By Yankuba Jallow
The Chinese Embassy in The Gambia has on Sunday celebrated their Spring Festival on the 3rd February 2019. The festival also known as the Chinese Luna New Year was celebrated at the Chinese Embassy in Bijilo. Chinese Ambassador Ma Jianchun’s said the Chinese Lunar Year this year is on 5th of February this year.
“For thousands of years in our history, the Spring Festival has always remained the most significant and spectacular festival of the Chinese people,” he said.
He said the Spring Festival is the grandest and the most important annual event for the Chinese. He added that last year marked the 40th anniversary of China’s Reform and Opening-up and that the nation has scored tremendous achievements in the past 40 years of hard work.
“Over the past four decades, China’s economy has grown from a pond to an ocean. In 2018, the Chinese Gross Domestic Product reached over 90 trillion RMB, and the growth rate was at 6.6%, which continued to be one of the highest among major economies around the globe,” he revealed.
The Ambassador explained that the year 2018 has been marked by uncertainty. Unilateralism and protectionism further developed, and the international system came under serious strain, he added.
“In such circumstances, China has kept cleaving waves and forging ahead toward its intended destination. We held the Bo’ao Forum for Asia, which stated loud and clear that China’s door of opening-up will not close but even wider,” he said.
He indicated that China has hosted the first China International Import Expo, which was the world’s first national-level expo devoted to imports. He added that China hosted the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, which advocated building an even stronger China-Africa Cooperation with a shared future.
He pointed out some of the projects that China has successfully launched in the Gambia in the year 2018 including China-aid infrastructure, the road and bridges construction in the Upper River Region. He said the agreement on the feasibility study of the China-aid Gambian National Electricity Transmission and Distribution Project has been signed, and Chinese experts will soon come to The Gambia for feasibility study of the project. He added that China’s agricultural experts will soon come to The Gambia.
He put forward that sometime last week, the China-aid “Brightness Action” Campaign was practised in Sheikh Zayed Regional Eye Care Center in Kanifing, during which 206 Gambian patients underwent free eye surgeries carried out by Chinese doctors and regained eyesight. He said the Confucius Institute at the University of The Gambia will be inaugurated shortly, which will boost China-Gambia cultural exchanges and bring the hearts of our people even closer to each other.
“The year 2019 will mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. It is a critical juncture in our journey toward the great renewal of the Chinese nation and a crucial year for meeting the first centenary goal, namely ushering in a moderately prosperous society in all aspects,” he said.
He emphasized China’s strong commitment to stand firmly for the existing international order, ensure the success of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation to be held this year in Beijing, advance friendship and cooperation with all countries including The Gambian, and take an active part in shaping global governance.