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Address by Counsellor Ma Wen Jun at Chinese Liberal Democrats Chinese New Year Dinner

February 25, 2008 12:00 AM
By Counsellor Ma Wen Jun, representative from Chinese Embassy in Audience at dinner held at China City Restaurant in central London

Respected MP Nick Clegg,

Respected Madam Linda Chung,

Fellow Chinese, Distinguished guests,

Firstly, I would like to thank the Chinese Liberal Democrats for the invitation. It's a great pleasure for me to join you in this grand celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year- the Year of Rat. On behalf of the Ambassador, H.E. Mme Fu Ying and the Chinese Embassy, I wish everybody a Happy New Year.

Chinese Lunar New Year is the mostly-celebrated festival in China with a history of over 4,000 years. It is a time for family reunion as well as a time to recall the past and nurture the new hopes.

The Year of Rat is bringing China to its 30th Anniversary of reforming and opening up to the outside world. In the past 30 years, China's national economy witnessed rapid and sustained growth. China's economic power rose significantly. The living standards of the Chinese people were improved remarkably. Social development proceeded in an all-round way. At the current pace of growth, China's per capita GDP will double again by 2020 to reach USD3, 500. It's maybe not so impressive in UK standard, but that will allow more Chinese to reach a decent level of living.

The Year of Rat is also witnessing rapid and sustained growth of China-UK relations. During Prime Minister Gordon Brown's visit to China early this year, both leaders agreed that the bilateral trade volume would reach 60 billion U.S. dollars by 2010 and many other consensus were also made. With the joint efforts of both sides, the relationship between the two countries is getting increasingly closer. Mutual interests are expanding. The foundation of China-UK cooperation gets increasingly stronger. China and the UK have set a good example of exchange and cooperation between different countries of different political systems, cultures and civilizations. China-UK relations are more important than ever before.

In the Year of Rat, China will host the Olympic Games, the first ever Olympic Games hosted by the most populous country, 2008 Beijing Olympics are not only the games of China, but also of the world, It's a moment of pride of all Chinese in the world and it will also present a great chance for the outside world to know a true China and an open China.

The Chinese Liberal Democrats is an important organization in the Chinese Community in the UK. Since it was founded, the CLD has played a very active and positive role in assisting the Chinese who are in need and acting as a bridge between the British Chinese and the relevant UK authorities. All these efforts have helped the British Chinese be integrated into the UK as a harmonious ethnic group. So I hope, the CLD could do more to have the British Chinese' voice to be heard by the relevant authorities and also help the British friends including the Liberal Democrats to know what a true China it is now.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Year of 2008 is the Year of Rat. Rat is the first in 12 SHENGXIAO that symbolizes diligence and intelligence. The figure "8" in Chinese represents good fortune and prosperity. So in this auspicious Year of Rat, I wish you all and the Liberal Democrats a very progressive and prosperous year.

Thank you.