|Speech by H.E. Ambassador Liu Guangyuan at the Chinese Spring Festival Reception|
|(Jan 28th, 2011, Embassy of P. R. China)|
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you very much for joining us today to celebrate this year's Spring Festival, the traditional Chinese New Year, the year of Rabbit. May I, on this auspicious occasion, express best wishes to my Chinese compatriots in Kenya as well as all the people of Kenya.
Chun Jie Kuai Le! Happy Spring Festival!
Spring Festival marks the first day of the first month on the Chinese Lunar calendar. This festival dates back to ancient times and is the most important traditional festival for Chinese people. Just like Christmas to Westerners, it is an occasion for family reunion and a time of love and blessings. In days gone by, for thousands of years, China was an agricultural society. The whole year's work depends on a good start in spring. Spring to the Chinese people means a season for ploughing and weeding; a time that symbolizes hope and rebirth.
If you travel to China during the Spring Festival, you would catch sight of a spectacular scene of passenger transportation rarely seen in other parts of the world. Hundreds of millions of Chinese travel from all over the country back to their hometowns, determined to get together with their families. The eve of the Spring Festival is referred to as "reunion night". This is when family members reconnect, catch up on the past year, have big family reunion dinners, let off fireworks, and stay up until midnight to welcome the New Year. The warmth and affections reflected in such a meaningful and cheerful moment vividly portray a key cultural element deeply rooted in Chinese traditional heritage – harmony. A family is an important cell in any society. It follows that numerous harmonious families build up a harmonious society, an ideal and perspective to social life we Chinese are constantly seeking for, perpetuating and perfecting.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Looking back at 2010, we are pleased to note that China and Kenya have deepened their friendship by scaling more robust exchanges and cooperation. Leaders of our two countries were in constant and close contact. Our mutual social, economic and political trust was increasingly enhanced. China was even more than previously committed to major infrastructural developments in Kenya, especially road construction, to which the Kenyan government attaches great importance. We are also building schools and hospitals in Kenya to improve the country's education and healthcare to meet the basic needs of the local people.
I recall with delight the visit by the Chinese naval hospital ship "Peace Ark" to Mombasa Port last October to provide free medical services to Kenyan people. This mission recorded an impressive 3,400 patient turn-up. May I take this opportunity to sincerely once again thank my Chinese compatriots and Kenyan friends who helped us make this visit to Kenya a resounding success.
The China-Kenya people-to-people exchange made considerable progress with statistics showing that more than 20,000 Chinese tourists visited Kenya from January to July 2010. We expect more Chinese to visit Kenya as we encourage more Kenyan to travel, to study and to seek for business opportunities in China.
As we usher in the year 2011 with greater expectation and enthusiasm, both China and Kenya are faced with great tasks. 2011 marks the initial year of China's Twelfth Five-Year Plan, a crucial stage for us to fulfill the blueprint of building a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way. 2011 is also significant for Kenya during your remarkable journey towards Vision 2030. We face the same challenges of transforming economic development patterns, improving people's livelihoods, expanding domestic demands and buliding harmonious societies. Thus we have much in common to share, to fight against and to strive for.
China always regards Kenya as a true friend; a trustworthy partner and good brother. In the year ahead, the China will continue to support Kenya's economic and social development. We shall uphold and advance our bilateral cooperation in all major sectors and keep close contact on international issues. We endeavor to promote Kenya and Africa's development in accordance with our own as we seek common prosperity with our African friends.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the Chinese people and companies who are making a great contribution to the social and economic development to the Kenyan society. I hope that you obey Kenyan laws and regulations, get along well with the local people and always remember to give back to local communities. It is in such gestures that we shall ultimately keep a good image of China in the eyes of our Kenyan friends. I also want to thank the Kenyan government and people for your hospitality and support extended to Chinese companies and nationals in Kenya. I believe that the government of Kenya will provide Chinese nationals in Kenya greater convenience, better working conditions and living environments.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am sure many of you know the Chinese Lunar Calendar is based on cycles of the moon. Each twelve years of the lunar cycle are named after 12 animals. According to the Chinese Lunar Calendar, 2011 is the year of Rabbit. As described in the ancient Chinese myth, rabbit foretells of a promising year with fortune, brightness and good luck. Therefore, I truly wish and firmly believe that the New Year will be a year of a rebirth at a whole new level partnership and friendship. I look forward to a year that brings along great fortune and well-being to the people of China and the people of Kenya.
Ladies and gentlemen,
May I now share with you a good news. To celebrate the Chinese Spring Festival and promote cultural exchanges and as part of the tour whose theme is "Cultural China – Spring in One World", a group of renowned Chinese artists will come to Kenya to stage an artistic show of traditional Chinese songs and dances. The event will be held at Kenyatta International Conference Centre from 4 pm to 7:30 pm on February 5th. Welcome all of you to come and enjoy the show.
Finally, I wish all of you success, happiness and good health in the Year of Rabbit, and in Chinese again, Chun Jie Kuai Le!