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Ambassador Zhang appreciates the support by Australia to the rescue and restoration efforts of China's Sichuan Earthquake

On July 23, Chinese Ambassador Zhang Junsai held an Opening Reception of the Photo Exhibition in appreciation of the Australian Government and People' s support and donations to the rescue and restoration efforts of China's Sichuan Earthquake

Ambassador said that the entire China was instantaneously mobilized for rescue after the powerful earthquake occurred. Premier Wen Jiabao rushed to the disaster area within hours after the outbreak. President Hu Jintao made an inspection tour shortly afterwards. Never before in China's history was seen such a large-scale rescue operation involving hundreds of thousands of army soldiers, policemen, medical workers and volunteers. China as a nation has become stronger and more united.

The earthquake has also aroused widespread sympathy and humanitarian support from all parts of China and all over the world. By mid June, more than 7 billion US dollars worth of donations in money and in kind had poured into the quake-stricken areas.

The thought of all Australians, like rest of the world, has always been with the Chinese people throughout this extremely difficult time. Our statistics show that the aggregate donations from Australia are in excess of 20 million Australian dollars, among which 2.75 million is from Australian Commonwealth Government and 6 million from the Australian Red Cross. 'A friend in need is a friend indeed'. The Chinese people will never forget the goodwill of the Australian government and people.

Now all the quake survivors have been provided with due shelters and medical treatment. The students have returned to school. The construction of new hometowns has started. But the disaster area is faced with the even tougher challenges such quarantine service, medical and psychological treatment, resettlement and reemployment of the affected population in millions. With efficient and effective management of the Chinese Government plus the aid and support from all over China and the international community, the Chinese people will eventually overcome the disaster, heal the wounds and build new homes for the disaster-stricken population.

At last, Ambassador Zhang expressed once again the heartfelt thanks to the Australian government of all levels and people, the Australian business world, the local Chinese community and the Chinese students who have in one form or another shown their sympathies for the quake victims and lent their support to the rescue work. And he said that these kind thoughts and generous contributions will continue to help the Chinese people in the post-quake restoration and the construction of a new homeland.

Mr. John Hargreaves, ACT Minister for Multicultural Affairs and other guests attended the reception.

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