Consul General Fei Mingxing's National Day Message

October 1st 2020 marks the 71st anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. On this festival occasion, I would like to extend my warmest greetings to all Chinese nationals in KwaZulu Natal Province (KZN) of South Africa, and my sincerest appreciation to Premier Sihle Zikalala and friends of all walks of life in KZN for theircontinuous support for the development of China and China-South Africa relations.


The Covid-19 caught us unexpectedly in 2020, triggered a global comprehensive crisis and profound changes in public health. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), through painstaking efforts and tremendous sacrifice,China has succeeded in turning the situation around. In little more than a month, the rising spread of the virus was contained. In around two months, the daily increase in domestic coronavirus cases had fallen to single digits. In approximately three months, a decisive victory was secured inthe battle to defend Hubei Province and its capital cityWuhan. With these strategic achievements, China has protected its people's lives, safety and health, and made a significant contribution to safe guarding regional and global public health.


Meanwhile, China's GDP grew by 3.2 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of the year, versus a 6.8 percent contraction in the first quarter. China is the only G20 country recording positive economic growth in the second quarter of 2020. Looking forward, China's economy could achieve positive growth for the year. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang recently told a virtual gathering of international business leaders.


China remains on course to eradicateextreme poverty in 2020 despite Covid-19 impact. In the past seven decades, more than 850 million Chinese people were lifted out of poverty; the average life expectancy more than doubled from 35 to 77 years; nearly 1.4 billion Chinese people have made a historic leap from destitution to subsistence and to a life of moderate prosperity.


China has made amazing progress in agriculture, science and technology, governance and other areas in 2020. Its summer grain output reached a record high of 142.8 billion kg, 1.21 billion kg more than that of the previous year. The Beidou-3 global satellite navigation system was officially opened and has become a new system providing high-quality navigation and positioning services for the world. Tianwen-1 lifted off for  its space travel towards the mars probe. The New Civil Code highlighting privacy and personal information protection was approved by the National People's Congress of China and will take effect on 1 January 2021. China put forward the Global Initiative on Data Security, and continued to firmly uphold the UN-centered international system and the international order based on international law.


Since the outbreak of the epidemic, China has engaged in international co-operation openly, transparently and responsibly. China informed the World Health Organization (WHO) and relevant countries about the outbreak in timely fashion, shared its experience of prevention, control and treatment, and provided strong support and assistance to countries in need.China has sent 34 medical expert teams to 32 countries, provided 283 batches of anti-epidemic supplies to 150 countries and 4 international organizations, and exported medical supplies to more than 200 countries and regions.


At the height of China's battle with COVID-19, African countries extended precious support to China, with over 50 African leaders expressing solidarity and support in phone calls with Chinese leaders or public statements. At the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19 in Beijing via video link, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged that once the development and deployment of COVID-19 vaccine is completed in China, African countries will be among the first to benefit. China also committed itself to offering greater support for those African countries that are hardest hit by the coronavirus and are under heavy financial stress.


China and South Africa have been supporting each other in the fight against the virus. President Cyril Ramaphosa sent two letters of sympathy and support to President Xi Jinping, and publicly supported China's efforts in the fight against Covid -19 on many occasions. South African companies donated money and materials to help China fight the epidemic. Students of Durban Music School specially produced a video clip to show their solidarity with China.


President Xi Jinping had two phone calls with President Cyril Ramaphosa. China supported South Africa in its efforts to fight the epidemic, to fulfill its rotating presidency of the African Union and play a leading role in Africa's fight against the epidemic. China and South Africabothexpressed support to the United Nations and WHO in playing an active role in coordinating international efforts.


The Chinese side has donated millions of rand and tons of epidemic prevention materials to the South African government, military and medical institutions and regional communities. The Chinese enterprises and communities in South Africa including those in Durban, Newcastle, Mandini spontaneously donated anti-pandemic supplies and food parcels to local communities. Professor Ma Xiujie and her students in Beijing sent their video greetings to South African brothers and sisters in Zulu language.


Today, as we celebrate the Chinese National Day, we are pleased to see the international flights to and fro South Africa resumed, which is a landmark for the country. While mourning the loss of fellow compatriots to the virus, we are more convinced that the battle is not over yet and we face daunting challenges for economic growth and social development.


Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong wrote, "So many deeds cry out to be done, and always urgently.""Ten thousand years are too long, seize every day and hour." President Nelson Mandela said, "A winner is a dreamer who never gives up."


Let's join our hands firmly, to prevail over the virus, to recover the economy and bring more benefits to the people through our continuous win-win cooperation.


May the friendship between China and South Africa last forever!


Happy Chinese National Day!


(The Message is published in The Mercury on 30 September 2020.)