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A Festival of Family Reunion
Chinese Lunar New Year - Year of the Pig

February is a festival of family reunion, a celebration of the Lunar New Year and the Spring Festival.

“It is also the most important occasion to appreciate and celebrate what has been done in the past year and wish for a more prosperous and happy New Year. In Chinese culture, the year of the Pig means good luck, good health, prosperity and happiness,” said Ambassador Lin Songtian of China to South Africa.

Photo: Ambassador Lin Songtian of China to South Africa and Minister of Tourism for South Africa, Derek Hanekom at the celebration.

He was addressing the 1000 guests that had gathered at the Sun Arena in Pretoria to join in on the festivities on a Sunday afternoon on February 3 2019


“Today, we are hosting this Reception for three major purposes: first, to express our sincere appreciation for the important contribution you have made to promote China-SA relations, to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, mutual understanding and friendship; second, to jointly pray for a new development of China-SA relations and more benefits to our two peoples in the new year; and third, to appreciate together with our friends the diverse Chinese tradition and culture, and share happiness, prosperity and harmony of the Chinese New Year. And most importantly, through this event we expect sincerely more exchange of tourists and investors between South Africa and China,” said Ambassador Lin Songtian.

The Martial Arts Troupe from Tianjin travelled to South Africa to present a special cultural show to honour the occasion, The Shunde Chinese Restaurant treated the guests to traditional Chinese cuisine. The celebratory event also signified the beginning of 21 years of China South Africa relations and 41 years of reform in China which opened up the country and has led to many successes for the rapid development of the country and its radical transformation.    


Highlighting the significant achievements Ambassador Lin pointed out that the Communist Party of China (CPC) has united and led the Chinese people to stay committed to the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics suited to China’s national conditions, stay committed to economic development as the central task, and stay committed to the people-centered philosophy of development, transforming China from an extremely poor and backward country to now the world's second largest economy, the largest manufacturer, the largest trader of goods, and the largest holder of foreign exchange reserves, the second largest consumer market, and the third largest foreign investor. And by the end of 2020, poverty will be completely eliminated across the entire 1.4 billion Chinese population. China has created a new development miracle for  mankind and set up a new model for world human rights, said Ambassador Lin.
China’s GDP in 2018 surpassed US$ 13.7 trillion, registering an increase of 6.6% over the year before; China’s total trade of goods exceeded US$ 4.62 trillion, increasing by 12.6% over the last year. Particularly, China’s export to the USA increased by 11.3%. In 2018, there were 18,000 new enterprises registered in China every day; over 13.6 million new jobs were created; and over 10 million rural residents were lifted out of poverty.

In 2018, while the Belt and Road Initiative achieved great success. China successfully held the first ever International Import Expo in the world a demonstration of a firm commitment to opening up its market, and sharing the opportunities with the rest of the world for common development .

2018 was momentous year for China-South Africa and China-Africa relations. In July, H.E. President Xi Jinping paid a successful state visit to South Africa for the third time and attended the BRICS Johannesburg Summit, making South Africa the only country in the world that President Xi paid three state visits to. In September, H.E. President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa paid his first and successful state visit to China and co-chaired the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing Summit with President Xi.

“Such intensive interactions and in-depth exchanges between the two heads of state have greatly enhanced political and strategic mutual trust between our two countries.

“China has become South Africa’s largest trading partner for ten consecutive years and most important source of foreign investment and tourists.

“South Africa has become China’s biggest trading partner in Africa for nine consecutive years. Last year, our bilateral trade reached US$43.55 billion, an increase of 11.18% over the year before. Up to now, direct investment from China to South Africa has reached over US$ 25 billion, creating more than 400,000 jobs for South Africans.

“The year 2019 will be the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. The Chinese Government and people are ready to seize the new opportunity of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, continue to deepen reform and keep opening up, and promote innovative and high-quality development domestically. And China will be sure to make greater contribution to the building of a community of shared future for mankind and a new type of international relations.

“2019 will the year of golden harvest for China-South Africa relations. The blueprint has been drawn up by our two heads of state. Our common mission now is to take actions, actions, and actions. China is ready to work closely with the South African side to implement each and every important consensus reached by the two heads of state and the outcomes of FOCAC Beijing Summit. China is ready to support South Africa to become a locomotive and production base for African industrialization and modernization and the pilot country for connecting the Belt and Road Initiative with Africa, and of course become the best destination for Chinese tourists in Africa, so as to make China-South Africa comprehensive strategic partnership more productive and beneficial to our two countries and two peoples,” said Ambassador Lin.

He concluded by expressing his wishes for a happy, peaceful and prosperous Chinese New Year of the Pig!

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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February 2019

 
 
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