China’s Ambassador to Cyprus Liu Yantao looks at the year that has just past and looks ahead to the Year of the Tiger
On the occasion of the upcoming Spring Festival, on behalf of the Embassy of China in Cyprus, I wish to extend our best wishes to the Chinese diaspora, Chinese students, staff of Chinese companies and Chinese peacekeepers in Cyprus, as well as heartfelt appreciation to the government and people of Cyprus and friends from all sectors who care about and support China and the development of China-Cyprus relations.
2021 was the Year of Ox in China. It was a hard-working, fruitful and extraordinary year for the development of China and China-Cyprus relations.
For China, 2021 was an important year in which we built on the past and mapped out the future. Last year, the Communist Party of China celebrated its 100th anniversary, and China successfully launched the “14th Five-Year Plan”. Looking back on the past century, the CPC has united and led the people of all ethnic groups in China to become self-reliant and strived to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects, achieving its first centenary goal.
In the past year, China accelerated the dual-cycle development pattern with the domestic cycle as the mainstay and with domestic and international development reinforcing each other. China’s GDP increased by 8.1 per cent year-on-year, and PCDI by 9.1 per cent. With accelerated improvement of social security system covering all the general public, about 99 million impoverished rural residents living below the current poverty line were lifted out of poverty, achieving the poverty eradication target set in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule.
With enhanced efforts in the development of high-tech, the construction of China’s space station achieved major milestones. In 2021, Tianwen-1 continued its interplanetary exploration, and 55 space launches were recorded, ranking No. 1 in the world. At present, under the strong leadership of the CPC, the Chinese people of all ethnic groups are striving to achieve the second centenary goal of building a great modern socialist country in an all-round way.
For China-Cyprus relations, 2021 marked a year of progress and key breakthroughs. China and Cyprus celebrated the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, setting a new milestone in the friendly exchanges and cooperation between the two countries.
In 2021, Chinese President Xi Jinping had a telephone conversation with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and released a joint statement. Chairman of the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress Li Zhanshu held a virtual meeting with Cypriot House president Annita Demetriou. Head of the Office of Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee Yang Jiechi paid an official visit to Cyprus. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi made a stopover visit to Cyprus. As an important outcome of high-level interactions between the two countries, the China-Cyprus relationship was successfully elevated to a strategic partnership. The two sides reviewed the valuable experience of the 50 years of diplomatic relations and agreed to carry forward the development of friendly relations, fully implement the spirit and consensus reached by the two heads of state, continue to pursue common principles and values, firmly support each other’s core interests and major concerns. The two sides will practise equality, fairness, justice and true multilateralism, work together to deepen cooperation in jointly building the Belt and Road, and to promote the community with a Shared Future for Mankind. Last year, the two sides jointly held a series of celebratory events in various forms including an online seminar, TV forum, fireside chat, and photo exhibition, with the extensive involvement of governments, political parties, parliament, business communities, academia and media. Standing at a new starting point, the China-Cyprus relationship is poised to embrace an even brighter future.
For the Chinese diaspora in Cyprus, 2021 was a year of love and solidarity. Facing the increasingly severe pandemic, the Chinese people living in Cyprus strictly abided by the local prevention and control regulations. After forest fires unseen in a century broke out in Cyprus, the Chinese community extended a helping hand and made a generous donation to the fire-stricken areas, fully reflecting the spirit of a shared destiny and great love for Cyprus. Meanwhile, they actively participated in various celebrations for the 50th anniversary of China-Cyprus diplomatic relations, making important and positive contributions to the friendship between the two countries.
In a few days, we will witness the opening of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and Winter Paralympics. Winter sports athletes from all over the world will gather in Beijing and join the sport gala which honours the Olympic motto – Faster, Higher, Stronger-Together, for a shared future. I wish the Cypriot team the best of luck in Beijing!
2022 is the Year of Tiger in China, symbolising vitality, bravery, strength and sturdiness. May the friendship between China and Cyprus last forever! May the Chinese New Year bring my fellow Chinese compatriots and my friends in Cyprus happiness, good health and prosperity!
Liu Yantao is China’s ambassador to Cyprus