by Li Huizi
Photo by Sammy Zhu
The Chinese Consulate General in Christchurch held a Spring Festival charity dinner on Saturday to raise funds for poverty relief in southwest China’s Yunnan Province.
The event saw both overseas Chinese and Kiwis actively contributing to China’s poverty reduction efforts.
More than 20 auction items, including calligraphy works and paintings by well-known Chinese and Kiwi artists, New Zealand red wines, a table tennis racket signed by a Chinese Olympic champion player were successfully auctioned at high prices.
Two China Southern Airlines business-class round-trip air tickets were sold for 7,000 NZ dollars, fetching the highest price at the dinner.
The money raised at the dinner, which was attended by more than 260 people in total, will be used to fund the purchase of breeding sheep and anti-epidemic facilities. These will be the cornerstone of two demonstration sheep farms in two impoverished counties in Yunnan Province.
Chinese Consul General Wang Zhijian, at the charity dinner celebrating the upcoming Year of the Rat, thanked New Zealand for the help it has been providing for years, such as the New Zealand Agency for International Development’s rural poverty reduction programs in China running since the 1990s, and the New Zealand Development Scholarships targeting China’s underdeveloped western provinces including Guizhou and Yunnan.
The Christchurch China Sister Cities Committee has been making ongoing efforts to train interpreters for less-developed Gansu Province, said Wang, who also acknowledged “the long-standing efforts of the New Zealand China Friendship Society South Island Branch to raise money for providing nurse training to impoverished female youths in China.”
“These programs have played a positive role in improving the basic education and medical service, and the living standards of farmers in these provinces,” he said.
“You are providing a life-changing opportunity to people in the two counties suffering from poverty for long,” Wang told donors and bidders at the dinner, adding China has lifted over 700 million people out of poverty in the past several decades.
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said in her speech that hundreds of millions of Chinese people having been lifted out of poverty is “something less often talked about” and “more impressive,” as the progress has happened in the timeframe of just two generations.