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Speech by H.E. Ambassador Xu Erwen at the Opening Ceremony of the Finals of the 19th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Colleague Students and the 13th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Secondary School Students in Croatia
2020-07-26 14:39

Honourable Rector of the University of Zagreb, Mr. Boras,

Teachers and students,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning, everyone!

It gives me great pleasure to participate in the finals of the 19th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Colleague Students and the 13th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Secondary School Students in Croatia. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, this year's "Chinese Bridge" competition is being held online, which is a rewarding attempt. I believe that although the epidemic has altered the way we meet and communicate, it will not change the enthusiasm of Croatian students to learn Chinese. At this outset, I would like to give all the contestants a thumb up, and a special thanks to the teachers and judges who actively organized the competition during this special period. We appreciate your hard work and strenuous efforts in advocating the Chinese language learning.

Teachers and students,

The "Chinese Bridge" competition is a great event for Mandarin lovers in Croatia. This year's competition extends last year's theme of “One World, One Family”, of which the concept has a long standing history in Chinese culture. As early as 2,500 years ago, Zi Xia, a student of Confucius, once said that "within the four seas all men are brothers." This great love transcends geographical barriers and blood ties and forms the spirit of inclusiveness and mutual assistance of the Chinese nation. Just as Chinese President Xi Jinping put it “the world might have differences due to various kinds of cultures,but the peoples in the world all live under one blue sky, embracing the same family garden, within one community of shared destiny”.

In the face of COVID-19, many countries have shown the spirit of “One World, One Family" and joined hands together in the fight against the pandemic. The Chinese and Croatian people have also set up good example by supporting and caring each other, and by lending each other a helping hand when we had mutual need the most. We will never forget that Croatian political leaders such as then-President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Speaker of Parliament Gordan Jandroković have sent letters of sympathy to China. We will never forget that friendly people from all walks of life in Croatia supported China's fight against COVID-19 through videos and donations. We will never forget that people with visions in Croatia wrote articles criticizing some western politicians and media for using the epidemic to groundlessly smear China. After the outbreak of the epidemic in Croatia, China also offered sincere assistance within its capacity and actively assisted Croatia in purchasing medical supplies in China. China's local governments, enterprises and individuals have launched donation activities in succession, which reflects the deep friendship between the two peoples.

In return for the valuable support and assistance provided by the international community to China and the Chinese people, China had sent 29 medical teams to 27 countries by the end of May, and had provided or is providing assistance to 150 countries and four international organizations. China has published a white paper titled "Fighting COVID-19: China in Action", which presents the whole process of China's fight against COVID-19 in a panoramic view, conveying to the world the confidence and strength of unity and cooperation in overcoming the epidemic. You are welcome to read for reference. I am confident that sunshine always comes after rain. As long as the international community proceeds with confidence, strengthens cooperation and gets rid of interference, we will be able to dispel the cloud of the epidemic and usher in a better future for human society.

Teachers and students,

Chinese bridge competition has become a very important platform for foreign students to learn Chinese and understand China, which has effectively promoted the people to people’s exchanges and mutual friendship. Strengthening people to people’s connectivity is one of the most important elements of the Belt and Road Initiative. Not long ago, the High-level video conference on Belt and Road International Cooperation was successfully held in Beijing, which attracted world wide attention from all walks of life including Croatia. In his written message to the meeting, President Xi Jinping underscored that the right approach to tackling the global crisis and realizing long-term development is through greater connectivity, openness and inclusiveness. This is where Belt and Road international cooperation can make a big difference. China is committed to peaceful development and mutually beneficial cooperation. China will work with its partners to build the Belt and Road into a model of cooperation for meeting challenges through unity, a model of health for protecting people's safety and well-being, a model of recovery for restoring economic and social activity, and a model of growth for unlocking development potential. High-quality Belt and Road cooperation among participating countries will contribute to a shared future for mankind.

Students and teachers,

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Comprehensive Cooperative Partnership between China-and Croatia as well as the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and EU. Upholding the silk road spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit, China and Croatia, and China and Europe have strengthened pragmatic cooperation in various fields under the Belt and Road Initiative and have achieved great results. For example, over 21,000 trips have been conducted by China-Europe freight trains, reaching 57 European cities in 18 countries, effectively having boosted the local economy. Last year, China’s trade with EU has reached 300 times that of the day we established diplomatic ties. Two-way investment has continued to grow and our cooperation in green, digital and other emerging areas has made positive progress. China and Europe are on the same continent and share a common destiny. The Belt and Road Initiative not only offers new opportunities for Europe's development, but also opens up a new horizon for China's opening-up and development.

Language is a bridge for different civilizations to learn from each other. To learn Chinese is to connect with the extensive, profound and uninterrupted Chinese civilization of 5000 years, to connect with a rapidly developing China, a changing world and a future full of opportunities. I hope that more Croatian youth, through the "Chinese Bridge", will learn the Chinese language well, tell Chinese stories well, and become bridges and ambassadors of China-Croatia friendship. I hope that friends from all walks of life in Croatia will grasp the strong pulse of the development of China-Europe and China-Croatia relations and promotes for all-round improvement and upgrading of China-Croatia cooperation in all fields. I hope that the international community will continue to work together to make the Belt and Road a model of cooperation, health, recovery and growth. Together, we will bring about a brighter future for the world. China will continue to learn from the world, continue to learn from the peoples of the world including Croatia, and continue to learn from all the civilization results achieved and created by the humankind. It is our strong believe that the “Chinese Bridge” competition will continue to make greater contribution to strengthening the students exchanges of culture and thoughts and in promotion of the world peace and development.

Teachers and students,

Now, I declare that the finals of the 19th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Colleague Students and the 13th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Secondary School Students in Croatia now begins! I wish you all excellent results!

Thank you very much!

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