Mr. Dalton Yap, President of the Chinese Benevolent Association, and Mrs. Yap,
Friends from the CBA,
Leaders of the Chinese Cultural Association and the Chinese Freemason Society,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for my wife and myself to attend tonight's reception hosted by the Chinese Benevolent Association to celebrate the 56th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. First of all, please allow me to extend, on behalf of the Chinese Government, the festive greetings to all of you, and through you, to the Jamaican Chinese Community.
Born just a few years earlier than the founding of the People's Republic, I am an eyewitness of the great changes having taken place in our motherland in the past 56 years, especially the past 27 years after China started the reform and opening-up. Looking back at the road our motherland has traversed over these 56 years, my heart is full of strong feeling of pride and dignity. And I believe that the same feeling is shared by our fellow Chinese on such an occasion to celebrate and to remember.
As the Chinese Ambassador to Jamaica, I am extremely happy to see the sound development of bilateral relations between China and Jamaica in recent years, especially this year. The two countries are enjoying the relationship better than ever in the history, we have been expanding our exchanges and cooperation in many fields such as trade, culture, education, media, science and technology, tourism and sports. The highlight of this relationship is the exchange of high-level visits between the two countries, that is, China's Vice President Zeng Qinghong's visit to Jamaica in February and Prime Minister Patterson's visit to China in June. Here I want to mention the Chinese Community's involvement in these important events. CBA has actively participated in the preparation of the first ministerial conference of the China Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum which was held in Kingston during Vice President Zeng Qinghong's visit to Jamaica. For Prime Minister Patterson's visit to China, representatives of the Chinese Community were specially selected as members of his delegation, with President Dalton Yap as one of them. The excellent relationship between China and Jamaica all these years has culminated in the establishment of the Jamaican Embassy in China this July. As President Hu Jintao has rightly put it when meeting with Prime Minister Patterson last June in Beijing: "The year 2005 is the year of Sino-Jamaican friendship".
When I am talking about the great achievements China has made and the all-round development of Sino-Jamaican relations, I must express deep appreciation to the Chinese Jamaicans for the contributions they have made to the promotion of relations between their motherland and the country their ancestors chose to live.
Having settled down on this land of wood and water, those pioneers worked very hard and gradually integrated themselves with other ethnic groups in this highly diversified society. The Chinese community now has won high respect from both the Jamaican Government and their fellow Jamaicans for their active participation in the nation building of Jamaica as well as for the fine traditions they have inherited from their ancestors.
Among all these traditions, a precious one is the affection for the culture from their motherland. Although some of you are already the third or fourth generation immigrants here in Jamaica, you still keep a strong feeling towards China and the Chinese culture. I am glad to see the traditional Chinese life style and customs still well preserved in the Chinese Community of Jamaica. Invited by the CBA, some young diplomats of my Embassy are teaching the Chinese course at weekends. They have told me that many times they have almost been moved to tears by the genuine passion and attachment their students hold to the Chinese language, the language once spoken by their ancestors.
The Chinese language is the prime essence and the most important carrier of the Chinese culture. My Embassy will continue to offer help to the CBA's Chinese course and other programmes set up by the Association because they are conducive to carrying forward the traditional Chinese cultural heritage in the Chinese community and, in the end, to the further promotion of Sino-Jamaican relations.
I would also like to express my appreciation for your strong and steady support to the peaceful reunification of our motherland. Immediately after the Anti Secession Law was passed by the National People's Congress of China last March, the Chinese Benevolent Association issued a statement to express its resolute and unshakeable support to this law, reaffirming its consistent stand of adhering to the one China policy. This has proved that the early complete reunification of the motherland is the expectation of the Chinese people all over the world. It is my belief that, with such strong support, China's complete unification will definitely be achieved.
The Chinese Community is also an important force in pushing forward the people to people exchanges between China and Jamaica. Thanks to the collaboration of the CBA, the performance tours of China's Yangzhou Puppet Theatre and Zunyi Acrobatic Troup in Jamaica turned out to be great successes. Now I have the pleasure to tell you that around May next year, the China National Song and Dance Ensemble will send a troupe to perform in Jamaica. With the support of the CBA and the whole Chinese community in Jamaica, we expect more and more active exchanges in this regard.
Dear friends, the ever-growing relationship between China and Jamaica will provide new opportunities for the cooperation of our two countries. This, I believe, will also bring to our fellow Chinese the fortunate time for your own business.
Now, I'd like to propose a toast
to the prosperity of our great motherland and the well-being of the Chinese people,
to the continuous development of Sino-Jamaican relations,
to the prosperity of the Chinese Community in Jamaica,