CSCLF delegation visit New Zealand ahead of NZ PM's visit to China

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Wang Jiarui (L), chairman of China Soong Ching Ling Foundation (CSCLF), shakes hands with Rewi Alley's descendant Buck Alley in Rewi Alley's hometown Springfield on March 29, 2019. [Photo courtesy of CSCLF]

Ahead of New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's upcoming visit to China, and just days after the Christchurch mosque shootings, Wang Jiarui, chairman of China Soong Ching Ling Foundation (CSCLF), led a delegation to New Zealand from March 26 to 30. The visit's objectives were to follow in Rewi Alley's footsteps, meet with politicians and non-governmental figures, carry out youth cultural exchange activities, as well as to inherit and enhance the friendship between the two peoples.

The delegation traveled to Rewi Alley's hometown Springfield, Amberley, Rewi Alley Chinese School and the Rewi Alley memorial hall during the visit.

In Rewi Alley's hometown Springfield, Wang Jiarui, Rewi Alley's descendant Buck Alley and Chinese youth representatives planted a China-New Zealand Friendship Tree to commemorate the profound revolutionary friendship between Madame Soong Ching Ling and Rewi Alley.

The President of the New Zealand China Friendship Society (NZCFS), Bill Willmott and his wife gave a detailed introduction on the origins of the Rewi Alley memorial hall. He said that in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Rewi Alley's birth, the memorial hall was built in his birthplace in Springfield.

On the huge stone monument standing at the entrance of the hall is a relief work "Rewi Alley with his Chinese Students." Under the monument there is an inscription in Chinese which says "Rewi Alley, a sincere friend of the Chinese people, the Chinese people and the New Zealand people will never forget him."

In the memorial pavilion close by, historical pictures displayed on both sides of the wall show the life of Rewi Alley, and his deep friendship with Madame Soong Ching Ling and others.

During the visit, the Soong Ching Ling Peace Angel Art Troupe visited local schools and had a number of cultural exchanges with young people.

The delegation also met with the Speaker of New Zealand's House of Representatives, Trevor Mallard; Executive Director of the NZ China Council, Stephen Jacobi and Christchurch Mayor, Lianne Dalziel. The group also inspected Fisher & Paykel, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Chinese company, Haier Group Corporation.

Wang Jiarui said on many occasions that the visit by the CSCLF delegation to New Zealand was a friendly trip. He added that the visit to the hometown of Rewi Alley, an old friend of the Chinese people, especially that of Madame Soong Ching Ling, was an intimate one.

Wang Jiarui pointed out that the CSCLF, as the only institution in China named after the leaders of the country, upholds the principles of "peace, unity, and the future." The foundation, he said, inherits the unfinished undertakings of Madame Soong Ching Ling, and inherits the great friendship between her and Rewi Alley. The foundation is also willing to join hands with New Zealand to inject new impetus into the development of China-New Zealand relations through friendly exchanges and cooperation between the two peoples.

China's Ambassador to New Zealand, Wu Xi; Consul General of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in Auckland, Xu Erwen; and Consul General of the PRC in Christchurch, Wang Zhijian, also attended the above-mentioned activities respectively.

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