(11 February, Albert Hall, Canberra)
H.E. Governor General Peter Cosgrove and Lady Cosgrove,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am very pleased to welcome all of you to the ‘Day of China’ this evening. We are delighted and honored to have the presence of his Excellency Governor General Peter Cosgrove and Lady Cosgrove on this occasion. Thank you very much for coming.
‘Day of China’ is one of the highlight events of Chinese New Year celebrations. It enables our Australian friends to experience Chinese culture and traditions up close. It is also a wonderful opportunity to deepen mutual understanding and friendship between our two peoples.
Tonight, we are pleased to offer you a special concert of traditional Chinese music jointly performed by eminent Chinese Pipa player Ms Zhang Hongyan, China Philharmonic Orchestra and Australia’s Griffyn Ensemble. The Chinese and Australian musicians will showcase the very best of their respective cultural traditions in a fusion of East and West beyond imagination. I hope you enjoy the performance.
2014 witnessed a fruitful year for China-Australia relations. At the invitation of Governor General Cosgrove, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a successful state visit to Australia by elevating our bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership and concluding the FTA negotiations. As the milestone visit opened a new chapter in our relations, both sides are committed to building an ever stronger China-Australia relationship for our common future.
As we farewell the year of the horse, we are embracing the year of the sheep. Sheep is quite a special animal for our two countries. It symbolizes happiness and harmony in Chinese traditions. Australia is often described as ‘a country riding on sheep’s back’. Most Chinese people of my generation got to know Australia with one of its most famous folk song ‘Click Go the Shears’.
I wish everyone a happy and prosperous year of the sheep. Thank you.