|Speech by Ambassador Zhao Zhenyu at the Reception to Celebrate the Chinese New Year|
The Honourable Delroy Chuck, Member of the Parliament and Mrs. Chuck
Mr. Dalton Yap, President of the Chinese Benevolent Association and Mrs. Yap,
Mr. Exley Ho, President of the Chinese Cultural Association and Mrs. Ho,
Mr. Sam Lyn Shim, President of Chinese Freemason Society and Mrs. Shim,
Mr. Maurice Tenn, President of Jamaica China Friendship Association,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Chinese Lunar New Year is the longest chronological record in history, dating from 2600 BC. Like the Western calendar, the Chinese Lunar Calendar is a yearly one, with the start of the lunar year being based on the cycles of the moon. This year, the New Year falls on today--February 9.
Legend has it that the gods decided to name each of the twelve years of the lunar cycle after an animal but had not decided on the order of the cycle.
All the animals obviously wanted to be at the head of the cycle, so the gods decided to create a race in which the first animal to cross the river bank would be awarded the head of the cycle and the rest of the animals will follow in the order that they finish the race.
The race began, and unknown to the ox, the rat had jumped his back. The ox, being a very strong swimmer, made it across in no time and was about to head ashore, when the rat jumped off it's back and cross the finished line first, winning the race.
That is why our current animal cycle begins with the rat, followed by the ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
Tonight, we gather here to celebrate the New Year, the Year of Rooster.
Today the Chinese people all over the world are celebrating the arrival of the Year of Rooster. I have the great pleasure to extend, on behalf of my wife and all my colleagues at the Embassy, our most cordial greetings and best wishes to you, and through you, to all the families of the Chinese community in Jamaica.
Before we say goodbye to the Year of Monkey, let's have a quick review of what we have achieved in this eventful year.
The year of Monkey will be long remembered by the Chinese people as a year of great achievements. Led by our new leadership with President Hu Jintao at the core , The Chinese people have made remarkable progress in the economic construction. With the concerted efforts of the 1.3 billion Chinese people and the support of the overseas Chinese all over the world, China became the 6th largest economy in the world with its GDP growing by 9%, and its foreign trade volume setting a record high of US$ 1.1 trillion, making China the third largest trading nation globally. While providing a better and secured life for its people at home, China won more support and respect in the international arena by raising high the banner of peace, development and cooperation.
Dear friends, it is my great honour to be one of the witnesses of the 150th anniversary of the settlement of the Chinese people in Jamaica in the Year of Monkey. Celebrations and commemorations of various kinds full of remembrance have never stopped for the whole year. By sending a delegation of the Overseas Chinese Office under the State Council as well as puppet and acrobatic troupes to the island, the Chinese people at home joined the Jamaican Chinese community in celebrating this significant anniversary. Here I wish to express my appreciation to the Chinese Benevolence Association and other local Chinese organizations, which have made great efforts not only to the preparation of these celebrations, but also to the spreading of Chinese culture. I am especially happy to see that the Jamaican Chinese Community is united and consolidated. I am really proud of the important contributions made by the Chinese Community to the nation building of Jamaica as well as the promotion of the friendship between the Chinese and Jamaican peoples.
The Year of the Monkey also witnessed stronger bilateral ties between China and Jamaica. The official visit to China by Foreign Minister K.D. Knight earlier in the year enhanced mutual trust between leaders of both countries. And during the visit, Jamaican Government announced its decision to set up its Embassy in Beijing. We expect the presence of Jamaican Embassy in China no later than June this year.
Just before we closed the Chinese lunar calendar for the Year of Monkey, the Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong had paid an official visit to Jamaica, and the 1st ministerial conference of China - Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum co-sponsored by the Governments of China and Jamaica had been held successfully in Kingston. Those important events will give great impetus to the further development of China - Jamaican relations in the Year of Rooster and years ahead.
The visit to Jamaica by Vice President Zeng has fully demonstrated the great importance attached by the Chinese Government to its friendly and cooperative relations with Jamaica. And the China-Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum and Trade Fair will bring China's relations with Caribbean countries to a new height in the fields of trade, transportation, investment, tourism, finance, science and technology and human resources etc. As the Chinese Ambassador to Jamaica, I am very pleased to see that never before have the relations between China and Jamaica been so close, never before have the trade and cultural links between the two countries been so forcefully strengthened, and never before have our two peoples been so greatly inspired to work together for a even stronger partnership.
Dear friends, tonight is also an occasion to express our strong confidence in China's complete unification. The Chinese community in Jamaica has always been very supportive of the One-China policy pursued by the Jamaican Government. I'd like to express my high respect and sincere thanks to each and every one of you in the community for your strong support to the peaceful reunification of our motherland.
Ladies and Gentlemen, today is the first day of the Year of Rooster. In Chinese culture, Rooster stands for a good start and promises lucky and new hopes. There are many proverbs in Chinese in this meaning and I wish to share two of them with you: "Jin Ji Bao Xiao" (The crow of the rooster heralds the break of a day) and "Wen Ji Qi Wu" (People rise to work at the first crow of a rooster). It is my sincere wish that all the Chinese in Jamaica continue to be hard working and diligent and have all your dreams fulfilled in the Year of Rooster.
Now, I'd like to propose a toast,
To the health of all the guests present here tonight,
To the prosperity of the Chinese community,
"Gong Xi Fa Cai"