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Home > Embassy News > 2012
Gathering Together at An British Old Manor, Sharing the New Blueprint of Contemporary China
Ambassador Liu Xiaoming Introduces the 18th CPC National Congress at the Wilton Park Conference
2012/12/19

 

“The China Consensus, which involves scientific development, reform and opening up, stability and harmony, peaceful development and Chinese characteristics, will lead the Chinese Dream coming true!”

Adjacent to Steyning, a small town in West Sussex south to London, and in the centre of the vast expanse of green fields and pastures, stands an old building - the Weston Villa. It was built in 1576 and the manor where it is located is called Wilton Park. Each year dozens of international conferences focusing on the world economy, politics and security are held here, and all of them share a well-known name - “Wilton Park Conference”.

On December 17, 2012, the second Wilton Park-CPSC Conference was held at the simple but elegant Wilton Park. Over 60 people attended the meeting, including the Delegation of the Central Party School of China, Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint, Minister of State for Trade and Investment, and other political, economic and academic elite from nearly 10 countries. The theme of the conference is “Towards Prosperity: Implications and Opportunities of the 18th Congress of the Communist Party of China”. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming addressed the conference on the topic of “China Consensus and Chinese Dream”.

Ambassador Liu first talked about his observations on the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China he attended in Beijing. He also mentioned an article he wrote for the Daily Telegraph: “China Consensus”. He said that he believes in the concept of the China Consensus for three reasons: first, it provides a summary of China’s successful development experience over the past three decades; second, it encapsulates the consensus of the entire Chinese society; third, it describes the development course set out at the 18th CPC Congress. He stressed, though, he was not “using the China Consensus as a way of describing a China model.” The China Consensus incorporates the path, system and theory that suit the national conditions of China. In short, China Consensus is the consensus of China. It may offer inspiration or reference to other countries. But China will not promote or export it. China will not term the China Consensus as a model.

Then where will the China Consensus lead? Ambassador Liu said that he believed it would lead to the Chinese Dream coming true. But what is the Chinese Dream? “In General Secretary Xi Jinping’s words,” he said, “it has two meanings: first, it is the dream of every individual Chinese, which means to achieve through hard work better education, more stable jobs, higher income, more reliable social security, improved medical care, more comfortable housing and a more agreeable environment; and second, it is the dream of the entire Chinese nation, which is to build China into a well-off society by 2020, a socialist modern country that is rich, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious by the middle of this century, and accomplish the revitalisation of the Chinese nation.”

Ambassador Liu said, “The 18th Congress has built the consensus and charted the blueprint of China’s future development. Yet this consensus needs to be carried out into action and hard work is entailed for the blueprint to become reality. Under the leadership of China’s new leaders, we will definitely realise the benefit of the China Consensus and fulfill the Chinese Dream by actions.”

It appeared that Ambassador Liu’s speech, like a burst of fresh air, had aroused keen interest of the participants. They listened attentively, nodding their head in agreement and taking notes. Especially, when the Chairman of the Conference said “Now let’s move to the Q & A session”, the participants instantly raised a lot of questions to Ambassador Liu.

In answer to how to achieve the “Chinese Dream”, Ambassador Liu said that the 18th CPC National Congress had not only identified the direction, strategy and objectives of China’s future development, but also made an overall arrangement, putting equal emphasis on economic, political, social, cultural and ecological development. It is in this way that the “Chinese Dream” will be achieved. “Empty talks lead a country astray, while hard work sees nations prosper.” Recently, the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee issued eight provisions to improve their work style and make closer ties with the masses. And in Deng Xiaoping’s footsteps, General Secretary Xi Jinping also made a “southern tour” to Shenzhen, showing the strong commitment of the new leadership of the CPC to freeing their minds, reform and opening up, and sticking to practice. The Chinese people of all nationalities led by the new leaders of the CPC will definitely make the “Chinese Dream” come true through down-to-earth efforts.

                                                                                                      

As for the doubt about “whether China will change its foreign policy with its growing economic strength”, Ambassador Liu quoted the 18th National Congress Report and said that “China adheres to the path of peaceful development. It firmly pursues the independent foreign policy of peace. It calls for equality and mutual trust, inclusiveness and mutual learning, and mutually beneficial cooperation in international relations and a joint effort to safeguard the international equity and justice. These principles have remained the same and will never change in the future.” He also emphasized that China would improve its relations with the developed countries by expanding areas of cooperation and properly handling differences, so as to promote the long-term stable and healthy development of a new type of relations between big powers. He said that the worries of the Western people about China’s foreign policy were completely unnecessary.

Some participants also asked Ambassador Liu to talk about Chinese freedom of expression on the Internet. Ambassador Liu said, “The 18th National Congress Report clearly stated that our people should enjoy extensive rights and freedoms, and at the same time, the Internet must be operated according to the rule of law. Today, China has more than 500 million Internet users and nearly 400 million cell phone users. There are more than 3 million blogs and comments on the news released every day by our Internet users. The entries posted or forwarded by our microbloggers amounted to over 150 million. For the central and local governments, the Internet is an important platform for understanding people’s needs, collecting public opinion, and scientific and democratic decision-making. At the same time, the Internet has also become increasingly important in promoting China’s economic, political, social and cultural development. But, just like other countries around the world, China faces a growing number of information security issues brought by the Internet. The Chinese government will remove harmful content from the Internet in accordance with the law. This is inevitable in light of the healthy development of the Internet and social stability and harmony. It should not be deemed as restriction on Internet freedom. China insists on maintaining Internet security around the world and opposes any form of hacking. China is willing to work with other countries around the world to combat cybercrime.”

                                                                                                

One participant asked, “Ireland has more than 4 million people, while the population of China is over 1.3 billion. Why UK exports to Ireland is far above its exports to China? In your opinion, how should China and the UK promote growth of trade?” Ambassador Liu said, “Sino-British trade and economic cooperation has seen rapid growth in recent years. According to British statistics, in the January - October period of this year, UK exports to the European Union increased only 1.5%, while its exports to China grew as high as 15% and China has become a fastest growing market for the exports from the UK.” Ambassador Liu pointed out that the 18th CPC National Congress made it very clear that “China will accelerate the change of its growth model and promote the improvements to its open economy. In particular, China will increase its consumption and imports”. So it would provide more opportunities for the development of the China-UK economic and trade relations. “At present,” said Ambassador Liu, “the Sino-British trade has enjoyed a rapid growth, but there is still great potential and room for further development. To reach this goal, UK should eliminate the cold war mindset and regard China as one of its partners rather than a competitor. It should further open its high-tech product exports to China. The competition in the Chinese market is very fierce. So to expand exports to China you must choose those that meet China’s actual needs, the things that China cannot produce by itself. Take the high-tech products as an example. If the UK could open its high-tech product exports to China as well as it did to Ireland, I believe UK exports to China will overtake its exports to Ireland and have a great growth.”

                                                                                                  

In addition, Ambassador Liu also answered some questions about world food security and energy security and how should China and the U.K. address trade protectionism. The audience listened very attentively and had an active interaction with Ambassador Liu.

In the end, the Chairman of the Conference asked Ambassador Liu to make a brief summary. Ambassador Liu said that the 18th CPC National Congress had not only been a milestone for the development of China, but also offered opportunities for the development of the relations between China and the UK and the rest of the world. “I sincerely hope that through my introduction to the 18th CPC National Congress you will have a better knowledge of contemporary China and gain an objective view of China’s development, so that China and the UK, as well as China and the rest world, will work together to build a mutually beneficial relationship.”

* * * *

Wilton Park Conference was initiated by former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1946. Under the authority of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, it holds over 50 forums and activities each year for famous politicians, diplomats, scholars, entrepreneurs, soldiers and reporters from countries around the world to discuss a wide range of topics and issues.

Ambassador Liu and the Other Participants of the Wilton Park Conference from China and the UK

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