Ladies and Gentlemen,
Tonight, it gives me great pleasure to gather with my friends, both old and new, to celebrate the New Year. I would like to extend, on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in my own name, the warmest festive greetings to all of you and heartfelt thanks to all the friends who have been supporting the work of non-governmental organizations.
The year 2010 which is just behind us has been an eventful year for the world and Chinese people. In 2010, the trend toward multi-polarity and economic globalization gained momentum and the world economy emerged from the shadow of the financial crisis and embarked on the track of recovery. Global issues including climate change and energy and resources security became more pronounced and international and regional hotspot issues kept flaring up. World peace faced unprecedented opportunities and challenges. In the face of complex changes in the international and domestic environment, the Chinese people united as one and overcame such natural disasters as the Yushu earthquake and the massive Zhouqu mudslide and ensured steady and relatively fast economic development. We successfully hosted the world Expo 2010 Shanghai, the Asian Games and Asian Para Games in Guangzhou, accomplished the Chang’e-2 lunar probe mission and fulfilled the objectives and tasks under the 11th Five-Year Plan. We have won widespread understanding and recognition from countries around the world.
The year 2010 also witnessed vigorous development and remarkable achievements of domestic and overseas NGOs in China. In the course of the year, China’s social organizations enjoyed fast development. The number of registered social organizations exceeded 430,000 and they played a positive and unique role in promoting social development, improving people’s livelihood, advancing the cause of social welfare and achieving the Millenium Development Goals. More overseas NGOs came to China for cooperation and carried out many activities with their Chinese partners in the fields of education, health, environmental protection, charity and social welfare. They served as a useful complement for China’s economic and social development and further enhanced China’s exchanges with the world. It is particularly worth mentioning that in the aftermaths of the Yushu earthquake and the Zhouqu mudslide, many overseas NGOs including Save the Children felt the pain of the people in the disaster-affected areas and made important contribution to our disaster relief and reconstruction efforts. The professionalism, dedication and frendship they displayed left the Chinese people with a deep impression.
In 2010, the interactions and cooperation among chinese ministries and departments, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and overseas NGOs made fresh headway. Last August, we held the seminar on NGOs in Globalization, the first one in the form of trilateral cooperation among the government, academic institutions and overseas NGOs. We provided active assistance for the poverty relief programs of relevant overseas NGOs in poor areas of Yunan Province and facilitated relevant NGOs’ participation in field trips to enhance their knowledge of china’s national conditions. Today, we are hosting the New Year Reception for NGOs for the first time, and have invited representatives of relevant ministries and departments, local foreign affairs offices, foreign embassies, representative offices of international organizations, domestic and foreign NGOs and academic institutions. This fully show the great importance the Chinese government has attached to overseas NGOs.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The year 2011 marks the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century and also the first year for the implementation of the 12th Five-Year Plan of China. The 12th Five-Year Plan sets out the main objectives and tasks for China’s economic and social development for the next five years and clearly states that we should “foster and manage according to law social organizations, and support them in participating in social management and services and provide guidance for them”. Here I would like to reaffirm that the Chinese government highly appreciates the positive role of overseas NGOs and welcomes and supports your activities in China. We sincerely hope that overseas NGOs will be more actively involved in the efforts of the Chinese goverment and people to implement the 12th Five-Year Plan in the light of the actual demands of China’s economic and social development. We hope that overseas NGOs will abide by china’s laws and regulations and continue to conduct practical cooperation with lawful chinese organizations in poverty reduction, disaster relief, environmental protection, education, medical care and charity, thus making fresh contribution to china’s exchanges with other countries and China’s economic and social development. The chinese government will do more to provide convenience for overseas NGOs to conduct friendly exchanges and cooperation in China.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
With the beginning of the new year, everything takes on a new look. We look forward to continuing our good cooperation with our friends in the coming year and working together to contribute more to China’s economic and social development and the well-being of the people.
I now propose a toast,
To world peace and development,
To our friendly cooperation, and
To your health,