A portrait of Kelly Foster is seen during the awarding ceremony of the Great Wall Commemorative Medal in Canberra, Australia, Feb. 24, 2022. Australian senior constable Kelly Foster, who lost her life last year trying to save a Chinese national, was awarded the Gold Great Wall Commemorative Medal by the Chinese ambassador to Australia Thursday.(Xinhua/Bai Xu)
CANBERRA, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- Australian senior constable Kelly Foster, who lost her life last year trying to save a Chinese national, was awarded the Gold Great Wall Commemorative Medal by the Chinese ambassador to Australia Thursday.
The Great Wall Commemorative Medal was established by the Ministry of Public Security of China in 2020, to be awarded especially to law enforcement officers from foreign countries who have made outstanding contributions towards protecting the safety of Chinese citizens.
This is the first gold medal of its kind ever decreed.
On Jan. 2, 2021, 39-year-old Foster was drowned in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales (NSW) when she attempted to help Chinese woman Jennifer Qi, who had been tipped off her inflatable lilo when it was swept into a whirlpool.
"To commemorate her heroic act, a decision was made by the Ministry of Public Security of China to award her the Gold Great Wall Commemorative Medal, the highest honor in this category," said Xiao Qian, Chinese Ambassador to Australia.
"Entrusted by the Ministry of Public Security of China, I have the honor today to invest this medal on the late Senior Constable Foster on behalf of the Government of China," he said.
Foster and Qi, who was drowned as well, never knew each other before, but at that critical moment, the police officer jumped into the whirlpool without hesitation. Xiao noted that Foster's heroic act "embodies the simple, yet lofty humanitarian spirit."
"From her, we truly feel the warmth of great love and humanity that transcends race, culture and nationality," he said.
Terry Foster, father of the senior constable, said he was proud of what his daughter did.
"She would help anybody that needed help, even just when she was at school when she was growing up," he recalled in sorrow. "It was a good way to live by...We just miss her so much."
"It was typical of Kelly," said her mother Marilyn Foster, fighting back tears. "She was sensitive, caring, loving her family."
In the interview, she said that they were overwhelmed to receive the medal. "This is from another country. We can't believe it. I don't know that this would happen."
She told Xinhua that they are now good friends with Qi's parents. "They're really lovely people," said Marilyn Foster. "We talk to them quite often."
Karen Webb, Commissioner of the NSW Police Force, said at the awarding ceremony that the award bestowed on Foster by China is "a great tribute to Kelly's selfless bravery, and deeply appreciated by her colleagues and the wider NSW police force."
Ambassador Xiao believed that the act of Foster has helped deepen the existing friendship between people in China and Australia.
"Ms. Kelly's story has once again brought our two peoples closer. Her heroic deeds have been widely spread and highly admired in China, and people in China could feel the warmth, kindness and friendship from Australian people," he said.
Recognizing the bonds between peoples as key to enhancing state-to-state relations, Xiao said that since the establishment of China-Australia diplomatic relations in 1972, there have been frequent exchanges and close cooperation in various sectors, bringing tangible benefits to the peoples and making a positive contribution to the development, prosperity and stability of the Asia-Pacific region.
"Healthy and stable development of China-Australia relations serves the fundamental interests and common aspirations of the two peoples," he said.
"Taking the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between our two countries as an opportunity, China is willing to work with Australia to meet each other halfway, review the past and look into the future, adhere to the principle of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, and make joint efforts to push forward China-Australia relations along the right track." ■
Xiao Qian (3rd L) , Chinese Ambassador to Australia, awards the Gold Great Wall Commemorative Medal and the certificate to Kelly Foster's parents in Canberra, Australia, Feb. 24, 2022. Australian senior constable Kelly Foster, who lost her life last year trying to save a Chinese national, was awarded the Gold Great Wall Commemorative Medal by the Chinese ambassador to Australia Thursday.(Xinhua/Bai Xu)