations.

The road always has twists and turns, but it will definitely lead to a bright future. As long as our two sides follow the principles of mutual respect, equality and win-win cooperation, and work in the same direction, the China-UK relations will return to the right track and keep moving forward.

In conclusion, I wish the People's Republic of China ever-lasting prosperity! I wish the Chinese and British peoples happiness and well-being!

Thank you!

* * *

On 29 September 2021, the Chinese Embassy in the UK held an online reception celebrating the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Ambassador Zheng Zeguang delivered a speech titled "Forging Ahead Towards Greater Success". Ms Amanda Milling, Minister of State for Asia at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Mr Stephen Perry, Chairman of the 48 Group Club, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, Chair of the China-Britain Business Council, and Professor Martin Albrow, Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences of the UK, made remarks at the event.

Over 600 guests attended the event online, including Members of the House of Lords and House of Commons, heads of renowned universities and educational organisations, scientific and technological research, academic and cultural institutions, friendship societies and mainstream media outlets, representatives of international organisations, diplomatic envoys, representatives of the Chinese community, enterprises and students in the UK. Consul General to Manchester Mr Zheng Xiyuang, Consul General to Edinburgh Mr Ma Qiang, Consul General to Belfast Ms Zhang Meifang, and Director-General of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London Mr Gilford Law were also present at the event.

The reception started with the Chinese national anthem "March of the Volunteers" followed by a short video "Beautiful China", displaying the majestic beauty of the country and the tremendous achievements it has made in economic and social progress, and concluded with piano solo "Ode to the Yellow River", piano duet "Laideronnette, Empress of the Pagodas", and soprano solo "I love you, China", performed by Chinese and British artists and students.

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