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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the China-UK Charity Initiative Reception in Celebration of the Year of the Pig: Promote Cooperation through Charity
Mansion House, City of London, 8 February 2019

Lord Mayor Peter Estlin,

Chairman Fang Wenjian,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends:

Good evening!

Today is the fourth day of the Chinese New Year, known as the "goat day". According to Chinese tradition, this is the day to welcome the deity who will bring happiness and good fortune to the house.

It is a real delight to joint you on this auspicious day to celebrate the Year of the Pig. I wish to thank the City of London and China Chamber of Commerce in the UK (CCCUK) for hosting the China-UK Charity Initiative reception. What better way to start the new year than with charity work!

I was present at the dinner last December to witness the launch of this Initiative. Thanks to the concerted efforts of CCCUK and the Lord Mayor's Appeal Charity, this Initiative has taken shape in a matter of two months and gained the support of many institutions and individuals. I am deeply impressed with your high efficiency and outstanding achievements!

Tonight, I will contribute to your event a bottle of China's "national liquor", Maotai. A poem praising Maotai says its "intoxicating aroma gets neighbours drunk three doors down and reaches as far as ten miles".

Let me share with you an anecdote about Maotai's smashing success:

At the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915, Maotai was entered in a tasting competition. However, it was relatively unknown and modestly packed. So it did not attract much attention. On the last day, someone from the Chinese delegation came up with an idea. He pretended to drop a bottle of Maotai by accident in the middle of the bustling crowds. The place was immediately filled with the aroma of the spilled liquor, which sent guests rushing to the Chinese pavilion to have a taste. Maotai has since made its name.

I hope my bottle of Maotai will achieve the same effect for the China-UK Charity Initiative by drawing the attention of potential donors. And I hope this Initiative will help strengthen China-UK cooperation. I believe it will play a unique role in the following three aspects:

First, it will be a catalyst for China-UK cooperation on charity work.

The City of London is the economic heart of the UK. It is also an international financial and business centre. With its advanced financial institutions and professional services, the City of London has been a strong supporter of charity. It has already invested in many cultural and education projects.

In China, charity work is thriving. The relevant laws and regulations are in place. Modern charity concepts and operation models, such as charitable trust, social enterprise and social influence, are emerging. According to the 2018 Philanthropy List released by Forbes China, the most generous 100 entrepreneurs in China donated a total of 17.31 billion RMB yuan. That was 66% more than the previous year. Tencent's "99 Charity Day" 2017 drew the participation of more than 10 million people and raised over 1.3 billion RMB yuan.

The China-UK Charity Initiative combines the strengths of the City and CCCUK. I am sure it will give a fresh boost to the charity work in both our two countries.

Second, this Initiative will be a stabiliser for China-UK economic cooperation.

Currently, the overall China-UK relations continue to grow and our trade and economic cooperation continues to deepen. CCCUK and Chinese companies in the UK are the main force behind this. They have also set good examples in fulfilling their corporate responsibilities and serving the local community. I hope they could continue to benefit from a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory business environment here in the UK.

With the China-UK Charity Initiative, Chinese and British companies now have a new platform, where they can join hands in fulfilling their corporate responsibilities and provide public services. This is also a new channel for the two sides to deepen mutually-beneficial cooperation.

Third, this Initiative will be a bond between the people of China and the UK.

The longest distance in the world is between two hearts. But this could also be the shortest distance in the world.

Charity work helps shorten the distance between two hearts by building a bridge of love.

I sincerely hope that the China-UK Charity Initiative will sow the seeds of charity and encourage more people to join in. Through charity, we can spread love, promote cooperation, deepen friendship and build a better world together.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends:

Bertrand Russell said, "In all moral qualities, good nature is the most needed."

The value of good nature was also advocated by Mencius, who said, "Care for the elderly as if they were your parents, and care for the children as if they were your own."

Let us remember the teachings of these great philosophers and work together to make the China-UK Charity Initiative a great success!

In conclusion, I wish you and your family a happy and prosperous Year of the Pig!

Thank you!

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