Your Excellency, President Bouterse,
Ministers and members of the National Assembly,
Dear colleagues from the Diplomatic Corps,
Mr. Li Wenqi, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Shijingshan District of Beijing Municipality and members of the Beijing Folk Art Group,
Mr. Thomson Cheung, Chairman of the Suriname Chinese United Association,
Representatives of the Chinese Community and Association of the Suriname Chinese Enterprises,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good evening! Xin Chun Kuai Le!
It's been a great pleasure to celebrate the Chinese New Year with so many friends in Suriname.
The tradition of Chunjie, the Chinese New Year dates back into 4000 thousand years ago. As the most important festival for the Chinese people, Chunjie is an occasion for family reunion. On the eve of Chunjie, the whole family get together for the most important dinner in the year, waiting for the countdown. Kids are the happiest: each of them will get a red envelop, in which lucky money is contained. They love to watch beautiful fireworks and even try to fire some crackers themselves. Then temple fairs will open from the first day of the lunar New Year until the 15th day of the first lunar month, which we call the Lantern Festival. During to two weeks, lion dance, dragon dance, local opera, stilts walking, acrobatics are their favorite highlights.
163 years ago, the very first Chinese workers came to Suriname, bringing the Chinese culture and leaving their unique footprints here. Now, Chinese culture has become an integral part of Suriname's big happy multi-culture family. You may still recall the shining fireworks and noisy crackers fired by people celebrating the new year in Suriname a few weeks ago. This is the same practice as we celebrate lunar New Year in China and it always makes me question"where am I"? The Chinese communities in Suriname will also prepare fat and delicious meals and open up their doors at the 1st day of lunar new year and share their happiness with their families, friends and people from other ethnic groups. It's not unusual for dozens of hundreds people gathering together for the new year meal.
In 2014, the Surinamese Government declared Chinese lunar new year as national public holiday - a decision supported by people of different origins, the Chinese communities in particular. To celebrate it, the Suriname Chinese United Association, in cooperation with our embassy, has twice successfully organized temple fairs for the past two years, attracting tens of thousands visitors. It has become such a popular event that not only Surinamese love to attend but also people from neighbouring Caribbean countries come for the unique experience. For them, the thriving and inclusive culture here indeed worth the trip.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Peace, win-win development and shared growth has been aspiration held dear by mankind. China has always believed that it will do well only when the world does well, and vice versa. China's commitment remains unchanged to safeguard world peace, promote joint development and build global partnership. China will continue to adopt a strategy of mutually benefit and opening-up and share the opportunity of development with the rest of the world. Ever since the outbreak of global financial crisis, China has contributed over 30% to the world's annual economic growth on average. In the next five years, China will import eight trillion US dollars commodities, attract 600 billion US dollars foreign investment and invest 750 billion US dollars abroad. In the next five years, Chinese people will make 700 million overseas trips. These figures herald more opportunities for other parts of the world including the Caribbean countries. We welcome people from all over the world to board the express train of China. As one of the oldest civilizations, China also stands ready to actively engage in dialogue and mutual learning with other civilizations. Diversity of civilizations should not be a source of global conflict; rather, it should be an engine driving the advance of human civilizations. Different civilizations should draw on each other to achieve common progress. We should make exchanges among civilizations a source of inspiration for advancing human society and a bond that keeps the world in peace.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Last year, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Suriname. Our memories of the highlights of the celebration are still fresh. Over the past four decades, our embassy has been committed to intensifying the bilateral ties. Fruitful achievements have been made in wide-ranging cooperation and people-to-people exchanges. We will continue to support the Chinese community to actively engage in cultural events including the temple fair and to better communicate with other groups in a joint effort to promote the socio-economic development and shared prosperity of Suriname.
To conclude, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the Preparatory Committee of the Temple Fair and all its members for their relentless efforts, the generous support of Southern Commercial Bank, Association of Chinese Enterprises in Suriname and many other entrepreneurs, both Chinese and Surinamese. My thanks should especially go to the delegation headed by Chairman Li, who have come all the way from Beijing to Paramaribo. I look forward to their spectacular performances later.
I wish a complete success to the 2017 Temple Fair and happiness and good fortune to all our guests in the year of rooster.