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Speech by Chinese Consul-General Lei Kezhong at China Open Day

Hon. Peter Collier, Minister of Education,

Distinguished Guests,

Dear Teachers, Friends,

Boys and Girls,

Good Morning!

Welcome to the Open Day of the Chinese Consulate General!

The purpose of our Open Day event is to showcase various aspects of traditional Chinese culture, including lion dance, traditional Chinese musical instruments, martial arts, calligraphy, paper-cutting and the making of dumplings, just to name a few! We hope our Open Day event will provide an opportunity to help you to have a better understanding of China, as well as China-Australian friendship and cooperation!

As you all know, China is a country with a long history, vast territory and a large population. It is one of the four most ancient civilizations in the world. The Chinese civilization has developed over 5000 years uninterruptedly. China has a land area of about 9.6 million square kilometers, and is the third largest country in the world, next to Russia and Canada.The nation also has three million square kilometers of territorial waters.

China is a multicultural country, with 56 ethic groups, among which the Han ethnic group accounts for 91% of the total population, with the remainder broken up into 55 ethnic minorities. The Han ethnic group has a recorded history of about 4000 years, and the commonly used language is Chinese. The Chinese language has more than 1.2 billion users around the world. In addition to China, some people in Singapore and Malaysia use Chinese, and millions of overseas Chinese and foreign citizens of Chinese origin around the world use Chinese.

Dear friends,

To outline traditional Chinese culture, I would like to mention some traditional Chinese festivals, among which, there are the Spring Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival and the Mid-Autumn Festival.

The Spring Festival is the most important and the most bustling. It is on the first day of the first lunar month of each year, according to the Chinese lunar calendar. New Year's Eve is the time for a happy reunion of all family members, that is why China faces a grave challenge of a giant move of the population through all traffic means each and every year before and after the New Year's holidays. Dumplings (Jiaozi) is the typical food for the New Year's Eve. Today we are going to have dumplings for lunch, these dumplings are especially prepared for you by our Consulate staff yesterday evening. I hope you would like it.

The Dragon Boat Festival is on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month. On that day, people hold dragon boat races and eat Zongzi, pyramid-shaped dumpling made of glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves. It is said that these activities were designed to commemorate the great patriotic poet Qu Yuan in ancient China over 2200 years ago.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month. In Autumn, it is fine and cool, there are few floating clouds in the sky and the moon at night seems particularly bright. This is especially true on August the 15th, according to the lunar calendar. Since people consider the full moon as the symbol of reunion and satisfaction, the festival is also called " the Festival for Reunion". According to traditional customs, Chinese people enjoy fruits and moon cakes while admiring the moon. Therefore, Mid-Autumn Festival has also got the name of Moon-Cake Festival.

Over thousands of years of history, the Chinese have formed their own moral code that has played an important role in social development and progress. This is what we call traditional virtues, which include: patriotic sentiments, advocating integrity, diligence and frugality, modesty, honest and trustworthy, be glad to give to charities, as well as respect the aged and care for the young.

Dear Friends,

Today, China is the world's biggest developing country and the second largest economy. We have a high saving rate, a rising proportion of middle income group. We are on the way of chasing our "Chinese Dream", which has created and will continue to create enormous market at home and abroad. This will definitely provide great opportunities for our cooperation with Australia and other countries in the world.

Both China and Australia are important countries in the Asian-Pacific region. China has always viewed Australia as an important partner. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Australia in 1972, exchange and cooperation between us in various areas have been growing and deepening steadily. Just to give one specific example: China's National Aquatics Center, known as the Water Cube, and used as one of the main venues during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, was jointly designed by Chinese and Australian architects.

In November 2014, during the visit to Australia by Chinese President Xi Jinping, the two sides had elevated our bilateral relations into a comprehensive strategic partnership. And by the end of 2015, the Free Trade Agreement between the two countries had come into force. Thus our relationship has reached a new and higher starting point.

There is an Australian saying, keep your eyes on the sun and you will not see the shadows. Although China and Australia differ in history, culture, social system and stage of development, and we have disagreements on some issues, it is important that we keep to the right direction of bilateral relations, and treat each other candidly, seek common ground despite our differences.

Dear Friends,

China and Western Australia have established strong investment and trade relationship based on mutual respect and shared interests over decades. Today, we are quite familiar with a great variety of WA products, namely iron ore,LNG, barley, wool, canola, oats, mutton, beef, lobster, Margaret River wine, cosmetics and high quality education, and so on and so forth.

Today, China is WA's largest export market and largest import market, the two-way trade volume reached 60 billion dollars in 2015. I am confident that there's still great room for improvement in the future. Education will be a new area of high growth rate. Last year more than seven million students graduated from university in China, and I'm sure that many of them and lots of young students from year 7 to 12 would love to get a chance to join you to study here in Western Australia.

Dear Friends,

I am glad that lots of boys and girls attend this event. As the great English playwright William Shakespeare said: " youth is hot and bold". Young people are always energetic and full of dreams, you are the future of the world. We have every reason to expect that youth exchange and friendship will become the cornerstone of our relations throughout the coming years.

Dear Friends,

China and Western Australia may seem far apart geographically, but we are in the same time zone, we share the same up and down of the sunshine, and we share immense opportunities of mutually beneficial development.

Looking back to the past decades, we have achieved a lot, yet there is still a lot to do. Looking forward to the future, I can envisage a brighter future for our all-round cooperation.

Thank you. Hope you have a wonderful time today!

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