Speech from Zhou Li, publisher of China Daily Asia Pacific

Honorable Chief Secretary for Administration Mr Matthew Cheung, honorable consuls-general, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen: Good evening!

Thank you all for joining us today. The coming of the New Year brings a time for renewal of old friendships and forging new ones. It’s also a time to embrace the spirit of universal goodwill.

As we all know too well, this is a time of huge uncertainties. In politics, economics, at the corporate level, in matters of forging business ties — as indeed in our relationships with each other — we are often faced with the big question mark. Should one opt for openness or isolation, cooperation or confrontation? The choices we make now will determine the lives we and the younger generations are going to lead in the future.

China’s stance is clear in this respect. It was evident at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October. China believes it is essential to advance peace, development and cooperation between countries, foster a new inclusive form of international relations and build a community with the goal of creating a shared future for mankind.

The Belt and Road Initiative, launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013, is a huge step forward in that direction. President Xi conceived of an economic model that supports much of the world’s shared desire for accelerated development. This might sound a bit idealistic but I do believe it’s possible to achieve by pooling together our resources and fostering a culture of pursuing shared benefits through collaboration. 

Naturally, Hong Kong, with all its talent, expertise, locational advantages and supernetwork across the world, is already a vital link in this international community.

China Daily also has a role in this ambitious enterprise to bring the world closer. Our job is to help add clarity to the understanding of what might look like bumps along the road. We look to find common ground and bring these to the attention of our readers.

Our publication, China Daily Asia Weekly, now in its seventh year, is already reaching beyond the borders, having become the most widely distributed regional publication in Asia.

Meanwhile, all of us at China Daily Asia Pacific are gearing up to take on the challenges of an increasingly digitalized media age. Last week, in cooperation with our Asia News Network partners, we got right out into the traffic in seven of Asia’s most congested cities, during the morning rush hour. The live-streaming, hosted from our Hong Kong studio and featuring expert analysis, drew tens of thousands of viewers over four hours.

Efforts such as these are directed at finding solutions to make our lives a little easier. And one of the ways of doing that is to try and build understanding and trust through dialogue. As China reaches out to the rest of the world, we are happy to provide a platform to foster such dialogues. Today we’re not just offering our hands to you but in fact we’re ready to welcome you with open arms.

This is the spirit with which we greet you today. You have honored us greatly by your presence here. Let’s get to know each other. Enjoy yourselves.

Happy New Year!

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