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Ambassador WU Xi's Remarks at the Parliamentary Chinese New Year Celebration

The Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand,

The Right Honourable Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand,

Honourable Jenny Salesa, Minister for Ethnic Communities,

President Richard Leung,

Mayor Andy Foster,

Respected Ministers, Members of Parliament, and Excellencies,

Distinguished Guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Tēnā koutou katoa,

Ngā mihi o te tau hou, te tau o te Kiore!

It is my great pleasure to join you all again at this grand Parliamentary Chinese New Year Celebration - an event which has been held here for over two decades. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy and prosperous year of the Rat!

This Lunar New Year is certainly an extraordinary one for all people in China. As everyone will be aware, we have been responding to a sudden outbreak of novel coronavirus. 1.4 billion people have had to stay at home and refrain from visiting friends or relatives to minimise the risk of virus spreading. They have shown unprecedented self-discipline in an otherwise joyous season to support the prevention and control of the epidemic.

China has launched a people's war against the epidemic. President Xi has made clear instructions to fully mobilise, comprehensively deploy, and comprehensively enhance our prevention and control efforts. We have taken a whole-of-government approach, used whole-of-nation resources, and mobilised whole-of-society forces to fight against the spread of the virus. We have shared information in a timely, open and transparent manner.

Through our concerted efforts, the epidemic is now generally under control. The number of recovered patients is several times the number of deaths. In provinces outside Hubei, the number of newly confirmed cases has been dropping day by day. The total number of infections outside China is less than 1% of those in China. With strong leadership, a superior national system, united people, and constantly improving governance and capacity, we have the confidence, capability and determination to prevail over the virus as soon as possible.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are not alone in fighting the serious war against the epidemic. Heads of more than 160 countries and international organizations have shown their support through letters and messages, and the governments and peoples of many countries, including New Zealand, have donated needed supplies. WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has spoken highly of China's extraordinary and effective control measures to combat the epidemic and considers them a world benchmark for epidemic prevention and control. The WHO has repeatedly underscored it is not necessary to impose international travel and trade restrictions on China. With the international community standing firmly behind China, we believe that no epidemic is invincible.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Chinese market is big enough to withstand the impact of the epidemic, which is temporary. When it is over, the subdued consumer demand will be released rapidly. As we continue to advance our process of reform and opening up, the dynamism of China's economy will rebound strongly, and the market will continue to grow. Despite the epidemic, China will maintain the momentum of its economic development, strive to achieve its development goals for this year, and continue to firmly move toward its long-term goals.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A virus knows no borders, colours, or races. A virus is the common enemy of the human society. Confronted with the epidemic, panic and fear will not help, while racism and xenophobia will only make things worse.

We can only survive with solidarity, as we are in the same boat, "He waka eke noa". In order to win the war against the epidemic, we must be united, as unity is strength, "Ma tini ma mano ka rapa te whai".

In conclusion, I would like to thank the New Zealand government, Hon. Jenny Salesa, Minister for Ethnic Communities, and the Chinese Community for organising this Parliamentary Chinese New Year Celebration, and for all the support you have given for China's cause to fight against the epidemic. I wish you a joyful evening!

Thank you!

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