|Moving forward hand in hand through this pandemic|
Celebrating the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China
Chinese Consulate in Laoag Consul & Head of Post Zhou Youbin
October 1st is the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Due to the impact of the pandemic, it is impossible to gather with our friends to celebrate this festive seasonin person. I would like then to take this opportunity to extend my greetings and best wishes to our friendly people from all walks of life- our Filipino friends, fellow Chinese, our Filipino-Chinese Communities, personnel from Chinese-funded enterprises, Chinese students and teachers in the consular district.
The COVID-19 pandemic has raged around the world for nearly two years. With this, human life and health have endured tremendous threats, and economic and social development has suffered extensive and far-reaching adverse effects. The Chinese government however adheres to the concept of "people first and life first" and has actively taken decisive measures in effectively controlling the spread of the pandemic, quickly recovered the economy, and achieved brilliant results in various undertakings.
China's economy continued its consolidated recovery.
China has been coordinating pandemic prevention and control with economic and social development, actively adjusting and optimizing the economic structure, enhancing innovation momentum, focusing on quality and efficiency, and continuously improving people's livelihood. The overall national economy has continued to resume growth with stability and improvement. According to statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics of China, in the first half of the year, the GDP reached 53.22 trillion Yuan RMB, a year-on-year increase of 12.7%, the unemployment rate of urban population averaged 5.2%, a decrease of 0.6% from the same period last year, 6.98 million new jobs were also created and the national per capita disposable income of residents increased by 12% year-on-year in real terms, keeping pace with economic growth. Foreign trade imports and exports were also stable and improving with new achievements being made. According to China Customs statistics, the total value of imports and exports of goods trade in the first half of the year was 18.07 trillion Yuan, an increase of 27.1% over the same period last year, of which exports were 9.85 trillion Yuan, an increase of 28.1%; imports were 8.22 trillion Yuan, an increase of 25.9%. At present, the global pandemic situation is still evolving, external instability and uncertain factors are still increasing, as such, China will continue to deepen supply-side structural reforms, focus on releasing the potential of domestic demand, and vigorously assist enterprises to overcome difficulties and achieve their development, and have the confidence to fulfill the goals and tasks of economic and social development throughout the year.
The poverty alleviation project has achieved an overall victory.
Poverty is a chronic affliction in human society and a common challenge faced by the whole world. Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the Chinese government has always focused on economic development and continued its struggle against poverty for 72 years, especially after more than 40 years of reform and opening up, China carried out the most outstanding poverty reduction process in human history. In February of this year, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that China has secured a "complete victory" in its fight against poverty. By the end of 2020, according to China's current poverty threshold of RMB2 300 per person per year (based on the 2010 price index), all of the 99 million rural poor, as well as the 832 counties and 128,000 villages classified as poor, had emerged from poverty, and regional poverty was eliminated historically. Since the launch of reform and opening up in 1978, 770 million rural poor living below China's poverty line have been raised from poverty, further against the World Bank's international poverty line, the number of people lifted out of poverty in China accounts to more than 70% of the world total during the same period. Additionally, the Sustainable Development Goals Report 2021 of United Nations released on July 6 this year pointed out that there are already about 700 million people living in extreme poverty in the world, but another 120 million people will be added in 2020. China realized its poverty reduction goal from the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule. In substantially reducing the world's poverty-stricken population, China has made an outstanding contribution to human progress. With absolute poverty eliminated, China has created another miracle that will go down in history.
New progress has been made in scientific and technological development.
Though under suppression and obstruction of western countries, Chinese Hi-Tech enterprises have courageously kept going and moved forward achieving great developments in science and technology industry. Statistics show that China's gross expenditure on research and development investment reached around 2.4 trillion Yuan in 2020. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) report, the number of global patent applications in 2020 was 275,900, and China ranked first with 68,700. New progress has also been made in new energy vehicles, 5G technology, chips, and quantum communications. In March, important progress in research and development of COVID-19 vaccines, antibodies and drugs was made. In May, the "Zhu Rong" rover reached the surface of Mars and began to patrol and explore. In June, three Chinese astronauts took the "Shenzhou 12" manned spacecraft into the Tiangong space station built by China, and successfully returned to earth after 90 days. All of these serve to demonstrate how China has significantly improved its independent scientific and technological capabilities.
Athletes made another great record in the Tokyo Olympics.
Although, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games was postponed and there was no audience and cheering in the scene because of the pandemic, the athletes still worked hard and performed brilliantly. The Chinese Olympic delegation ranked second on the medal list with 38 gold medals, 32 silver medals, and 18 bronze medals. Philippine athletes also created the best results in nearly a century of Olympic history after winning their first gold medal. President Rodrigo Duterte said, "The entire Filipino nation is proud of you. I congratulate you for bringing pride and honor to the country and for uplifting the spirit of Filipinos amidst the Covid-19 pandemic." We also congratulate Hidilyn Diaz for winning the Women's 55 kg weightlifting championship and we wish the Filipino athletes more success in future international competitions.
Socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new stage of development.
The Communist Party of China (CPC), founded in 1921, has just celebrated its centenary. By succeeding in their tenacious struggle, the CPC and the Chinese people have shown the world that the Chinese nation has achieved tremendous transformation from standing upright to becoming prosperous and growing in strength, and that China's rejuvenation is an unstoppable historical force. The CPC has taken the well-being of the people and rejuvenation of the nation as its aspiration since its founding, and united and led the people to fight for a better life over the decades. At the general assembly to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC, President Xi Jinping solemnly declared that China has realized the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. China will implement the new development concept of "innovation, coordination, green, openness, and sharing", and has made major strategic decision to accelerate the fostering of a double development dynamic, with the domestic economy and international engagement reinforcing each other, and the former as the mainstay. Meeting the people's expectation for a better life is its goal, and we are now marching in confident strides toward the second centenary goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects. The Chinese people have the courage, confidence, and ability to manage their own affairs well.
Strengthen international cooperation on fight against pandemic.
The world is still presently battling the COVID-19 pandemic, and going through profound changes we have never seen in a century, China has made a concerted effort to adopt the most stringent and thorough pandemic prevention measures and has achieved major strategic results. China has taken the lead in launching the world's largest vaccines cooperation action contributing to the global fight against the pandemic. So far, about 800 million vaccines doses have been provided to more than 100 countries around the world, especially developing countries, ranking first in the world and carrying out President Xi Jinping's solemn commitment to make vaccines a global public product. President Xi also announced that China will strive to provide 2 billion COVID vaccine doses to the world throughout this year and offer 100 million US dollars to COVAX, and hope this will promote the accessibility and fair distribution of vaccines around the world, strengthen solidarity and cooperation in developing countries, and make new contributions for an early victory against the pandemic. At present, the US and other Western countries are engaging in rampant nationalism on the vaccine issue and political manipulation on the origin-tracing study of COVID-19, so as to deflect responsibility for their poor response to the pandemic by discrediting other countries. This has aroused the vigilance and opposition of rational and scientific media and scholars in various countries, including the Philippines. We need to promote global solidarity against COVID-19, join forces to tackle the pandemic, uphold a science-based approach in tracing its origins, and oppose politicization and stigmatization. We firmly believe that only by working together can countries around the world overcome the pandemic and jointly protect the bright future of human health.
This year also marks the 46th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the Philippines. Under the strategic guidance of President Xi Jinping and President Duterte, and the joint efforts of the governments and people of the two countries, the strategic, comprehensive, and cooperative relationship between the two countries has continuously improved, and practical cooperation in various fields has achieved fruitful results. In the first half of this year, the total bilateral trade in goods between China and the Philippines exceeded US$37.5 billion, up by 53.5% year on year. China's non-financial direct investment in the Philippines was US$89.24 million, a year-on-year increase of 230%. Of the more than 30 cooperative projects carried out by China and the Philippines since 2016, 13 projects have been completed and 8 projects are progressing smoothly. Among them, the main construction of the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project in Kalinga and Cagayan Provinces is expected to be completed this year which will bring tangible benefits to the development of economy and livelihood of the Filipinos. Further, in these times of pandemic, a new era of partnership between the government and people of China and the Philippines has been further strengthened. Moral support, material assistance, and vaccine cooperation have once again demonstrated that China and the Philippines are good neighbors, good partners, and good friends. NTF data show, as to September 19, the Philippines has received a total of 36 million doses of Sinovac vaccine and 1 million doses of Sinopharm vaccine, which strongly support the whole country to fight the pandemic and restore the economy.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Consulate in Laoag is dedicated in providing care and assistance to Chinese citizens and Filipino-Chinese in the consular area, and actively promoting friendly cooperation with the provinces and cities of North Luzon. This year, the "Chinese Garden" project jointly built by the Chinese Consulate and Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte was officially unveiled providing the people a beautiful tourist destination. The Chinese Language Learning Center in Mariano Marcos State University, supported by the Chinese Consulate, was also officially launched becoming an important symbol of cultural cooperation between China and Ilocos Norte. Moreover, in order to assist the local government in fighting the pandemic, the Chinese Consulate in Laoag and Chinese Embassy in the Philippines have jointly donated ventilators, oxygen generators, oxygen tanks, hospital beds, protective clothing, medicines, rice and other medical equipment and supplies to the northern provinces and cities, further deepening the traditional friendship between the two sides and making important contributions to the economic recovery and improvement of people's livelihood in the northern region of the Philippines.
The pandemic will eventually pass, and the key melody of our friendly cooperation should always be sung. China will firmly support the Philippines in overcoming the pandemic as soon as possible and the Chinese Consulate in Laoag is always willing to further promote friendly cooperation between China and the Philippines in economic and cultural fields and create a better future together.
May the great People's Republic of China prosper!
May China-Philippine friendship last long!