WELLINGTON, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- The Teochew (Chaoshan) International Federation vowed to continue to support Belt and Road development and strengthen economic and trade cooperation between China and the rest of the world, at its meeting on Sunday in New Zealand's biggest city Auckland.
Almost 2,500 Teochew entrepreneurs from more than 50 countries and regions have gathered together at the the opening ceremony of the 20th Convention of Teochew International Federation.
Teochew are a people from the Chaoshan region of eastern Guangdong province in southern China. There are more than 50 million people of Teochew descent around the world. Teochew entrepreneurs are known for their hard work and business skill.
Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand Wu Xi acknowledged that the Teochew people are a respected and valued part of the Chinese nation.
"It's no surprise that the Teochew community has taken roots and flourished all over the world, they have the traditional Chinese virtues running in their blood -- diligence, hard work and solidarity. We admire the economic and social contributions the overseas Teochew communities make to their resident countries. And we appreciate the active support they offer for the ongoing development and reunification of the Chinese nation."
The ambassador noted that Teochew people are some of the world's great traders. Renowned for its open-minded pioneering spirit, the Teochew merchant group is among the ten leading merchant groups in China.
"It has become one of the promoters and beneficiaries of economic globalization through its involvement in international business. But today, protectionism and unilateralism are on the rise," she said.
"Facts show that there are no winners in a trade war. Economic globalization is a key driver of world economic growth, and an irreversible trend of the times," the ambassador said.
The Belt and Road Initiative has brought a new philosophy to economic globalization, and is providing new drivers for global economic growth. "We invite Teochew merchants from all over the world to find more business partners to participate in the initiative," Wu said.
Zhang Yikun, chairman of Teochew International Federation, chairman of the board of the directors of the Teochew General Association of New Zealand, highlighted the cultural connections during the opening the speech.
"In today's world, people's values and the way people thinking have changed a lot, with the rapid rise of artificial intelligence and the development of new science and technology. No matter what changes, the spiritual world of Teochew overseas won't change, we will never forget our homeland," Zhang said.
"We appreciate the support of motherland, and we will continue promoting the Chinese culture, the Chinese image to the world. We would love to continually promote the construction of Teochew, stimulate the mutual development of Teochew and abroad. We appreciate the support and encouragement from the homeland," Zhang added.
Jenny Salesa, minister of Customs, and Ethnic Communities, who arrived in New Zealand at 16 years old, acknowledged the outstanding achievement of Chinese who live in New Zealand.
"Chinese settled in New Zealand since the 1860s. In terms of our demographic, Census 2013, tells us, over 171,000 Chinese, in New Zealand. What we've told, as of today, there was about 260,000 Chinese in New Zealand," Salesa noted, " I am a living example of an immigrant, I encourage all of you to keep your culture, your traditions, and your languages alive, even as you live here, the Aotearoa-New Zealand."
Anne Tolley, the deputy speaker of the New Zealand parliament, mentioned the strong relationship between New Zealand and China.
Tolley expressed the gratitude for Teochew people, who donated more than 2 million New Zealand dollars for families of the Christchurch mosque attack victims, to help raise money to support the families and Muslim communities impacted by the terror attack.
Tolley acknowledged New Zealand's trade partnership with China has been enhanced, as New Zealand products, such as kiwi fruits, beef and lamb all exported from New Zealand to China these years.
The convention was organized by the Teochew General Association New Zealand. The theme of this year's convention is to invite Teochew fellows all around the world, to promote cultural connections, bring further cooperation opportunities, and to celebrate the achievement of Teochew people.
The two-day convention, consisted of Youth Forum, Teochew Symposium, Ancestral Culture, Economic and Trade Forum, illustrates the rich and diverse treasures of Teochew.