Chinese Government Friendship Award 2019
New Zealand China Friendship Society (NZCFS) President Dave Bromwich was the recipient
of the Chinese Government Friendship Award on September 30 in Beijing.
The award states “The Chinese Government Friendship Award is presented to Mr David
Andrew Bromwich for your important contribution to China’s socialist modernisation as well
as exchanges and cooperation with other countries.”
It is the highest award given to foreigners, apart from the elite Friendship Medal which has
been awarded to just 8 in total, including people like Russian President Vladimir Putin, and
this year 104 year old lsobel Crook, who has spent most of her life in China, supporting the
Communist Party and its leadership.
Since inception in 1992 there has been a total of 1700 recipients of the Chinese Government
Friendship Award, from 70 countries. President Dave was one of 100 recipients this year,
more than usual because of the special nature of the 70 th year celebrations.
President Dave said “To receive the award is a great honour and very special in this year of
commemorating 70 years of PRC achievements, and a pleasure that my wife was able to be
present, courtesy of the Chinese government.”
“The award recognises the work I have done on behalf of the NZCFS since 2001. The key
activities have been the work in rural community development in the North-west, focusing
on promotion of cooperatives; delivering NZCFS tours which provide an in-depth experience
of China, with connection to Chinese society and partnerships as well as enjoying the
culture, history and scenic highlights China offers, and facilitation of delegations providing
opportunity for engagement in China.”
“In recent years I have been invited as a guest to present at different international forums,
and I think this is an indication of the respect and regard with which our society is held in
The award application process was managed by Shandan Bailie School and Gansu Province,
recognising Rewi Alley’s legacy there, and the continuation of his legacy that NZCFS has
played in the North-west of China.
President Dave first went to China in 1991 for a private family visit. He returned with his
family for one year in 1995-6 to teach English in Napier’s sister city of Lianyungang. Since
2000 he has visited at least twice each year, with a total of more than 45 visits and nine
years spent in China.
The award ceremony took place on September 30 in a large reception room in the Great
Hall of the People, with Vice Premier Liu He making the presentations. Premier Li Keqiang
met the group after the ceremony, and President Xi Jinping presided over the state banquet.
On the evening of 29 th the recipients attended a grand performance depicting the last 80
years of China’s progress from a backward, feudal poverty-stricken and oppressed society
through the changes that have led to her position today. Mao Zedong received great applause from the audience, as did Deng Xiaoping, but the greatest applause was for
President Xi Jinping. All leaders receive acknowledgement for their special inputs since
On October 1 st , the military parade displayed the best of China’s defence system. President
Xi Jinping, standing on the Gate of Heavenly Peace at the entrance to the forbidden City
where Mao declared the establishment of the People’s Republic of China 70 years earlier,
firmly stated that China stood for peace, and would never use their weaponry for anything
other than defence of the People’s Republic. This was followed by a civilians’ parade,
presenting diverse aspects of China’s advancement, from farmers and agriculture through to
high technology. Tens of thousands participated in the parade, watched by many more in
the tiered seating on either side of Changan Avenue. The award recipients were told when
they received their tickets that they were the most coveted tickets in China! In the evening
there was a further performance, involving tens of thousands, which was directed by Zhang
Yimou. The programme was regularly interspersed by spectacular fireworks displays.
The presentation of The Chinese Government Friendship Award to the president of our
society is a glowing recognition of what our society does and stands for, and in particular for
the excellent work Dave Bromwich has done, and is still doing, to continue the legacy of
Rewi Alley, to build peace and friendship between our two countries; well done Dave, we’re
proud of you!