On December 2 the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries gave a ceremonious banquet in Peking to celebrate the 80th birthday of Comrade Rewi Alley, and old friend of the Chinese people and New Zealand writer.
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Background: On December 2 the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries gave a ceremonious banquet in Peking to celebrate the 80th birthday of Comrade Rewi Alley, and old friend of the Chinese people and New Zealand writer.
Comrade Rewi Alley has fought together with the Chinese people for their revolutionary cause 50 years since he came to China from New Zealand in 1927. Vice-Chairman Teng Hsiao-ping of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee attended the banquet. Prior to the banquet, he met with Comrade Rewi Alley in a cordial atmosphere and extended warm congratulations to him on behalf of Chairman Hua Kuo-feng, Vice-Chairman Yeh Chien-ying and the Party Central Committee, the Chinese Government and people.
Also present were other leading members of Chinese Party Government departments Keng Piao, Huang Hua, Liao Cheng-Chin and Wang Ping-nan as well as foreign friends who had made a special trip to Peking to offer congratulations and other foreign friends working or visiting in Peking.
New Zealand Ambassador to China R.B. Atkins and Mrs. Atkins were present on the occasion.
In his toast Vice-Chairman Teng Hsiao-ping said, "We gather here today joyously to extend our warm congratulations to our veteran fighter, our old friend and comrade Rewi Alley on his 80th birthday. Tens of thousands of foreign friends have helped the cause of the Chinese revolution, but it is not easy for Comrade Rewi Alley to have done so much for the Chinese people 50 years on end, whether in the years when we experienced untold difficulties, or when we were fighting for the victory of the revolution, or in the post-victory years. That is why he commands the due respect of the Chinese people."
Speaking of China's goal set forth for this century, Vice-Chairman Teng said, "It is our wish that he should live at least another 24 years so that he will be able to see what he has striven for all his life come true and he will become a protagonist, a revolutionary, who see three centuries in his lifetime."
Comrade Rewi Alley said in reply, "I feel immensely honoured that so many comrades and friends have come to this celebration. I am especially honoured that Comrade Teng Hsiao-ping and Comrade Keng Piao, and other leading comrades have given of their valuable time to attend. The encouragement given on this occasion will certainly help over all the years to come."
Wang Ping-nan, President of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, also spoke at the banquet.
A message of greeting from New Zealand Prime Minister Robert Muldoon to Rewi Alley was read out by Ambassador Atkins.