Mutual Beneficial and Win-Win Partnership between China and Tasmania

On August 21, 2019, Tasmanian newspaper Mercury published an article named Mutual Beneficial and Win-Win Partnership between China and Tasmania by Long Zhou, Consul General of People’s Republic of China in Melbourne. The full text is as follows:

I assumed my post as Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Melbourne this February, the consular district of which covers Victoria and Tasmania. I had not visited Tasmania at that point, but was no stranger to this enchanting island located in the southernmost of Australia. The visit by President Xi Jinping to Tasmania on 18 November 2014 has made more Chinese people know Tasmania. The letter written to President Xi by the pupils of Scotch Oakburn College introduced Tasmania's unique products, beautiful scenery, and made mention of the Tahune Air Walk, Cataract Gorge, and  Tasmanian Devil, which filled me with anticipation about seeing beautiful and unique Tasmania.

I made a brief but substantial two-day visit to Tasmania for the first time on 18-19 June. Although we were in the midst of winter in the southern hemisphere, I was very warmed by the especially beautiful sights of Hobart City and friendly Tasmanian people. My visit coincided with the big wintry celebration of Dark MOFO in Hobart, leaving me with a deep impression of Tasmanians’ creative energies and zest for life. I would like to express my thanks to the Tasmanian State Government and Parliament for their warm reception and thoughtful arrangements on this occasion. I have had the great pleasure to meet and exchange views with H.E. the Hon. Governor Kate Warner, Hon. Premier Will Hodgman, President of Legislative Council Hon. Craig Farrell, Chief Justice Hon. Alan Blow, Scott Bacon MP representing the Opposition Party, Lord Mayor of Hobart Anna Reynolds and Vice-Chancellor Rufus Black from the University of Tasmania. I also had the chance to visit the Department of State Growth to gain a fuller understanding of economic, trade and investment cooperation between China and Tasmania, and have had extensive discussions with local industry and business community. I was able to visit some Chinese associations in the state and to meet Chinese students studying at the University of Tasmania’s Hobart Campus.

I came with the strong and sincere hope for further promoting China-Tasmania relationship and found the enthusiasm showed by the State Government and the broader society for developing our bilateral relations really gratifying and touching. What I witnessed in my visit has left me full of confidence and with hope for a brighter future of  Chinese-Tasmanian cooperation.

There is a special bond of friendship between Tasmania and China. Fujian Province in China has had a sister-state relationship with Tasmania for 38 years and President Xi Jinping himself, then served as Governor of Fujian Province, received the then Premier of Tasmania Jim Bacon in Fujian, awarding him ‘honorary citizenship’ of Fujian Province. China has become the largest trading partner to Tasmania since 2009. In recent years, and with a significant push from President Xi's successful visit, cooperation between both sides has reached unprecedented heights in various fields. China became the first country to receive Tasmanian exports worth more than $1 billion Australian dollars in 2018, and it is also the largest source of Tasmania’s oversea students and international tourist income. Chinese companies have invested and developed businesses in Tasmania in areas like energy, minerals, agriculture, and education which have boosted Tasmania's economic growth. A continually growing local Tasmanian Chinese community has contributed to the development of local economy and society and become an important part of local multiculturalism. Chinese language studying has advanced rapidly in Tasmania and there are already 41 local schools teaching Chinese language today; the China Oriental Song and Dance Troupe performed in Hobart in February this year to an enthusiastic local reception, and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra has visited and performed in China on multiple occasions. There is a continuing, close partnership between Tasmania's famous historical attraction, Port Arthur, and Dunhuang Academy, an organization tasked with protecting China's Dunhuang Grottoes in cultural heritage conservation.

Although China and Tasmania may be at a significant distance from each other geographically, we are good partners and friends characterized by close cooperation and frequent interaction.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China and also the 5th anniversary of President Xi Jinping’s visit to Tasmania. The cooperation between China and Tasmania has now reached a new starting point. The great achievements made by China over the past 70 years have captured the world’s attention. More than 700 million Chinese people have been lifted from poverty under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. Now China's economy maintains stable growth with a positive momentum and enters a new phase of opening up, as we push toward high-quality growth. In his important remarks at the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing and G20 Osaka Summit not long ago, President Xi Jinping elaborated China's positions and more steps towards opening  markets, expanding imports, and promoting high-quality ‘Belt and Road’ cooperation. He has also shared with international audience China’s views on world economy and global governance, and suggested the way forward for major-country relations and international cooperation from the perspective of building a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind. China has full confidence in following its own path to develop well and maintaining peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation with all countries around the world. We are willing to work together with Australia and other countries to share development opportunities and realize common prosperity.

Tasmania’s many advantages, such as high-quality farm and pasture products, unique natural beauty, and high-level education industry, will bring about enormous potential and broad prospects for cooperation with China. We can further strengthen our exchanges and cooperation in the fields of green ocean and marine research, clean energy, environmental protection, food safety, culture and education. I believe a  long-term mutual beneficial and win-win partnership between China and Tasmania will bring even more benefits to our peoples. I am ready to work together with our Tasmanian friends to promote ever-increasing friendly exchanges and practical cooperation between us and to contribute to the healthy and steady development of China-Australia relations.

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