My overseas Chinese friends,

Dear students and colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Good evening and welcome to the Chinese Embassy!

It is a real delight to have you all with us to celebrate the Chinese New Year together.

In 12 days, the Year of the Rat will begin. Rat is the first of the 12 zodiac animals. According to Chinese tradition, this smart little creature brings a new beginning and good fortune to everyone in the world.

On behalf of the Chinese Embassy in the UK, I would like to extend my warmest greetings of New Spring to all of you, and through you, to all the overseas Chinese, Chinese students and staff of Chinese companies in the UK! I wish you a happy and successful Year of the Rat!

The year 2019 is an extraordinary and memorable year. China strived forward relentlessly despite winds and rains. The hard work of the Chinese people yielded abundantly fruitful outcomes.

In 2019, China celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic. It was a year of tremendous pride as we review the achievements of New China. It was a year of audacious spirit as we entered the new era and pooled our strengths in pursuit of the Chinese Dream. We are more confident than ever in China’s socialist system!

In 2019, China shifted steadily to high-quality development.

China’s GDP exceeded $14 trillion, and per capita GDP is expected to reach a new high of $10,000. More than 10 million people were lifted out of poverty.

There have been important advancements in winning the “three major battles”, namely, targeted poverty reduction, pollution control, and prevention of major risks.

There has been progress in the coordinated development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei, the development of Yangtze Economic Belt, the building of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the integration of Yangtze River Delta.

We are more confident than ever in the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics!

In 2019, China achieved new success in a wide range of areas.

Chang’e-4 landed on the far side of the moon for the first time in the history of mankind.

The carrier rocket Long March-5 Y3 was successfully launched.

The global network of BeiDou Navigation Satellite System neared its completion.

The icebreaker Xuelong 2 set sail on its maiden voyage to Antarctic.

Commercial 5G services were rolled out in a rapid speed.

The Beijing Daxing International Airport was opened.

We are more confident than ever in China’s growing strength!

In 2019, China celebrated the 20th anniversary of the return of Macao.

Over the past 20 years, Macao has been a splendid success of “One Country, Two Systems” and the Chinese central government has displayed its firm resolve to implement this creative policy fully and faithfully. We are more confident than ever in this pioneering undertaking of China!

In 2019, China continued to embrace the world with open arms.

A number of successful international events were held in China, including

the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation,

the International Horticultural Exhibition, Beijing,

the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilisations, and

the second China International Import Expo.

Through these events, the world saw an open and inclusive civilization that China is proud to be. We are more confident than ever in the open and inclusive culture of China.

In 2019, China worked actively to build a new type of international relations. We held high the banner of multilateralism.

We upheld the principles of fairness and justice.

We build relations steadily with other major global players.

We pursued win-win cooperation vigorously with neighbouring countries and other developing countries.

We continued to play a leading role pushing for progress in global governance.

And we took positive measures to build a community with a shared future for mankind.

We are more confident than ever in China’s conception of the world.

Between China and the UK, 2019 saw us celebrating the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relationship at the chargé d’affaires level. The overall China-UK relations achieved steady progress, with

financial cooperation scaling new heights following the tenth China-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue,

new momentum building in cultural and people-to-people exchanges,

and all in all, a new chapter opening in China-UK business cooperation.

Here in the UK, 2019 saw overseas Chinese community, Chinese students and staff of Chinese companies telling China’s stories and showing the image of China in their respective and unique ways. Together they have made positive contribution to the development and reunification of the motherland, and to China-UK exchanges and cooperation.

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