Remarks by H. E. Ambassador Zhang Yan at the Reception for the Inauguration of Photographic Exhibition on China

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me begin by expressing my warn welcome to all of you. Your presence highlights the interests and goodwill you have towards China and China-India relations. 


This is my second visit to Chennai. Last April I came to the city and met old friends like Dr. Subramanian Swamy, Chairman of Janata Dal, Mr. N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief of the Hindu, Dr. Viswanathan, Chancellor of VIT University and got acquainted with new friends. I was impressed by the hospitality of the friends of Tamil Nadu, and deeply touched by their enthusiasm on promoting friendship and cooperation with China. I believe my second visit will further consolidate the amity between China and the beautiful State of Tamil Nadu.

Friends, this year marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. To share the jubilation with our friends in Tamil Nadu, we decided to hold a photo exhibition featuring the overall development of China in Chennai.

Since the founding of the People's Republic, and especially after the start of the reform and opening up, Chinese people, under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, have made wonders one after another.

Today, China, like India, with its economy growing at over 9% in the past three decades, has become the third largest economy in the world with GDP amounting to US$4.4 trillion in 2008. Despite the world financial crisis, China's economy has maintained stable development and will achieve 8% growth this year. Meanwhile, China has established comprehensive industry basis, robust agriculture and relatively advanced science and technology.

China's economic achievements have brought visible and tangible benefits to the Chinese people. The number of the people living under the poverty level has reduced from 250 million to 15 million. Chinese, once referred to as "the sick man of East Asia" successfully hosted the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.

As a multi-national country, China pursues policies of equal development of all nationalities. 56 ethnic groups enjoy unity, equality and common prosperity in the Big Family of China. The return of Hong Kong and Maucao to the motherland in 1997 and 1999 respectively and the improvement of relations across the Taiwan Straits reaffirmed our commitment to the lofty cause of national unity and build China into a harmonious society.

China pursues an independent foreign policy of peace and has developed friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation with countries all over the world. China plays an increasingly important role in international affairs and actively participates in the international cooperation in all fields

Despite above achievements, we soberly realize that China is still a developing country. There are challenges on the way ahead, such as disparity in development and wealth distribution, environment degradation, resource depletion, etc. However, Chinese people are fully confident about their future and will firmly and continuously stick to the path of building socialism with Chinese characteristic, adhere to the policy of reform and opening up, uphold the independent foreign policy of peace and promote world peace, harmony and development, in order to achieve the set goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects by the year 2020.

Ladies and Gentlemen, China and India influenced, inspired and enriched each other in the history. The two countries co-initiated famous Panchsheel, the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence in the 1950s. The spirit and bonhomie of "Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai" has been deeply rooted in the hearts of our peoples. As the great Indian poet Tagore noted that India feels that China is a very close relative.

After the historical visit by the late Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to China in 1988, our bilateral relations have witnessed a rapid development. Especially, in recent years, state leaders of two countries maintained frequent visits and meetings. Our economic cooperation is growing fast. Bilateral trade has amounted to US$51.7 billion in 2008. The exchanges and cooperation between political parties, parliament and in defence, youth, cultural and tourism, science and technology, and education are also witnessing fast expansion.

In the international arena, China and India have maintained close consultation and coordination on major international issues such as international trade, the financial crisis, climate change, food and energy security, anti-terrorism and so on. In the G-20 Financial Summits, China and India worked closely and helped deliver positive results.

Of course, we are aware that there still exist some outstanding issues in our relations and there are certain forces that are not happy to see the progress of our relations. However, to strengthen our cooperation and deepen our friendship is a strong aspiration of our two peoples.

As Chinese President Hu Jintao recently said, India is an important neighbour of China. China is ready to work with the Indian to maintain the sound momentum for development of the China-India Strategic and Cooperative Partnership. It is the set policy of China to further advance our relationship with India and work with India for the common interests of our two countries.

The State of Tamil Nadu has a long good relationship with China, especially after the great Chinese navigator Zheng He set foot on this piece of land. Today Chinese companies and Chinese students are working and studying here. The first Chinese Language Centre is also located in VIT University. All these have encouraged and inspired me to do something for people of Tamil Nadu to learn more about China with a view to further expand cooperation between China and the State. 


The photo exhibition, which will be open from 29th Nov to 1 Dec, will show you various aspects of a colourful China, as well as a changing China. I hope it can serve the purpose of deepening our mutual understanding and expanding our friendly relations.

Next year is the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and India. I believe with the concerted efforts of both sides, China-India relations will be pushed to new heights.

Thank you for your attention and everyone is invited to the opening of our photo exhibition at Vimonisha Art Gallery on 29th evening.

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