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Remarks by Consul General Dong Zhihua at the Opening Ceremony of the Perth Chung Wah Cultural Festival 2019

Hon Paul Papalia MLA, Minister for Tourism; Racing and Gaming; Small Business; Defence Issues; Citizenship and Multicultural Interests, Representative of the Premier

Mr Tony Krsticevic MLA, Shadow Minister for Local Government; Heritage; Culture and the Arts; Citizenship and Multicultural Interests, Representative of the leader of the opposition

Hon Mick Murray MLA, Minister for Seniors and Ageing; Volunteering; Sport and Recreation

Hon Pierre Yang MLC and Hon Aaron Stonehouse MLC, Members for South Metropolitan Region

Mr. Ding Shao Ping, President of Chung Wah Association

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning!

I am very glad to join you at the Opening Ceremony of the Perth Chung Wah Cultural Festival by the side of the beautiful Swan river. As a line of a classical Chinese poem goes "Spring and Autumn are lovely seasons in which friends get together to climb up mountains and write poems". Today we gather here to open a fascinating week to enjoy breathtaking dragon boat races, passionate lion dances, intriguing kite flying, flowing movements of Tai-Chi as well as touching Chinese movies. Artists from China will be on the site to teach children kite making and Chinese calligraphy and painting. I would like to express appreciation for the cosponsorship of the Festival by the Western Australian government and Chung Wah Association and pay tribute in particular to Minister Papalia and Chairman Ding Shaoping for the leadership in arranging such a rich program. I also wish to thank the artists and performers who have come as far as China for their contributions.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

With the traditional Chinese festival Duanwu, widely known as the Dragon Boat Festival around the corner, the Perth Chung Wah Cultural Festival provides a unique opportunity for local people and tourists to watch the dragon boat race, a traditional Chinese ethnic sport and a national intangible cultural heritage, which has become increasingly popular around the world. Under the aegis of the Western Australian government, the annual dragon boat race will be held for the first time in the city of Perth, with the presence of representatives from dragon boat associations of neighboring countries and regions. This will remarkably raised the visibility of this event and pave the way for even larger races in the future. Before long, the peaceful Swan river will boil with cheers as local teams paddling their way to victory. I wish each and everyone of them good luck!

The Perth Chung Wah Cultural Festival also presents us an occasion to reflect on the history and achievements of Western Australian Chinese community. Since 1829 when the first Chinese came here, the Chinese Australians in WA have not only thrived through honest and hard work, but also actively participated in local community services. Together with other ethnic groups, they have made outstanding contribution to the economic and social development of Western Australia, making Chinese culture an indispensable component of the colorful cultural puzzle of Western Australia. I am happy to see that the Western Australian government attaches great importance to multiculturalism and vigorously promotes harmonious coexistence and common development of various ethnic groups. In addition to the Spring Festival celebrations, this Festival not only enriches the local cultural calendar, but also showcases the unity and integration of various ethnic groups in Western Australia. I wish and believe that the Perth Chung Wah Cultural Festival will evolve into a shining name card for Perth.

The Perth Chung Wah Cultural Festival will inject new momentum into deepening mutual understanding and intensifying cultural exchanges between China and Australia. In recent years, pragmatic cooperation and personnel exchanges between China and Western Australia have become increasingly close. China has been WA's largest international market by visitor spend for several years. China is also the second largest source of international students in Western Australia. China hosts the largest and fastest-growing middle-income class in the world. They provide a big market for high-quality tourism and advanced education services as well as high-grade agricultural products from Western Australia, which will substantially facilitate economy diversification of Western Australia.

Ladies and Gentlemen, distinguished guests,

Half a month ago, the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was successfully held in Beijing. Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a global partnership of connectivity to achieve common development and prosperity, including through building bridges for exchanges and mutual learning among different cultures and deepening cooperation between countries in education, science, culture, sports, tourism, health etc. I firmly believe that China's rapid economic development and the promotion of the Belt and Road Initiative will incessantly create new opportunities to sustain development and prosperity of Western Australia.

The Chinese Consulate General in Perth is ready to work together with the Western Australian government to deepen mutual understanding between our two peoples and enhance levels of friendly cooperation in various fields. I sincerely hope that China-WA friendly cooperation brave the waves like a speeding dragon boat which leads the race in pushing forward the sound development of China-Australia relationship.

Thank you!

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