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Remarks by Chinese Consul-General Dong Zhihua at the 2020 Chinese Lunar New Year Reception
2020/01/23

(22 January 2020, Perth Mint)

Hon. Governor Kim Beazley AC

Hon. Premier Mark McGowan MLA

Hon. Dr Mike Nahan MLA,representative of Hon. Liza Harvey, Leader of Opposition,

Hon. Sue Ellery MLC, Minister for Education and Training

Hon. Pierre Shuai Yang MLC, Government Whip in the Legislative Council

Hon. Kenneth Charles Baston MLC, Shadow Minister for Northern Australia, Opposition Whip in the Legislative Council

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

Mrs. Alyssa Hayden MLA, Opposition Whip in the Legislative Assembly

Dear State Shadow Ministers and Members of Legislative Assembly,

Senator Lousie Pratt, Senator for Western Australia

Mr. Ian Goodenough MP, member for Moore

Mr. Patrick Gorman MP, member for Perth

Mr. Richard Hayes,CEO of the Perth Mint

Mr. Sun Xiaoxuan, Chairman of China Chamber of Commerce Australia, Perth Branch

Mr. Chen Ting, Chairman of Chung Wah Association

My fellow colleagues from the Consular Corps,

Members from the WA business community,

Leaders and representatives from the WA Chinese community,

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening!

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. Thank you Garry for your wonderful Welcome to Country remarks.

First of all, I would like to welcome all the distinguished guests to the Chinese Consul General's Lunar New Year reception. Spring Festival is the most important traditional festival in China. Every year hundreds of millions of Chinese travel across China and the world to go back to their hometown for reunion with family and friends. For WA Chinese community, to celebrate Lunar New Year with the Chinese Consulate General has become a tradition.

西澳州华侨华人与中国总领馆一起过年已经成为传统.请记住,总领馆永远是你们的家,我们张开双臂欢迎你们!

I feel greatly honored by the presence of the Governor and Premier of Western Australia, as well as the record number of federal and state parliamentarians tonight, which demonstrates your friendship with China and support to the Chinese Community. I thank you all for coming over to celebrate this important festival with us.

This year we hold our annual reception at the Perth Mint to celebrate the Lunar New Year of Metal Mouse, because we think that the Perth Mint is the ideal place to celebrate the golden link between our two countries.

The Perth Mint maintains long-term cooperation with China and has been issuing the Chinese Lunar New Year coin series during the past two decades. Tonight the 2020 Year of the Mouse coins are on display, and gold pour demonstrations are available for our guests, which undoubtedly adds to the auspicious atmosphere and festival mood of our celebration. I wish to thank Richard and the Perth Mint for the hospitality and generosity in opening your facilities and providing us with such a magnificent setting tonight.

Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The passing 2019 bears extraordinary meanings to Chinese people. We celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, a historical milestone in an epic journey of China's national development.

In 2019, Chinese people sweated and toiled and made progress across-the-board. The Chinese economy thrived amid downward pressure with major economic targets well met in 2019. By steadily pursuing high-quality development, China's GDP grew to nearly 100 trillion RMB (14.38 trillion U.S. Dollars) with per capita GDP exceeding 10,000 U.S. dollars for the first time. With urbanization rate rising to 60%, Chinese people's well-being has been further enhanced. Again China is estimated to have contributed around 30 percent of global growth.

In 2019, China remained Australia' s largest trading partner, top export market and No.1 import source. Our two-way trade volume in goods and services surged to 234.95 billion AU dollars, a 20.5% year on year increase. About 37% of Australian exports went to China over the past 12 months. China has become the biggest importer of Australian wine and beef.

In spite of the difficulties and differences, China remained committed to its Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with Australia. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Morrison reached important consensus on how to bring our relations back on track and move forward during their meeting in November. I hope our bilateral relationship could be in better shape in the new year through good will and efforts of both sides.

In 2019, Western Australia, led by Premier McGowan and his government, continued to play a leading role in pressing forward China-Australia partnership. Premier McGowan himself and his cabinet members including Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery, Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTIERNAN, Treasurer Ben Wyatt and Tourism Minister Paul Papalia visited China to strengthen our ties.

And our pragmatic cooperation has born new fruits. The total merchandise trade volume between China and Western Australia reached 86.4 billion AU dollars, with China taking half of the State's merchandise exports and WA accounted for 61% of Australia's merchandise export to China. Iron Ore exports to China rose 26% to 62.4 billion AU dollars in 2018-19. Chinese visitors rose to 72,400 in the 12 months to September 2019. Even though they were not the largest in number, they remained the largest spenders, accounting for 13% of total international visitor spend in WA.

2019 also marked the 190th anniversary of Chinese arriving in Western Australia. We are happy to see that the first Perth Chung Wah Cultural Festival was successfully held with the support of the state government.

Entering the new year, the first and most exciting news is the successful launch of the China Eastern Airlines trial direct flights between Shanghai and Perth, which will definitely boost WA tourism and bilateral cooperation between China and WA.

And there are more exciting events ahead. Shanghai Shenhua will bring thousands of fans to Perth next month for a football match with Perth Glory. WA ballet is to visit China with their stunning performances. And we have possibly basketball as well as rugby matches in the pipeline. There will be more exchanges between our universities and schools.

So we have got to be prepared that there will be tens of thousands more Chinese tourists roaming around WA, in particular the Rottnest Island, Margaret River and the Pink Lake, etc. I assume posing with the smiling Quokkas in the Year of the Mouse would be very appealing to my compatriots. And we have got to let them know that WA's tourist destinations largely remain intact from the bushfires, and it's safe to travel here.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

During the past 4 months we have witnessed the impact and devastation of the ferocious bush fires across Australia, and we have seen Australians pulling together and caring for each other in the spirit of mateship. We appreciate the heroic and dedicated efforts of all firefighters and other emergency services volunteers. Now from the blackened despair of bleak devastation, green shoots are sprouting hope of rejuvenation. Indomitable, that is the spirit shared by both Australian and Chinese people.

We are much impressed by the big hearts Western Australians have to support the bush fire relief efforts. The Chinese business community and local Chinese community are fully mobilized to lend a helping hand, through collective and individual donations. Fund-raising activities were held and will be held by the Chinese community. The Chinese Consulate General fully supports their endeavor and will do whatever we can that might help.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

2020 will be an epoch-making year for China. In 2020, China will finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and realize the first centenary goal. 2020 will also be a year of decisive victory for the elimination of absolute poverty for the first time in Chinese history.

China cannot achieve those mighty goals in isolation, and the peace and prosperity of the world needs China as well. Peaceful development is China's strategic choice and China aims at exploring a new path of international relations with mutual respect, fairness and justice, and win-win cooperation at its core. China will join hands with like-minded countries to deepen economic globalization in a more open, inclusive and balanced manner which yields win-win outcomes.

China will continue pressing ahead with the international cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative, will continue playing an active role in constructing a Community of Shared Destiny for Mankind.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Gold has always held a special place in Chinese Culture and has been considered a representation of good fortune. China and WA initiated a link of gold dating back to as early as 1890s, when thousands of Chinese pioneers came here during the gold rush. As Chinese Consul General standing at the iconic heart of WA's gold industry-the Perth Mint, I feel like a modern gold miner and I dearly wish to join hands with you all to unearth the richest gold bearing partnership between China and WA.

In Chinese culture, mouse is the first of all zodiac animals which initiates a new 12-year cycle. It is clever and smart, and symbolizes wealth and wisdom. On behalf of the Chinese Consulate General in Perth, I heartily wish you and your family a very prosperous and fortunate Year of Mouse. May the friendship between China and WA shine and endure as gold that will stand the test of time.

祝大家鼠年大吉,阖家幸福,万事如意.

I thank you!

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