I want to send my very best wishes to everyone celebrating the Chinese New Year — here in Britain, in China, and all around the world.
This is a very special year for Britain and China. Britain was the first Western country to recognise the People’s Republic of China. And this year we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of full diplomatic ties. Indeed, today Britain’s ties with China are deeper and broader than at any time in our history.
Our trade continues to expand rapidly, with Britain remaining the most open economy in Europe for Chinese investment. There are more Chinese students studying in the UK and more British students in China than ever before. There are even two giant Chinese Pandas in Edinburgh zoo — a great attraction, with people from all over the world going to see them.
And, of course, there are Chinese communities here in Britain making an incredible contribution to our country — from business to culture, from science to local government, everyday showcasing the values of hard work, enterprise and community that make this country what it is.
I hope in this Olympic year for Britain that we can not only build on the success of the Beijing games but also use the opportunity of the games to open up new areas of our relationship; taking advantage of the ways in which our two economies increasingly complement each other, and the growing conversations between our governments and our peoples about the kind of societies we want to be and the kind of world we want to see.
I wish you good fortune — and hope that this year of the dragon can be a year of success for China, for Britain, and for us all.
Gong xi fa cai (“congratulations and good fortune”).