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Happy New Year of the Ox

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2020 was certainly a year of challenges for us all – as individuals, for the nation, for the world. The closing days and first two weeks of 2021 have brought unprecedented activity that could not be better scripted by a writer of thriller fiction and political intrigue. The year ahead brings new opportunities with the challenges, and some of the characters will undoubtedly get their come-uppance.

It is intriguing to consider snippets from soothsayers of the Chinese Zodiac. While the year of the Rat signifies renewal and new opportunities, we could not have anticipated the way this would be expressed.

Covid-19, with its destructive forces from which it may take years to recover, will hopefully establish greater global collaboration for the future. With Boris Johnson still blaming pangolins for his mismanagement, there is a need for science and intelligent governance to establish a secure future for all humanity.

Broad social unrest and the lead taken in Covid deaths begs the question: is democracy really the answer? Now, with the USA being more and more recognised as a plutocracy, should we continue to take the lead from them? With fake news more and more exposed, can we begin to reconsider the validity of all ‘truths’ coming from the USA?

Facts contradict hidden agendas. China is renowned for its amazing development over the last 70 years, especially the last 30 years. Life expectancy, poverty eradication, and achieving a ‘moderately prosperous society’ are well known. Unity is also part of this, although the West would have you believe otherwise. These are the achievements of the people of China, supported by their government. The achievements of the Chinese government are respected by the people of China. Each serves the other. This is an element of democracy that is overlooked by the West, where the one person one vote is the sacrosanct indicator of democracy – Under a bit of stress recently!

The year of the Rat was not the harbinger of positive change hoped for, but it does present with opportunities: to change for the better. In Chinese, crisis, 危机, is a combination of peril and opportunity. On the positive side, the Year of the Ox could bring those opportunities. Founded in strength and reliability in its role in agriculture, to provide for humanity, the Ox year could bring resolution to the chaos, to sow the seeds for renewal, and harvest a new era of collaboration.

February 12 marks the beginning of the Year of the Ox. Let us hope that a new era can emerge, for the sake of global harmony, and collaborative unity. Let us hope that global governance can move beyond a competitive approach to keep China down. For NZCFS, as friends of China, let us work towards receiving the Chinese perspectives on the issues for which China has been under attack. Let us recall our mission statement, and promote goodwill, understanding and friendship. Our NZCFS conference theme for May is what it means to be a friend of China.

The year ahead, in China, and in our relationship with China and Chinese people, marks several milestones. There is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. There will be celebration of foreigners who made a contribution to modern China. This will include Rewi Alley, and an initiative is underway for Kathleen Hall to be there. This year is in fact the 125th anniversary of the birth of Kathleen Hall, and this will also become part of NZCFS’ year ahead. These two people had a pretty good idea of what it meant to be a friend of China!

Wishing everybody a successful Year of the Ox.

With optimism,
Dave Bromwich
National President NZCFS
January 16 2021