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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Xu Erwen at the Opening Ceremony of the Finals of the 20th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students and the 14th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Secondary School Students in Croatia

(From Chinese Embassy in Croatia)

2021/07/19

Good morning, everyone!

It gives me great pleasure to participate in the finals of the 20th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students and the 14th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Secondary School Students in Croatia. First of all, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Croatia, I would like to pay tribute to all the students who are committed to learning Chinese, to all the teachers who have been teaching Chinese in Croatia, and to all the friends from all walks of life in Croatia who care about and support the "Chinese Bridge".

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the "Chinese Bridge" Competition. Over the past 20 years, the "Chinese Bridge" Competition has gradually developed into a well-known brand in the field of international cultural and people-to-people exchanges. It has also become an important platform for young students from all over the world to learn Chinese, understand China, exchange ideas and enhance friendship. Last year, the Croatian competitor Maro Knežević lived up to their expectations by winning the second place in the final of world level and the European champion in the "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Secondary School Students. This has greatly inspired the enthusiasm of Croatian Chinese language lovers. It is fair to say that the "Chinese Bridge" competition has become more and more exciting, and the Croatian players have become more and more competent in competition. I hope all the contestants will make full use of this stage to show off their excellent Chinese and excellent talent skills and set off a new round of "Chinese language fever" in Croatia.

Teachers and students,

The competition this year continues last year's theme of "One World, One Family". This subject is particularly important at this time. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, countries around the world have supported each other in times of difficulty and rallied together in the fight against the pandemic. China and Croatia have joined hands to help each other through thick and thin and written a touching chapter of united resolve and cooperation in fighting the pandemic. This pandemic has made us more aware that mankind is a community with a shared future. Regardless of nationality, race or language, we all belong to the same family. Only by working together can we achieve a better future.

However, there are still cultural barriers and walls of paranoia in today's world. We need to transcend cultural estrangement through cultural exchanges and cultural conflict through mutual learning. Language is the basis for understanding differences, upholding commonalities, respecting each other and treating each other as equals. China and Croatia are different in size, population, history, culture and stage of development. But both countries share profound historical and cultural heritage and our civilizations share many similarities. I hope you will make good use of the "golden key" of the Chinese language, open the door to explore the Chinese civilization, and actively promote mutual learning, mutual respect and trust between China and Croatia, and the Eastern and Western civilizations. I believe as long as we continue to overcome the language barrier, we can reach a new level of understanding and consensus.

Teachers and students,

To understand China, one must first understand the Chinese Communist Party (CPC). This year marks the centenary of the CPC. The CPC celebrated its centenary on July 1st. In his important speech at the celebration, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and President of the people's Republic of China H.E. Mr. Xi Jinping reviewed the glorious course of the CPC's centenary struggle, looked forward to the bright prospects of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and solemnly declared that China had realized the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. We are now marching in confident strides toward the second centenary goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects. Last week, President Xi Jinping delivered another important speech at the CPC and World Political Party Leaders Summit, pointing out that the historic achievements made by the CPC and the Chinese people would not have been possible without the strong support of people around the world. The CPC is ready to continue to work with political parties and political organizations of all countries to make even greater contributions to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind and that of a better world!

Looking back at the magnificent course of the last century, the CPC has united and led the Chinese people in continuing to work hard, creating the "miracles" one after another rarely seen in the world: rapid economic development, sustained social stability, poverty eradication and peaceful rise etc. China's economy has taken off and become the second largest in the world. Its GDP has exceeded 100 trillion RMB and its per capita GDP has exceeded 10,000 US dollars. China has built the world's most comprehensive modern industrial system, and the world's largest 5G mobile communications network and high-speed railway network. A large number of landmark achievements have been made in manned spaceflight, the lunar exploration program, quantum communications, super-computing, deep-sea submersible, large aircraft manufacturing, and aircraft carriers. China has built the world's largest social security system, with basic medical insurance covering more than 1.3 billion people and basic old-age insurance covering nearly 1 billion people. China now has more than 400 million middle-income people, and nearly 800 million people have been lifted out of poverty, which is unprecedented in the history of human development.

The CPC and the Chinese people have come a long way from suffering and are fully aware of the value of peace and development, the preciousness of equity, and justice as well as the importance of democracy and freedom. Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, China has never initiated a war or occupied an inch of other countries' land. It is the only country in the world that has written peaceful development into its Constitution. Some people believe that a strong country is bound to seek hegemony, the strong to bully the weak, but China has accumulated thousands of years of historical wisdom that hegemony is bound to decline. Such words as "coercion", "bullying" and "power politics" have never been included in China's diplomatic vocabulary. We advocate and support the multilateralism based on the UN Charter and international law. In the face of the pandemic, China has provided anti-epidemic materials to more than 150 countries and 13 international organizations. In spite of its own huge demand and tight vaccine supply, China has done its best to supply more than 480 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the international community, making it the largest supplier of vaccines in the world. With a strong sense of responsibility for the future of all mankind, we believe that we need to foster broad-minded tolerance toward the understanding of values by different civilizations, and respect the explorations of different peoples to turn values into reality. By doing so, the common values of humanity will be translated into the practice of individual countries to serve the interests of their own people in a concrete and realistic way.

Teachers and students,

At the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC, President Xi Jinping pointed out that the future belongs to the young people, and our hopes also rest with them. Young people are the most active group in the whole society and the vanguard force leading the trend of our time. One hundred years ago, the CPC was founded by a group of young people struggling to find the future of national rejuvenation in a bleak China. Over the past 100 years, under the banner of the CPC, generations of Chinese youth have forged ahead and worked hard, becoming the pioneer of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. I believe that the young people of Croatia are also full of vigor and confidence, and you are a positive force in Croatia's national construction. I also hope that all of you will continue to improve your Chinese, use culture as a bridge, promote people-to-people and cultural exchanges between China and Croatia, and make more contributions to the friendship between our two countries.

Now, I declare that the finals of the 20th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students and the 14th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Secondary School Students in Croatia now begins! Best wishes to all the contestants!

Thank you!

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