With the brilliant fireworks lighting up the sky over Lusail Stadium, the Qatar World Cup has come to a successful conclusion, and my tenure in Qatar is also coming to an end. The tide ebbs and flows in the wide and tranquil Doha Bay, and more than a thousand days and nights have passed before you knew it. Looking back on the past three and a half years, I have been honoured to work with friends from all walks of life in Qatar and overseas Chinese to reap harvests with sweat and forge ahead with hard work. We have witnessed the rapid development of Qatar and pushed forward China-Qatar relations.
It has been three years of rapid development for Qatar. Qatar’s municipal construction is in full swing, with skyscrapers rising from the ground, and patches of greenery paved. Qatar has been leading the Gulf region in post-Covid economic recovery with the highest growth rate. Qatar’s economic diversification is achieving great fruits. The most remarkable success is the hosting of the World Cup. The world offered Qatar a chance, and Qatar presented the world a surprise. From eight distinctive modern stadiums to comprehensive infrastructure, from well-organised games to fantastic matchups between the teams, the Arabic culture that keeps pace with the times has amazed the world, and fans from all over the world have formed a deep bond.
I believe that the Qatar World Cup will surely leave a profound mark in the history of the tournament. I am proud of the brotherly Qatari people. I sincerely wish Qatar new achievements in its journey to realise the National Vision 2030.
It has been three years of fruitful China-Qatar relations. Political mutual trust between China and Qatar has become more solid. In this time, the leaders of the two countries have been visiting each other like relatives. At the beginning of this year, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani visited China and met with President Xi Jinping during the opening ceremony of Beijing Winter Olympics.
Not long ago, the two heads of state met again in Riyadh, drawing a grand blueprint for the development of China-Qatar strategic partnership. Last year, Yang Jiechi, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission, and Wang Yi, State Councillor and Foreign Minister of China successively visited Qatar. In March this year, HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani attended the third Foreign Ministers’ Meeting Among the Neighbouring Countries of Afghanistan held in China and met with State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
The National People’s Congress of China and the Shura Council of Qatar set up a friendship group, and the presidents of the Supreme Courts of our two countries held video talks, opening up a new horizon for legislative and judicial exchanges and co-operation between our two countries.
Mutual support between China and Qatar has been strengthened. No matter how the international situation changes, China and Qatar have always understood and supported each other on issues concerning each others’ core interests and major concerns. Qatar firmly adheres to the one-China principle and opposes interference in China’s internal affairs under any pretext.
China has always been firmly supporting Qatar in safeguarding sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and exploring a development path that suits its national conditions. China and Qatar jointly defend the UN-centred international system and the international order underpinned by international law, practise true multilateralism, safeguard the common interests of developing countries, and make positive contributions to regional and global peace and development.
The mutually beneficial co-operation between China and Qatar has become closer.
Our bilateral trade volume has been over $18bn, and China has become Qatar’s largest trading partner, largest source of imports and the top destination of exports, putting “three crowns” on our economic and trade co-operation. The landmark buildings undertaken by Chinese enterprises are like stars shining in every corner of the “Pearl of the Gulf”.
Over the past three years, I have visited the construction sites of symbolic projects under the Belt and Road Initiative. The “Golden Bowl” of Lusail Stadium glows in the sunshine, the Al Kharsaah solar power plant looks like a blue sea in the middle of the desert, the Water Security Mega Reservoirs look like sapphires in the sand, and the fleet of Yutong new energy buses runs through the streets of Doha like green dragons.
The friendship between our two peoples has been deepened. In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, China and Qatar have helped each other and shared weal and woe. His Highness the Amir called President Xi Jinping to express support and condolences. State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had telephone conversations with HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani to arrange bilateral anti-pandemic co-operation. At the critical juncture of fighting the pandemic in China, Qatar Airways delivered supplies to China free of charge with its global network. At the peak of the pandemic in Qatar, China provided Qatar with a large number of urgently needed supplies. Academician Zhong Nanshan’s team held video talks with the Ministry of Public Health of Qatar to share experience in prevention and control of the pandemic. The people-to-people exchange and cultural cooperation between our two countries have been colourful. The “Happy Chinese New Year” cultural performance has attracted the attention of Qatari people, and the “Chinese fever” has continued gaining popularity in Qatari schools. What makes me most happy is that two giant pandas, China’s “national treasure”, settled in Qatar before the World Cup and met the public, becoming a new symbol of friendship between our two countries and the “darlings” of Qatari people.
Looking back, we’ve had a fruitful past, and looking forward, we are expecting an even brighter future. Not long ago, President Xi Jinping attended the first China-Arab States Summit and the first China-GCC Summit, and held a bilateral meeting with the Amir, making a strategic plan for the next 35-year China-Qatar relationship.
China is willing to work with Qatar, taking the consensus reached by our two heads as a guide to action, to continuously deepen political mutual trust, expand practical co-operation, strengthen friendship between the peoples, and build a China-Qatar community with a shared future for the benefit of our two countries and two peoples.
Here, I would like to share a story with you. A few days ago, I met with Abdurrahman al-Thani, a Qatari teenager who became famous in China because of the World Cup and now has more than 10mn Chinese followers. He told me that he is working hard to learn Chinese and is committed to introducing the real Qatar to Chinese people and introducing China’s development and progress to Qatari people. This is a symbolic story of friendship between China and Qatar.
I believe that more and more young people from Qatar like Abdurrahman will get closer with Chinese youths, understand and appreciate each other’s culture, become “panda huggers” and builders of China-Qatar friendship, and pass on the torch of China-Qatar friendship from generation to generation for thousands of years!
On the occasion of farewell, scenes of life in Qatar kept coming to my mind. I can’t forget the magnificent scenery of Qatar where the yellow sand and blue sea meet, the beautiful skyline of West Bay where Arab customs and modern styles blend together, the fragrant Arabian coffee at the Majlis of my Qatari friends, the kindness of Qatari friends and the sincere help you gave to me. Here, I would like to say “Shukran” to all the Qatari friends. Thank you for your friendship, which will always be treasured deep in my heart.
A bosom friend afar brings a distant land near. Although I am about to leave for a new position, my blessing will always remain in Qatar. I will always cherish the wonderful memories of my mission to Qatar for more than three years, and I will always be the builder, guardian and contributor of China-Qatar friendship.
I hope you will continue to support the work of the Chinese embassy in Qatar and create a better future for China-Qatar relations!
The tree of China-Qatar friendship will be evergreen
Chinese ambassador Zhou Jian pens a heartfelt letter as he completes his tenure in Qatar
FOND MEMORIES: “I will always cherish the wonderful memories of my mission to Qatar for more than three years, and I will always be the builder, guardian and contributor of China-Qatar friendship”, writes ambassador Zhou Jian.