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2011-01-31 15:54


Your Excellency Ambassador Liu Xinsheng, Chinese Ambassador Liu Xinsheng, Chinese Ambassador to Tanzania,

Honourable Ministers,

Your Excellency Ambassadors,

Invited Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen:

NIHAU. In Swahili we say HABARI ZA JIONI.

Your Excellency, let me start by stating that the Guest of Honour for this event,, the Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E. Dr. Mohammed Gharib Bilal, much as he wished to be present here today to honour the invitation by our Chinese friends who have gathered here to celebrate the beginning of a New Year, the Year of Rabbit unfortunately due to other national commitments he could not be able to honour your invitation. He, nonetheless asked me to represent him and deliver his remarks.

Before embarking on the theme of the celebrations, allow me, Your Excellency and all invited guests, to state in brief on the bilateral relations that hitherto exists between China and Tanzania.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Tanzania in 1964 the two countries have continued to be genuine all weather friends despite political and economic challenges faced by both sides. I am happy to note that these relations are the results of the solid foundation that was laid down by our first generation leaders (Comrade Mao Zedong for the Peoples’ Republic of China and Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere for Tanzania). Tanzania is very thankful to the wisdom of these leaders that led towards the establishment of these cordial relations. Since then, there have been constant socio-economic, political and cultural cooperation including the exchanges of visits of our top leaders from both sides as well as the exchange of visits by government officials, business community, students, cultural troops, and traders. There visits have helped to consolidate the cooperation between both sides fro mutual benefits of our people. For example, Tanzania has been a recipient of a significant amount of technical and financial assistance in the form of grants and loans from China.

In recent year, Tanzania has witnessed a resumption of investments by China in new and viable economic endeavors. Since the establishment in 2000 of the Sino-Africa Forum and subsequent adoption of the Addis Ababa Plan of Action and the Third and Fourth Summits of the Sino-Africa Forum for Economic Cooperation, there has been an increase of Chinese people coming to our country – in a form of government officials, tourist, traders and investors. As a result, today there are about 240 Chinese companies operating in Tanzania that have generated about 6000 jobs to Tanzanians. These companies have invested about US$6,000 million. Furthermore, Tanzania has been granted a Special Preferential Tariff Treatment Status that allows for Tanzanian products (about 187 products) to access the Chinese market duty free. We need to take the opportunity of this offer to access the Chinese market. Products that might attract the Chinese market include marine products (Nile peach), timber that can be sold to China (on the basis of our country’s timber export regulations), bee wax, minerals and agricultural products.

Your Excellency,

Invited guests;

I am told that historically the Spring Festival claims its origin during the pre-Qin period when celebrations were based on sacrificing animals as thanks divining to Gods’ bestowment. During that time there was no fixed dates for hosting these celebrations. However, with the economic prosperity during the Han and the Tang Dynasties as well as the frequent intercourse between Chinese and foreign cultures, there occurred a transformation of the way to celebrate the spring festival. Nowadays, the Spring Festival which is celebrated at the beginning of a New Year takes at the start of the Spring season that has become a symbol of industriousness, auspiciousness, harmony and good wishes. I am also aware that the Chinese Spring Festival lasts for 16 days where by people visiting each other, offering of presents, dances (lion dance and dragon dance), drama playing, story telling and having parties where food is served. The festival also involves fireworks displays and the lighting of lanterns. I am informed that the Chinese New Year is also celebrated by the people in Viet Nam, Nort6h and South Korea as well as the people of Jan that makes the festival to be unique to the people of the Far East. We, join our Chinese friends in celebrating this New Year, I understand that this is the second time that the Chinese Community in Tanzania are gathered together to celebrate their New Year. We congratulate them for preserving their culture since I believe that culture, symbolize how a country is and identify them as a unique nation. Even our Father Our Nation, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, had once stated that t nation without its own culture is deemed to perish. Tanzania has a lot to learn from the Chinese experience of preserving their culture. For example, there is a need t6o educate our children on the importance to presser our culture instead of copying foreign ones so that we may be able to bequeath them with our national heritage.

Your Excellency,

Distinguished Guests,

At this juncture I would like to call upon the Ministry of Information, Culture and Sports to work together with Tanzania’s cultural institutions, associations and groups in the efforts to educate the people on the need to preserve our culture so that future generations may maintain the identity of our nation. I hope that your will cooperate with our dear Chinese friends since I believe that you will learn a lot from their experience.

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