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Home > Embassy News > 2012
Ambassador Liu Xiaoming's Interview with CCTV "Caizhi Olympics" Programme
2012/08/05

 

At 23:00, August 4 Beijing time (16:00 London time), Ambassador Liu Xiaoming wa interviewed by the “Caizhi Olympics” programme at the CCTV Financial Channel ( CCTV2 ) London studio. The transcript of the interview is as follows:

Ma Hongtao, the host (Ma): I’ve introduced Ambassador Liu to our audience. Now Ambassador Liu is in our studio. Ambassador Liu, I know it must be your busiest time now in this year.

Ambassador Liu (Liu): Yes, you can say that.

Ma: So welcome to our studio and thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule.

Liu: I’m glad to join you here in the London studio of CCTV Financial Channel. As you said just now, this is our busiest time. In the ten days from 24 July to 4 August, we at the Chinese Embassy received and assisted in receiving over 20 delegations.

Ma: Then there must be a lot of events going on every day.

Liu: Yes. Some are directly related to the Olympic Games and to our Olympic delegation. Some are cultural activities at national or provincial levels. We at the Embassy actively help all the delegations to fulfill their tasks.

Ma: Now actually we have one question. It is what came to our mind when we were watching the Olympics. The host countries and host cities of the Olympic Games, I think because of their different cultural backgrounds and different stages of development, may hope to convey different messages and ideas through the Olympic Games, because they have different needs. What do you think is the message or idea that the British people particularly want to convey through the Olympic Games in London?

Liu: I think that Britain is hosting the Olympic Games in a hard time. The country is facing both the international financial crisis and the European debt crisis. The economy has been sluggish and social conflicts are prominent. The public are greatly concerned and they even say that “the British spirit has gone”. So the morale is very low. At this time, Both the British government and the British people hope to use the platform of the Olympic Games to improve the public confidence and reshape the country’s international image. To this end they carried out many activities.

Ma: And their Olympic motto, “inspire a generation”, is also based on such a consideration.

Liu: They also combined the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations with the platform of the Olympic Games. The International Olympic Committee requires that there should be no large events two to three months before the Olympic Games, but Britain still promoted the celebrations for the Queen. For example, in the so called “diamond weekend” from June 2 to June 5, seven thousand of events were held throughout the country in just four days, and all the British people were involved. I think that the celebrations are aimed at demonstrating the vitality of the British Royal family as the oldest royal family in the world today and of the country under its reign. I think that the image of Britain as a country is diverse. On one hand, it is an old and traditional country advocating gentleman’s manner; and on the other hand, it is very creative and energetic. So I think that Britain wants to spread this spirit and image in the world.

Ma: Is it because of this that they designed many humorous and even funny episodes in the opening ceremony and many other activities in spite of the current economic downturn?

Liu: I think that the sense of humour is inherent to the British people. Generally speaking when we say the British spirit we mean bravery, loyalty, love and humour, This is a very typical aspect of the British spirit. So as you see, even the Queen was actively involved in the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. This is unimaginable in many other countries. And the Queen did not played a serious role. Instead, she appeared in a guest role with James Bond 007. Another example is the flag raising ceremony in the Olympic Village. This was a very solemn moment during the Olympics hosted in China and other countries. But Britain made it very relaxing. Many actors and actresses performed during the ceremony. There were clowns and dances and even a “Queen” who received us. This “Queen” was actually an actress. She was followed by the guards. Finally the “Queen” became an interpreter. She interpreted the welcoming remarks of the head of the Olympic Village from English to French. We found it very interesting. So she made this Olympic atmosphere very lively and relaxing. This also shows the culture of humour in Britain.

Ma: We have experienced this during the Olympic Games. I think perhaps there is another question that is concerned by the Chinese viewers. In what way do the China's government and civil society organizations hope to show the things we want to show in the Olympic Games, or through the Olympic Games? As we know, in this year we celebrate the 40 years of China-UK ambassadorial diplomatic relations. Then at such a special time, what do you think we can do?

Liu: We can say that the Chinese government pays great attention to the London Olympics. I think this great attention is reflected in several aspects at the government and local levels. At the government level, this year China sent its first government representative to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. This is the first time since we returned to the Olympic Games in 1984. We did not send any government representative to any Olympic Game before 2008, and the Beijing Olympics 2008 was hosted by ourselves. But this time State Councilor Dai Bingguo attended the opening ceremony of the London Olympics on behalf of the Chinese Government. This shows that China is a responsible member of the international community. Others came for our Olympic Games, so we should support others when they are hosting the Olympic Games.

Ma: Ok. We still have many questions on several aspects of the cultural exchanges between China and Britain. We will invite Ambassador Liu to communicate with us later.

(Programmes from Beijing studio, omitted)

Ma: Let’s continue to talk about some interesting topics on the China-UK cultural exchanges. As we know, the Olympic Games are not only a platform for competitive sports. It is also a good platform for the exchanges in culture and many other fields. And as we just mentioned, this year also marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the ambassadorial diplomatic relations. At this time point we should have a lot to do on this platform. I think this is one of the things you are doing, Mr. Ambassador.

Liu: Yes, we have done a lot in this respect. For example, during the London Olympics, Chinese Olympic delegation and we at the Embassy jointly established the “China House” for the first time. The "China House" is to provide a platform for the exchanges between our Chinese delegation and other delegations and the exchanges with the International Olympic Committee. It is also a platform for display. For example, the decoration and furnishings of our "China House" are in a typical Chinese style, with lanterns, mahogany chairs, etc. We are now holding two picture shows at the “China House”. The first is a review of China’s Olympic journey since we returned to the Olympic Games. It is organized by our delegation. Besides, we at the Embassy hold a picture exhibition on the 40 years of full diplomatic relations between China and the UK to look back on the relations between the two countries in the past 40 year.

Ma: Are there many British people visiting the “China House”?

Liu: Many British friends have been to the "China House", and we also carried out a lot of cultural activities, such as calligraphy exhibitions. On August 9 we will hold a celebration reception for our Olympics delegation. We have invited well-known Chinese artists to the reception. We will also be glad if you will have time to be there.

Ma: Ok, thanks.

Liu: At the same time, China has sent a strong team of artists and singers to the great stage of London to promote China. Famous domestic musicians and singers such as Lang Lang, Song Zuying and Lv Wei have all presented their performances here. Famous Chinese painters have also been here. China Academy of Art, China International Culture Association and other institutions held art exhibitions and paintings exhibitions to display Chinese oil paintings, drawings and sculpture. These exhibitions attracted a large number of visitors from Britain and other countries. In addition, provinces and municipalities are also actively involved. For example, Beijing held the "Beijing Culture Week", Jiangsu held the “Discover Jiangsu” Cultural Week, and Shenzhen held the "Listen to Shenzhen” event. These activities involve arts and paintings. There are also forums, such as the “Urban Development Forum” of Beijing. As the host city of the last Olympic Games, Beijing can cooperate with London in many fields. The discussion on the Olympic legacy, that is, not only host the Olympic Games but also transform the Olympic Games into an industry, will have positive impacts on national and urban development.

Ma: Yes. Though these events can be held at other times, they generate a better aggregate effect on the platform of the Olympic Games.

Liu: At other times these events are the exchanges between two cities. But on the platform of the Olympic Games, they will first attract attention from many aspects. For example, some activities held by Beijing were attend by the members of the leadership of the International Olympic Committee, the executive members of national Olympic committees and the delegations of various countries. The Fine Arts Exhibition hosted by China brought together the works of over 500 artists from 74 countries. So this is a good event. Through these events we can introduce the culture, history and art of China. In addition, we have a lot of business events.

Ma: We have reported the event on the first day.

Liu: And this event is on the same day of the opening ceremony of the Olympics. The British government named it as the "China Business Day".

Ma: So many events. We can understand why Mr. Ambassador and your colleagues are so busy during this time, and culture has one thing in common with sports and arts: it knows no boundaries. This is a very important precondition for the exchanges of the sports, arts and cultures to be carried out on the same platform.

Liu: And they promote each other.

Ma: Right. Thank you, Ambassador Liu, for coming to the studio and joining our discussions. Thank you every one for sharing this content.

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