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Statement by Consul-General Dong Zhihua at the Reception Marking the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China

  (16 September 2019, Government House, Perth)


Hon. Chief Justice Peter Quinlan, Deputy of the Governor,

Hon. Mark McGowan MLA, Premier of Western Australia,

Mr. Colin Barnett, former Premier of Western Australia,

Hon. William Marmion MLA, Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Representative of Hon. Liza Harvey MLA, Leader of Opposition,

Hon. Ben Wyatt MLA, Treasurer; Minister for Finance; Aboriginal Affairs; Lands,

Hon. Paul Papalia MLA, Minister for Tourism; Racing and Gaming; Small Business; Defence Issues; Citizenship and Multicultural Interests,

Hon. Peter Tinley MLA, Minister for Housing; Veterans Issues; Youth; Asian Engagement;

Dr. Bob Tan, OAM, Chairman of the Council of Elders, Chung Wah Association,

Ms. Kate Longhurst, Director of DFAT WA State Office,

Ms Dewi Tobing, Dean of the WA Consular Corps and Consul General of the Republic of Indonesia,

Ms. Chen Yanqin, Vice President, Zhejiang People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries,

Distinguished guests from the State Government, the Consular Corp, WA business community and ethnic Chinese Community,

I wish to start by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet, the Whadjuk people of the Noongar nation, and pay my respects to their elders past, present, and emerging.

Let me first of all welcome all of you to this Reception marking the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. The 1.4 billion Chinese People and 60 million overseas Chinese take great pride in and share great joy of this historical milestone in an epic journey of China's national development. Thank you for joining us today on this important occasion.

Today we have some special guests with us, a delegation led by Ms. Chen Yanqin from Hongzhou, the capital city of WA's sister province Zhejiang. Hongzhou is home of the headquarter of the on-line retailing giant Ali Baba. Nowadays in Hangzhou, as in many other Chinese cities, by clicking the mouse or tapping the smart phone screen, everyday goods and services are delivered to your doorsteps within hours. Chinese President Xi Jinping worked in Zhejiang as governor for 6 years and was personally involved in its development endeavor.

In China, there are many cities like Hangzhou which have gone through great changes and achieved tremendous development over the past decades. As shown in the video we have just watched, millions of ordinary Chinese families have changed their lives through hard work. Added up, these small changes have become a powerful force driving China's development and progress, and making China what it is today.

During the past 70 years, China has gone through remarkable transformation from a poor and backward agrarian society to the world's second largest economy, the biggest trader of goods, the second biggest trader of services and the third largest direct overseas investor. China's per capita GDP has grown from merely 20 US dollars in 1952 to over 9700 US dollars in 2018. By 2020, China will have developed our society into a moderately prosperous one in all respects with absolute poverty eradicated. With one year left till then, the whole of society is fully mobilized to win the final phase of the war on poverty. This will be the first time in thousands of years of Chinese history that extreme poverty has been eliminated.

China's economic ascendance has also created the world's largest and fastest growing middle class, which stands at around 400 million and is still on a speedy rise. World Bank data shows that China is the source of 31 percent of global household consumption growth from 2010 to 2017. China is also the world's largest source of tourists and international students. In 2018, overseas trips made by Chinese reached the record 150 million and presently over 600 thousand Chinese students are studying abroad. Now Chinese young people have much more choices in life, far beyond the imagination of their parents' generation.

Modernizing a big country of 1.4 billion people is an endeavor unseen in the history of mankind, which means we must pursue our own path of development. What we have done is, as a Chinese saying goes, crossing the river by feeling the stones. We have constantly deepened reform and opening-up, broken new grounds and forged ahead, and found a road of socialism with distinctive Chinese feature. It has proved to be a right development path that suits China by drawing on both the wisdom of the Chinese civilization and the practices of other countries from East to West.

We believe that each country and people has the right to choose its own way of development and social system. There is no one-size-fits-all model in the world. We do not impose our system and model on other countries. And we are strongly convinced that countries should respect the choice of the people of other countries, engage in friendly exchanges and learn from each other.

China's relations with the world has also gone through remarkable transformation from one of isolation to full integration into the world economy. We started to reform and open up in 1978, joined the WTO in 2001 and embraced the world with open arms during the past 40 years. We realize that to grow our economy, we must have the courage to swim in the vast ocean of the global market. We have had our fair share of choking in the water and encountered whirlpools and choppy waves but we have learned how to swim in this process. It has proved to be a right strategic choice.

In terms of overall tariff reduction, China has accomplished more than what it committed when joining the WTO. The breadth of China's openness in services is close to the average level of developed countries. Today China has integrated itself into the international division of labor and the global industrial, innovation and value chains. China has not only benefited from economic globalization but also contributed to it. Rapid growth in China has been a sustained, powerful engine for global economic stability and expansion. In the years following the outbreak of the international financial crisis in 2008, China contributed to over 30% of global growth every year on average.

We know too well that in an era of globalization, like it or not, no country can escape from this big ocean of global economy. Any attempt to cut off the flow of capital, technologies, products, industries and people between economies, and channel the waters in the ocean back into isolated lakes and creeks is simply not possible. Indeed, it runs counter to the historical trend. In spite of the current challenges and difficulties, China remains firmly committed to all-round opening-up and building an open economy of higher standard.

We will implement the vision of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, deepen reform across the board and foster new drivers of economic and social development. We have the confidence and ability to maintain medium to high level rate of growth and deliver more development opportunities to the world while seeking our own development.

China has gone through remarkable transformation from an outsider of the international system to a builder of world peace, contributor to global development and keeper of international order. The establishment of the People's Republic of China has ended over 100 years of humiliation and opened a new chapter of our foreign relations. By the end of 1955, China had established diplomatic relations with 23 countries. As of July this year, the number has reached 178. Ever since resuming its seat in the United Nations in 1971, China has become member of more than 300 international organizations, and played an increasingly important role in global governance, including UN peacekeeping, sustainable development, climate change, counter terrorism, etc. China provides more global public goods to the world as we grow, including the Belt and Road initiative, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, etc. We help build roads and bridges. We boost demand and provide investment. In stead of taking away jobs, we create them.

All under heaven is one family. The Chinese people are ready to chart a more prosperous, peaceful future for humanity. It is a pursuit not to establish China's own sphere of influence, but to support common development of all countries. It is meant to build not China's own backyard garden, but a garden shared by all countries. As we often say in China, a single flower does not make spring, while one hundred flowers in full blossom bring spring to the garden. We believe that all countries in the world are closely linked and share converging interests. That is the very logic that President Xi Jinping called for building a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice, and win-win cooperation and a community of shared future for mankind.

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

China always view Australia as a good partner. Visionary leaders like Hu Yaobang and Bob Hawk have ushered in a golden era of mutually beneficial cooperation over the past 28 years with sustained economic growth and prosperity of both countries. Since the bilateral free trade agreement entered into force in 2015, our economies and interests are even more closely intertwined.

Western Australia has played a pioneering role in building Sino-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. The Channar Iron Ore and North West Shelf LNG projects are successful examples and remain significant today. WA export still accounts for over half of Australia's export to China. And the WA government led by Premier McGowan has a vision and dedicated commitment, as reflected by the first Asian Engagement Strategy released recently, which views Asia's rise as a once in a lifetime opportunity, and takes a whole of government approach with clear-cut priorities to diversify WA economy and create jobs.

As Minister Tinley said in the foreword, the rise of Asia is the biggest economic, social and cultural opportunity for current and future generations of Western Australians. I am very glad that China is part of it.

I feel encouraged that Premier McGowan as well as the Western mining giants spoke out loud about the importance of our relationship.

I feel encouraged by the first ever Chung Wah Cultural Festival being held in Perth this May with Minister Papalia's presence from the opening till the end.

I feel encouraged by the enthusiastic response of Chinese enterprises at the WA investment promotion round table during Treasurer Wyatt's visit to Shanghai and Hangzhou in July.

I feel encouraged by the trip in August led by the Chinese Ambassador Cheng Jingye to CITIC Pacific Mining Sino Iron Site with the good company of Minister Bill Johnston and the WA Consular Corp.

I feel encouraged that so many people in WA love Shanghai and the state government is working hard to get China Eastern to open direct flights to Perth.

I feel encouraged that the Chairman of Fortescue Metals Group, Mr. Andrew Forest, is sending us a video message on this occasion, and his wife Nicola is sitting among us tonight.

I feel encouraged by the support of the WA Chinese community, as represented by Dr. Bob Tan and many other senior members today. No matter which part of the world they came from, and how many generations they have been living here, they all want a better relationship between China and Australia.

Even though WA is not so well-known to the Chinese people as the East coast yet, I do believe that the west deserves the best and there is huge potential for us to explore. We've got to take action to let the Chinese people know more about WA, not only the iron ores or LNG, but also the vast, unspoiled beauty of the land, the Rottnest Island, the Magarit River, the Pink Lake, the lovely Quokka as well as the lobsters and wines. And on top of that the people and the culture, including the West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers, the WA Ballet, Ochescha Symphony, as well as the Universities, UWA, Curtin, ECU and Murdoch etc.

And I assume that the turnout of such a formidable audience today is a demonstration of support and solidarity for our friendship. As an old Chinese saying goes, the ocean is vast because it admits numerous rivers. It is the steady streams of mutual understanding and friendship between our two peoples that have created the vast ocean of goodwill between China and Australia. I am greatly heartened by the immense support for this relationship here in WA.

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Before conclusion, I wish to mention that China has been privileged to attract media attention for quite some time. I have recently established a facebook and a twitter account so that my activities can be more transparent, so that you can see what kind of foreign influence China has exerted in WA. More importantly, I wish to break the glass wall created by language barrier between us, to know more about WA's political and social life, and let WA know better about China.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison wrote in his Wechat account this weekend, that he will defend all Chinese Australians because they have made great contributions to Australia with a sincere heart. And I am glad that many Australian friends and companies have established their Wechat account, which has over 1 billion active users around the world.

During the past 70 years, the Chinese people never bow to difficulties, nor give in to external pressure. After 70 years, we remain true to our original aspiration and keep our mission firmly in mind, that is to meet the Chinese people's desire for a happy life, to fulfill the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation, and to make even more contributions to the world.

History did not end. Time will prove who is on the right side of history. And the world will make a fair judgment. Looking ahead, no matter the winds and storms, China will always be there!

May I wish that China become even more prosperous and the people happier. May I wish the China-Australia friendship grow stronger and practical cooperation bear more fruits. May I wish a better future for our two countries, our region and the world at large.

I thank you.

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