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Speech of H.E. Ambassador Hu Zhaoming at the Spring Festival Gala

Respected Deputy Speaker H.E. Mr. Zeljko Reiner,

Respected H.E. Mr. Stjepan Mesic,

Respected Mayor of Zagreb, Mr. Milan Bandic,

Ladies and gentlemen, Dear Friends,

Good evening!

Today we are very happy to have you all here to welcome the Chinese New Year. In three days, Chinese New Year is coming. The coming year is the Year of the Dog and the children who come tonight have all got their puppy toys. Year of the Dog symbolizes friendship and loyalty. I hope that all the children will make new and trustful friends in the new year.

For Chinese people, Spring Festival is the day for family reunion. It is the first time that Chinese Embassy holds the Spring Festival Gala. Also, it's the first time that we invite you and your family members to attend this gathering together. I'm very glad that today the spouse and children of Mr. Gordan Jandrokovic, the Speaker of Croatian National Parliament join us. Also, we have several special families here. One family is from the elementary school in Vukovar which Chinese embassy supported, welcome! Our welcome also goes to Ms Suzi Vong Debelich from Karlovac. Her grandfather came to Croatia from China at the beginning of the last century and is the earliest Chinese, so far as we know, to settle in Croatia. Welcome! Also, Mr Vojko Kocijan and his family from Rijeka. Mr Kocijan and his father work at the Rijeka port and in 50s and 60s of the last century, all ships that were imported from Yugoslavia to China were built in Rijeka port.

For the Chinese, Spring Festival is also the day of gratitude. Last year, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Croatia. The cooperation between China and Croatia in various fields has made remarkable progress. The hearts of the two peoples are getting closer. I would like to thank Croatian government and City of Zagreb for their strong support for China-Croatia relations and Chinese Embassy, as well as to thank all circles of Croatian society for their contributions to China-Croatia cooperation. Especially, I'd like to thank Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences and University of Zagreb for their cooperation with China in the field of culture and education, and the support for Confucius Institute is also greatly valued for us. Today, we specially invited four winners of the Chinese Bridge Competition to participate in this gathering.Meanwhile, I'd like to thank Croatian Ministry of Tourism. Last year, Chinese Hunan TV came to Croatia and filmed the special episode and it received strong support from the Croatian Ministry of Tourism. This special episode was broadcast on December 15th in China and watched by almost 100 million Chinese. I believe it will bring more Chinese tourists to Croatia.

For the Chinese, the Spring Festival is also the day of prospect. As the winter will leave us soon, people are looking forward to spring and full of expectations for the new year. I hope that in the new year, the cooperation between Croatian Rimac automobili company and Chinese side can achieve new progress; I hope that Senj wind power plant, with investment from Chinese companies, will produce more power for Croatia; I hope that the effort of Zadar County for attracting Chinese companies could soon achieve early harvest; what I hope for the most is that the contract for building Peljesac bridge could soon be signed, so that the long-cherished wish of Croatian people for connecting the two parts of state territory could be realized.

Ladies, gentlemen,

On the occasion of the Chinese New Year and with the longings for the beautiful future, let us make a wish that China-Croatia relations achieve even greater development in the new year, the bilateral cooperation reach new heights in the new year, and the flower of friendship between China and Croatia gets more beautiful and fragrant blossoms in the new year!

Thank you all!

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