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Speech by Consul-General Dong Zhihua at the Luncheon marking the Australian Rules Football Match between West Coast Eagles and Western Bulldogs
(Optus Stadium Perth)

Hon Peter Tinley AM, MLA, Minister for Asian Engagement,

Hon Dr Michael Dennis Nahan MLA BEc, leader of the opposition,

Mr. James Davison, GM Studies & Technology, Rio Tinto,

Dr. David Sun, President of CCCA Perth,

Mr. Deane Pieters, General Manager of Business Strategy and Growth, West Coast Eagles,

Ms. Dan Zhou, Chief Executive President, Ostar International Media Group,

Tai Chi Master Chen Xiaowang,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good afternoon!

It's a great pleasure for me to attend the AFL premiership Season Match between West Coast Eagles and Western Bulldogs. I would like to thank Rio Tinto, CCCA Perth, West Coast Eagles and Ostar International Media Group for this creative and exciting initiative.

Since my arrival in Perth, I have been fascinated by people's enthusiasm for football. The local teams are always on the newspaper. The Chinese Consulate-General is just across the river and I can see the OPTUS Stadium through the windows of my residence. Whenever there is a game, we hear the cheers and roars and feel the festival mood in the air.

Today I am thrilled to join you and be part of the fun. The Australian football is a sport distinctive to Australia and loved by Australians. Through watching the game, we also have a taste of local life and see the spirit of Australian people. As the club song of West Eagles goes, we're the Eagles, we're flying high. We will be cheering for the Eagles, and our hearts flying high with them.

I would also like to welcome Tai Chi Masters Chen Xiaowang and his followers. They will hold a series of events in Perth including a hundred people show at Elizabeth Quay tomorrow. Thanks to the organizers, we can watch their performance in a while. Tai Chi is a branch of traditional Chinese martial arts often described as meditation in motion, which promotes serenity through gentle, flowing movements. The essence of Tai Chia originates from Taoism, which stresses the natural balance in all things and the need for living in spiritual and physical accord with nature.

So today's gathering is highly symbolic and meaningful, with the combination of Chinese Tai Chi and Australian football. Almost simultaneously as we gather here, the AFL teams St Kilday and Port Adelaide are playing in Shanghai as part of the Festival of Australia. When the East meets the west, the panda meets the quokka, it will help us get to know and understand each other better. This is the best diplomacy in enhancing friendship and bilateral relations between our two great nations and peoples.

Last but not least, I wish the Western Eagles good luck and the Chinese Tai Chi cultural tour a great success.

Thank you.

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