I Am Proud of My Country
by H.E. Jiang Jiang, Chinese Ambassador to Malta

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. On 1st October 1949, Chairman Mao Zedong proclaimed to the world the founding of the People's Republic of China, thus ushering in a new epoch in Chinese history. This is a day of national celebration in China, and I wish to share my joy and pride with Maltese friends.

Seventy years are but a fleeting moment in the long sweep of history. But for the Chinese nation, the past seven decades are momentous and extraordinary.

In the past 70 years, under the leadership the Communist Party of China and through tireless and courageous efforts, the Chinese people have changed the look of their country and profoundly impacted the course of world development.

I feel proud of the history of my country. China is a country with a five-thousand-year uninterrupted civilization, and the Chinese are a people that keep moving forward amid trials and tribulations. Seventy years ago in 1949, the Chinese people put an end to their century-long subjugation by foreign powers, and gained independence and liberation. They founded the People’s Republic of China, and took back control of their own destiny. The Chinese people were back on their feet, and have stood firm since.

I feel proud of the achievements of my country. In just seven decades, China has lifted itself out of poverty, and grown into the second largest economy in the world. The Chinese people have ushered in a new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics, facing down daunting challenges and severe difficulties.

The Chinese story is a story about significant economic growth, rising national strength and improving lives of its people.

A recent study shows that China’s GDP in 2018 was 175 times that of 1952, representing an average annual growth rate of 8.1 percent.

In 1949, China’s average life expectancy was 35 years. In 2018, the figure was 77 years. In 1949, illiteracy rate among a population of 450 million was 80 percent. Last year, illiteracy rate among a population of 1.36 billion was 6.7 percent. China is the only major developing country which has attained both goals of halving the illiterate population and halving the number of people in poverty. We have set the target of lifting all the remaining poor population out of poverty within next year. By that time, the Chinese people will have eliminated poverty in their country once and for all.

I feel proud of the contributions my country has made to the world. Today’s China is the world’s largest trader in goods, the second largest trader in services, and the biggest trading partner of more than 130 countries and regions.

Recent years have seen China become a major engine driving the world economy, contributing some 30 percent to global growth each year.

China has actively fulfilled its international responsibilities. We are the second largest contributor both to UN regular budget and its peacekeeping budget. And among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, we are the largest troop contributing country to UN peacekeeping operations.

China has played an active part in the global effort of fighting terrorism, combating piracy and safeguarding international maritime routes. China supports the Paris Agreement and is an active participant in the international cooperation on tackling climate change.

China has been working for peaceful settlement of regional and international hotspot issues, concerning the Korean Peninsula, Iran, the Middle East, Syria and Afghanistan.

China has been actively involved in the making of global governance rules. China is firm in upholding the international system with the United Nations at the core and governed by international law. China is firm in upholding the rules-based multilateral trading system with the WTO at it center. And China is a strong advocate of multilateralism and free trade.

China is committed to reform and opening-up. Since President Xi Jinping put forward the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, more than 160 countries, including Malta, and international organizations have participated in this initiative. A great number of signature projects have been launched in the partner countries.

These projects have played an important role in boosting local investment and consumption, creating demand and employment, enhancing people-to-people exchanges and raising people’s living standards.

China stands ready to work with all other countries to build a community with a shared future for mankind, and an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity.

China follows an independent foreign policy of peace. We believe that all countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are equal members of the international community. All countries have the right to choose their own development path, and all countries should respect each other. These principles have underpinned China’s relations with Malta and other countries.

Since the establishment of diplomatic ties, and in recent years in particular, China and Malta have maintained close contacts at various levels, and our practical cooperation has made significant progress across the board.

Last year, the Hon. Prime Minister Muscat attended the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai. The two governments signed a memorandum of understanding on Belt and Road cooperation on that occasion, mapping out a new blueprint for our cooperation in the new era.

The two sides are now working together to make our Belt and Road cooperation even more productive and deliver more tangible benefits to the people of both countries.

Looking ahead, there is so much that our two countries can do together. I am deeply convinced, through my experience in this lovely country over the past three years, that no matter how the international landscape may change, China-Malta friendly cooperation will continue to grow and reach even greater heights.

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