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Chinese Consulate Kolkata Holds New Year Reception and Prize-Giving Ceremony

On 15 December 2017, the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Kolkata held a New Year press reception and a prize-giving ceremony for the Knowledge Contest on China-India Friendship and the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). About 120 people were present, including reporters from PTI, UNI, IANS, Times of India, the Telegraph, the Hindu, the Statesman, Northern India Patrika, Times Now, India Today, NDTV, India TV, Republic TV, ANM News, IBG News, El Samay, Sambad Today, Khabar 365 Din, Anando Bazaar Patrika, Sangbad Protidin, Bartoman, Su Khobor, and other news agencies, as well as winners of the above contest.

Mr. Ma Zhanwu, Chinese Consul General in Kolkata, expressed his welcome to everyone during his remarks. He touched upon the major  developments in the world over the past year, saying the world is undergoing profound changes, and so are China and India. China witnessed a GDP growth of 6.9 % in 2017 and has made progress in all its undertakings, especially in its mega-projects, such as the new Beijing airport, which will be the largest in the world upon completion in 2019, and the sea-crossing Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, which, being the world's longest of its kind, will be open to traffic next year. Another important event for China and the world was the 19th National Congress of the CPC, which, held in Beijing in October 2017, established Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era as the guideline for the Party and put China on a new journey towards national rejuvenation. The meeting has also drawn a blueprint for China's future development, and made a timetable and a road-map: by 2020, China will complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects; by 2035, it will basically realize socialist modernization; and by the middle of this century, it will become a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful. In addition, the Congress has set up clear goals for China's foreign policy and put forward China's solution for major issues faced by the world, that is, to hold high the banner of peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit, and promote forging a new form of international relations and building a community with a shared future for mankind.

Mr. Ma said that China-India relationship has weathered severe tests this year and has become more mature. President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Modi reached important consensus on developing a healthy and stable bilateral relationship during their meeting in Xiamen, China in early September 2017. The foreign ministers of the two countries met to discuss ways to promote the ties a few days ago. The special representatives on the boundary question from the two nations will hold a new round of talks in a week.

Mr. Ma indicated that the efforts by his Consulate to advance exchanges and cooperation between China and Eastern India have been fruitful thanks to support from friends in this area. He gave examples of relevant programs by the consulate, such as sending the winners of the Best Durga Puja Pandal Competition to China for exchanges and a tour, donating teaching equipment to the Naba Disha centers established by Kolkata police to help street children, helping inaugurate India's first Confucius classroom, which was set up by the School of Chinese language in Kolkata in cooperation with the Yunnan Normal University. Mr. Ma revealed that lakhs of people from the five Eastern states got to know about the above contest and nearly one thousand people participated, making it a great success. He said that the 10 top winners of the contest will be invited to visit China in April 2018, the second prize winners would be awarded a smart phone each, and the rest of the participants will be given fine gifts from China.

The Consul General expressed his gratitude to the friends from the press for their support over the year, and said that his office will continue to hold various events in 2018. He mentioned some programs in the coming months, including a B2B conference for Chinese delegations coming to Kolkata for the Bengal Global Business Summit in January, the performance by Chinese artists in Kolkata in February, and the Chinese Higher Education Expo in late April. And he hoped to have continued support from the Indian friends in strengthening ties between his country and Eastern India.

In conclusion, Mr. Ma congratulated the winners of the contest and wished everyone present success, good health and prosperity in 2018.

Following the speech, Mr. Ma and Deputy Consul General Cai Zhifeng gave away prizes to the winners of the contest. Then the Chinese diplomats chatted with the Indian guests over the developments in China, the interactions between China and Eastern India and the activities by the consulate. The Indian guests said they were happy to interact with the diplomats in a relaxed way and would work with the consulate to build on India-China friendship.

Mr. Ashwani Diwan and Mr. Debayan Pal, winners of the first prize of the contest, shared their experience on the contest and said they looked forward to visiting China next year. Mr. Nishant Bhaskaran, Mr. Binoy Dhar, Mr. Sujit Kumar Mitra, Mr. Tapas Kumer Bagchi, Mrs. Ishita Ghosh, Mr. Surav Saraf, and Mr. Bidesh Sardar, winners of the second prize, talked about how they were able to do well in the competition and said they would take part in more programs by the consulate.

A young man from Kolkata's Chinese community sang a Chinese song and a Bengali song for the audience, and local dancers presented a Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi dance. The fascinating performances won loud applause. A lottery game was subsequently organized and gifts were presented to the guests.

A few short films on China's social and economic development and natural beauty were also shown on the occasion, and some Chinese music was played during the reception.

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