|New Year Message Published in The Glearner by Ambassador Zhao Zhenyu|
As Chinese all over the world are celebrating the Chinese New Year today, I have the great pleasure to extend, on behalf of my colleagues at the Chinese Embassy, our most cordial greetings and best wishes to all the families of the Chinese community in Jamaica.
Looking back on the year of 2003, we are glad to see that China has enjoyed economic growth, national unity and social stability. Led by their leadership, the Chinese people successfully overcame the adverse impacts of the SARS epidemic and maintained the vigorous momentum of economic growth rate at 8.5 per cent. The country's GDP exceeded 1.4 trillion USD, 8.5 times that of 25 years ago when reform and opening-up policy was first introduced.
The historic launching of the spacecraft "Shenzhou V" symbolized the progress attained by the country in science and technology. China has also impressed the world with continuous pursuance of the independent and peaceful foreign policy. By actively participating in the international cooperation on the solution to Iraqi and Korean unclear issues, China has been playing a more constructive role in world affairs.
The year 2003 witnessed stronger bilateral ties between China and Jamaica. The good-will visits to Jamaica of Vice Premier Mme. Wu Yi and Foreign Minister Mr. Li Zhaoxing have deepened mutual trust between leaders of both sides. Sharing more and more common grounds and interests, the two countries have been supporting each other in the international arena.
The bilateral trade volume surpassed 200 million USD, making Jamaica the largest trading partner of China in the Caribbean region. The exchanges and cooperation between us have made fresh progress and expanded into new fields. One good example is China's offer of training sessions to Jamaica's most prominent table tennis player Mr. Nigel Webb to prepare him for the Olympic Trails in Chile this February, which, we believe, will initiate more sports exchanges. All these give us good reason to believe that the year 2004 will see further development of all-round cooperation between our two great nations.
The coming New Year, the Year of the Monkey, has a special meaning for the Jamaican Chinese community as the year marks the 150th anniversary of the Chinese first arrival in Jamaica.
These Chinese pioneers, who left their home country in 1854 for the unknown island called "the land of wood and water" in the Caribbean, brought with them almost nothing but fine traditions of the Chinese people: hard working, diligence, honesty, discipline, treasuring family values, readiness to help others, and a strong sense of social responsibility, etc.
Today their descendants, carrying forward these traditions, have become successful businessmen, bankers, politicians, doctors, teachers, poets, singers and photographers, making outstanding contributions to the social progress and economic development of Jamaica.
They are the best colleagues, best friends, best students and best neighbours wherever they are. As the Chinese Ambassador, I am really proud of them.
Just add one more point to what has been said above: The Chinese community in this country has always been very supportive of a closer relationship between China and Jamaica and the One-China policy pursued by the Jamaican Government. For this, I'd like to express my high respect and sincere thanks to my fellow Chinese in Jamaica.
Bidding farewell to the Year of Goat, we are now ushering in the Year of Monkey. Monkeys are lovely, clever and resourceful. It is my wish that all the Chinese in Jamaica, visible or invisible, will give full play to their wisdom and creativeness in the New Year to fulfill their dream of a better life and to build a stronger and more prosperous Jamaica.
May the Year of Monkey bring good luck to all the families of the Chinese community in Jamaica!
KUNG HEE FATT CHOY
Ambassador of the People's Republic of China