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Speech at reception for 58th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China--By Consul General Fang Li

Good evening.

Welcome to the reception for celebrating the 59th anniversary of the founding the People's Republic of China.

On behalf of the entire staff of the Chinese Consulate General in Johannesburg, I am honored to welcome you to be with us tonight in celebration of the China's National Day, please allow me to express our warm congratulations to my great country and great people, let me extend cordial greetings to local Chinese people working and living here, and best wishes to the South African friends and people.

59 years ago, the People's Republic of China was founded. From then on, Chinese people have stood up. Under the leadership of the Chinese Government, the Chinese people struggle under difficult conditions and go all out to make the country strong. Through 59 years of hardworking, China has developed into a powerful modern country in the world.

30 years ago, China began to carry out the policies of reform and opening-up. From the end of the 1970s, China has successfully embarked on a road with Chinese characteristics. Along this road, China, a huge developing country, with a population of 1.3 billion, has developed from a poor and backward state into a prosperous modern country with the vigorous socialist market economy. The past three decades have seen an average GDP growth rate of almost 10 percent a year, making China the world's fourth largest economy after the United States, Japan and Germany in 2007.

The present year, 2008, is an unusual year, which shall be recorded specially in the history of both China and the world.

The year of 2008 witnessed the most terrible disasters taking place in China. In the beginning of the year, the southern parts of China suffered from a severe calamity of ice and snow. On May 12th, an 8-magnitude tremor shook Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces, leaving more than 80,000 dead and missing and millions homeless. But Chinese people do not yield to the natural catastrophe. Organized by the government, the people of all the country unite as one and work hard for the rehabilitation. Up to the present, China has achieved a major victory in earthquake relief, most people in quake-hit area have been restored to normal life and work and the reconstruction is being implemented according to plan.

The year of 2008 also sees the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games that attract world attention. Hosting the Games was more of a challenge, considering the ordeals China experienced this year, but China still present a most successful and wonderful Olympics. The Games attracted a record number of participants – 204 IOC member countries and regions. At the opening ceremony, more than 80 heads of states and governments were present, the most in Olympic history. Hosting an Olympic Games is the world's confidence towards China, and the Chinese government and people have fulfilled each and every commitment they made to the international community. Just like the theme of this Olympics "One world one dream" expressed, the Chinese people like to further enhance the mutual extensive exchanges and cooperation in creation of a better future for mankind.

At this moment I would like to express sincere thanks to those friends for their support and assistance to China earthquake relief as well as to the Beijing Olympic Games. Some of them are Chinese in South Africa, some are South African friends. The Chinese government and people will not forget their precious contribution.

Today, Sept. 25, the year of 2008, China's manned spacecraft Shenzhou-7 launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China. 3 Taikonauts, or astronauts, on the spacecraft carried out the country's first extra-vehicular activities, known as space walk, which featured China's "first step in the space." The success of the task marked a remarkable historic step in space exploration for China. Thousand-year's dream of china's flying to the sky fulfilled, which will bring great achievement for China.

The year of 2008 also marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relationship between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa. Since 1998, the exchange of high-level visits and mutual political trust between these two countries has been enhanced continuously, their cooperation in various fields has been deepened, the bilateral relations are developing in a steady, healthy and high-speed trend. With the common efforts from both sides, the cooperation between China, the largest developing country in the world, and South Africa, the most important country in Africa will have bright future.

Dear friends,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me propose a toast

to the prosperity of China and Chinese people,

to the progress of South Africa and its people,

to the friendship between our tow countries.

Thank you!

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