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Remark by Consul General LI Jiangning on the occasion of 61st anniversary of the founding of People's Republic of China


On this occasion of the 61st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and on behalf of all my colleagues of the Consulate-General I extend to you all who join us here this evening the warmest welcome.

To all representatives of the overseas Chinese Community in Johannesburg, My warmest congratulations.

To all friends who support and contribute to the development of China as well as Sino-South African relations, I say Thank You very much.

In seven days, on the first day of Oct., will be the 61st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

In the past 61 years the Chinese people have overcome many difficulties and made remarkable achievements. Especially in the last 32 years of Economic Reforms and Opening to the Outside World the Chinese economic and social development entered a fast track. Since 1949 China’s GDP has grown by 77 times and the average income increased by 100 times. In the last year even under the lingering influence of the world financial crisis the Chinese economy has maintained a healthy momentum. The latest data show that in the first half of 2010 the Chinese economy grew by 11.1% while import and export rebounded by 52.7% and 35.2%, respectively. Today’s China is no longer a closed, backward and poor country that it was61 years ago but an open, progressive and rapidly developing country. The era of “the Sick man of East Asia” is gone for good.

While at the same time we understand clearly that despite of the rapid economic development and front row ranking of the aggregate GDP and trade numbers China is still a developing country. The level of industrialization and urbanization are not very high, the capability for indigenous innovation is still limited with problems in economic structure, unbalances in development between urban and rural areas. Our per capita GDP at little over half of South Africa’s, still ranks beyond 100th in the world. We understand there is long way to go and the road ahead will not be smooth sailing. But we are confident that we can overcome the difficulties and succeed in the necessary economic transformation and sustained development for our people to lead descent, better lives.

Today’s China is an active participant, constructive member and contributor of the world community.

China’s development and world prosperity are inter-linked and interdependent.

This year also marks the 12th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between China and South Africa. Though geographically far apart China and South Africa are both important developing countries facing similar difficult tasks of development, sharing wide range of common interests and have a huge potential for cooperation. A few weeks ago President Zuma made a successful state visit to China during which the two sides signed the Beijing Declaration on establishing a comprehensive strategic relationship. This has raised the bilateral relations to a new level and a new starting line.

The exchanges and cooperation at the provincial level between China and the Gauteng and Free State, within our consular district, continued to expand. Last November the Executive Mayor of Johannesburg Mr., Masendo led a delegation to Shanghai, the two mayors signed a MOU on further developing the friendly and cooperative relationship between the two important cities. Just last week a Shanghai delegation completed a successful visit to Joburg and the two sides had a substantive and fruitful discussion on the “second step”, namely further concrete steps to take in economy, trade and investment areas that would help bring the agreement signed last year to fruition. In May this year, the Premier of the Free State visited Jiangsu, Shaanxi and Jiangxi provinces in China. Xianyang and Weinan municipalities of Shaanxi province sent delegations to Matjhabeng and Xhariep, and agreed with their counterparts, respectively, to further development of friendly relations between them. These exchanges will undoubtedly contribute to better understanding and wider cooperation between local governments and peoples of the two countries. I believe that the exchanges and inter-reactions at the provincial and local levels between the two countries will continue to flourish and give new impetus to bilateral exchanges and cooperation in all fields.

It’s been 45 days since I arrived in Joburg. What a wonderful experience that has been. I met new friends every day and each day has been a new adventure, so to speak. I can deeply feel the friendship of people of Joburg towards Chinese people, towards my colleagues and me. K felt the support of the overseas Chinese Community to me, my colleagues and deep feelings they have towards their friends, loved ones in China. Thank you.

Here allow me also mention my colleagues at the Consulate General whose help and support have been wonderful. Please raise your hands so that all can see you.

It’s great honor and big responsibility to assume the post of the Consul-General of China in Johannesburg. In the weeks, months and years to come my colleagues and I will continue to dedicate ourselves to consular services, make new efforts to strengthen contact and exchanges with local governments, businesses and the general public and do our utmost to facilitate and promote the development of friendship and cooperation between Gauteng, Free State and relevant provinces and cities in China.

Finally, a toast

To the prosperity of China

To the lasting friendship between China and South Africa

To the good health and a wonderful evening for all present.

Thank you.

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