|The Chinese Embassy in Iceland holds 2015 Spring Festival Reception|
H.E. Zhang Weidong, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Iceland and his wife, Zhou Saixing, held a Spring Festival Reception at the Chinese Embassy on 11 February, 2015. H.E. Illugi Gunnarsson, the minister of Education, Science and Culture, together with other about 200 guests, who were from the Icelandic government, diplomats in Iceland, local corporations, media and academic organizations, and Iceland and China Cultural Friendship Society attended the reception. The guests extended their congratulations on the Chinese Spring Festival. A documentary film Spring Festival in China was shown.
The full text of H.E. Ambassador Zhang's Speech is as follows:
Speech by H.E. Ambassador Zhang Weidong
at the Spring Festival Reception
February 11. 2015
Distinguished Minister Illugi Gunnarsson,
Distinguished guests, dear friends, ladies and gentlemen,
Good evening. Gott kvöld. According to the Chinese Lunar Calendar, today is the 23rd of the 12th month of 2014. It is a day that marks the beginning of the celebration process of the Chinese New Year, the Spring Festival, chun-jie, which will fall on February 19, 2015, next Thursday. Today is also called Xiaonian, literally Minor Chinese New Year. From today on, we will do a lot of things to prepare for the New Year´s Day, which is the peak of the celebration. I would like to extend my warmest welcome to you to join us to kick off the Chinese Spring Festival Celebration. I have noticed that here in Iceland we are still in winter and the celebrations of the mid-winter festival is still going on. At this juncture, I recall two lines from the poem by Percy Shelley, If winter comes, can Spring be far behind? So today is also a gathering to celebrate the Icelandic Thorrablot!
The Chinese Spring Festival, with more than 4000 years of history, is one of the China's intangible cultural heritages. It is the grandest and most important festival for the Chinese people in China as well as outside of China. It is an occasion to ring out the Old Year and ring in the New. It is a time to make an inventory, reviewing the past, make a plan, looking into the future.
In retrospect, the 2014, a year of the horse, according to Chinese zodiac, is memorable for both China and the world. In time of hardship and trial, we human beings have been able to find the courage and innovation. But sometimes we could no make a horse drink even if we could take him to water. Our world was by no means troubles-free. In the face of difficulties and pressure, China did not swap horses in midstream, we vigorously pursued comprehensive reform instead and this has motivated both the market and the business sector. China's GDP grew by 7.4% for the whole year and exceeded RMB 6 trillion (10 trillion USD) for the first time. The contribution rate of China's economic growth to the world economy is 27.8%. China's economy has entered a state of new normal. China, however, does not get on its high horse, knowing that the Chinese economy will continue to face substantial downward pressure in 2015. We will hold our horses and we will maintain our strategic focus and continue to pursue a proactive fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy. China's economy will be operating within the reasonable range. China's development will continue to bring benefits to its own people and opportunities to the world.
2014, the year of the horse, is also a harvest year for China's diplomacy. China strived to build a new type of international relations underpinned by win-win cooperation and have injected vivid Chinese elements to contemporary international relations.
2014 witnessed new achievements in China-Iceland relations. The momentum of high level exchanges has been kept. China-Iceland Free Trade Agreement entered into force. Our cooperations in geothermal and Arctic fields were smooth and fruitful. People to people exchanges increased. About 26 thousand Chinese tourists came to visit Iceland, which is an increase of over 48% than previous year. These achievements are the results of the joint efforts of people from all walks of life both in China and Iceland. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all of you for the great contributions.
Ladies and gentlemen,
2015 is a Year of the Sheep. Sheep is an important animal in both China and Iceland. It appears in both Chinese and Icelandic mythologies. Sheep is also a symbol of peace and auspiciousness and it is also deeply loved by the people all over the world. We wish that 2015 will be peaceful and hopeful. We hope that every country will try to solve problems by dialogue, consultation and cooperation. We hope that everybody can give up the outdated mindset of confrontation, hatred and isolation. It is important that we draw lessons from history, and pool out collective wisdom to maximize the convergence of interests among countries. China remains committed to peaceful development and world stability.
Chinese Embassy in Iceland will continue to work closely with all of you and endeavor to develop China-Icelandic bilateral relations and promote world peace, stability, harmony and cooperation.
May the China-Iceland friendship last forever. May the prosperity and people's happiness in the countries all over the world last forever. May all of you enjoy good health and a happy spring festival.
Hamingjusamur Nýtt Ár. Happy New Year.
Takk Fyrir. Thank you.