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Speech by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the Reception in Celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China: Remain True to Our Original Aspiration and Write A New Splendid Chapter
Guildhall, City of London, 9 September 2019
2019/09/10

Director-General Richard Moore,

My Lords,

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends:

Good evening!

Today is the ninth day of the ninth month of 2019. In the Chinese culture, nine is an auspicious number, symbolizing abundance, nobility and sustainability. On this triply auspicious day, it is a real delight to have you with us to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China!

The past 70 years have witnessed the rise of the Chinese nation from the ashes.

They have seen the Chinese people united as one, blazing new trails and achieving historic feats.

They have also experienced the deep integration and close cooperation between China and the rest of the world.

These 70 years are a grand monument in the 5,000 years of Chinese civilisation. They are monument to both the tremendous changes that have taken place in the country and the unwavering aspiration, spirit and value of the Chinese nation.

In the past 70 years, China has changed tremendously: A secluded and backward nation has gone through reforms and opened up to the world; An impoverished and weak country has gained prosperity and strength.

The Chinese people have created an economic miracle through their hard work.

With the GDP increasing by more than 450 times, from $30 billion in the early years of New China to more than $13.6 trillion in 2018, China is now the world’s

  • second largest economy,
  • largest industrial country,
  • largest trader in goods,
  • biggest holder of foreign exchange reserves,
  • and top producer of more than 200 products.

With increasing market access and improving investment environment, China has been the world’s second biggest destination of foreign investment for two years in a row.

98% of the Fortune 500 companies have investments in China. Moreover, 129 Chinese companies have made to the 2019 Fortune 500 list, forming the biggest country group for the very first time.

The Chinese people have created a scientific and technological miracle through their intelligence and wisdom.

In the early years of New China, Chairman Mao Zedong wrote these lines in anticipation of scientific advancement:

Clasp the moon in the Ninth Heaven;

Seize the turtle deep in the Five Seas.

What these romantic verses envision has now become reality. China has made remarkable achievements in manned space flight, lunar exploration, quantum science, deep-sea exploration, supercomputing and satellite navigation. These are all fruits of the strategy of pursuing innovation-driven development.

China has led the world in the number of R&D professionals and invention patent applications for many years in a row. It also ranks second in the world in terms of R&D spending.

China has more than 1.3 billion mobile broadband users. Modern information technologies, such as big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence, are thriving in the country.

The Chinese people have also created a miracle of better livelihood through their strenuous efforts.

From 1949 to 2018, China’s per capita gross national income increased by 135 times, from roughly $70 to $9,470.

  • In the 40-odd years since reform and opening up, China has lifted more than 700 million people out of poverty.
  • Today, China has the world’s largest middle-income population, that is, more than 400 million.
  • In social security, China has built the world’s largest network, with a basic pension insurance system covering more than 900 million people and a basic health insurance system covering 1.3 billion.
  • On top of that, we have put in place a nine-year free and compulsory education system.
  • Moreover, the average life expectancy in China has gone up from 35 to 77.

The Chinese people now have a strong sense of achievement and happiness, and look forward to an even better future.

In China’s relations with the world, the past 70 years also witnessed a tremendous change: China is approaching the centre stage in world affairs, it is becoming more closely integrated with the world, and it is participating and taking the lead in building a better world.

Forty-eight years ago, at the 26th UN General Assembly, Resolution 2758 was adopted with an overwhelming majority. The People’s Republic of China restored its lawful seat in the UN and rejoined the international community. Since then, China has taken an active part in the international efforts to settle hotspot issues. It has contributed China’s solutions to addressing major issues and building rule-based international system.

Eighteen years ago, China became a member of WTO, taking its first step to embrace economic globalisation. Since then, China has fulfilled its duty faithfully and fully. It has made positive contribution to the development of world trade. For many years, China has contributed more than 30% of world economic growth. It has been a major stabiliser and propeller of world economy.

Six years ago, amid deepening economic globalisation and multipolarisation, President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Since then, BRI has been translated from concepts to actions. It is turning from an abstract sketch into a detailed blueprint.

From Europe and Asia to Africa, Americas and Oceania, BRI

  • opens new space for world economic growth,
  • builds new platforms for international trade and investment,
  • provides a new solution to world economic governance,
  • and makes new contribution to better life in the participating countries.

BRI is a platform of opportunities and a road to prosperity for all the countries in the world.

The concept of building a community with a shared future for mankind has also become a consensus. It is now endorsed by documents of the UN, the G20 and other international organizations. And it has played a positive role in promoting peace and progress of mankind.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends:

Amid all these tremendous changes, the Chinese nation has been unwavering in its original aspiration, namely the pursuit of happiness for the people and rejuvenation for the nation. This is the force that has been driving generations of Chinese forward in defiance of all hardships.

At the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the “two centenary goals” were proposed, the achievement of which will mark the 100th anniversaries of the founding of the Communist Party of China and the People’s Republic of China respectively.

These goals represent the Chinese people’s aspiration for a better life. They are the most important mission of China today.

Next year will be the run-up to the realisation of the first centenary goal, that is, to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all aspects and eradicate poverty completely. This will be an exciting moment in the history of China. It will also be memorable times for the world, as one fifth of all mankind achieve such an extraordinary progress.

Amid the tremendous changes over 70 years, China has been unwavering in its national spirit.

China is committed to self-improvement.

  • China will grow strong, but will not bully.
  • China values independent decision-making, but will not act arbitrarily.
  • China is firm in safeguarding its interests, but will never seek hegemony.

A stronger China will continue to

  • advocate exchanges and mutual learning between different civilisations,
  • pursue peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation with other countries,
  • make judgment based on the merits of things,
  • and act in accordance with international law.

Amid the tremendous changes over 70 years, China has been unwavering in its values.

China is committed to peaceful development and pursues the common good for all. In the Chinese culture, we see the world as one harmonious community. Harmonious coexistence is an important Chinese value in the relations between individuals, between man and nature, and between different countries.

This value is the rationale behind the Chinese Government white paper entitled China’s Peaceful Development. It is why China has enshrined peaceful development in the Constitution of the country and the Constitution of the Communist Party of China.

This value has also led China to resolve willingly, readily and fearlessly to act as a guardian of world peace and a defender of world order. Since 1990, China has sent close to 40,000 military personnel on peacekeeping missions. Thirteen brave Chinese peacekeepers gave their life to this lofty cause. This is an important contribution of China to peaceful settlement of disputes and to regional security and stability.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends:

This year marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of China-UK diplomatic relationship at the level of chargé d’affaires. Looking back, we feel a sense of accomplishment. Looking ahead, we are full of expectations.

How to ensure the steady and sustained development of China-UK relations in the next 65 years? I think it is crucial to abide by the following four principles.

The first principle is mutual respect. This is the anchor of the “Golden Era”.

Our experience in the past 65 years tells us that when our two countries respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, treat each other as equals, and seek common ground despite differences, China-UK relationship will move forward and even achieve leaps and bounds.

Therefore, we must

  • remember the lessons of the past,
  • act in the fundamental interests of the people of our two countries,
  • see each other as opportunities rather than threats,
  • enhance mutual trust,
  • deal with differences properly,
  • resist disruptions,
  • and keep to the direction of the China-UK “Golden Era”.

The second principle is open cooperation. This is the basis for common development.

Both China and the UK are supporters, practitioners and beneficiaries of free trade and open economy.

We should focus on development, leverage our comparative strengths, dovetail our strategies, and foster a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory business environment for the companies of our two countries. We should enhance cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative and in the areas of infrastructure, financial services, big data, clean energy, science and technology, and innovation. We must make sure such cooperation produces win-win results and leads to common development. Our concrete actions could help ensure that economic globalisation is more open, inclusive and balanced.

The third principle is inclusiveness and mutual learning, which is key to building a bridge between hearts.

China and the UK differ in social system, history, culture and development stage. Our two countries need a broader mind and broader vision to bridge cultural differences and break through the fence of ideology.

We should expand cooperation on education, culture, science, technology, youth, sport and tourism. We could explore various forms and channels to strengthen exchanges between different regions and in different fields. These efforts will help enhance the understanding of our respective ideas, deepen the appreciation of our different cultures and cement the bond between our peoples. We must all do our best to make sure that China-UK friendship is passed on from generation to generation.

The fourth principle is shouldering due responsibilities as major countries for the wellbeing of all mankind.

China and the UK are big, responsible countries. We both have a global vision and global influence. We both believe in multilateralism, free trade and the rule-based international trade system.

It is important that our two countries shoulder our due responsibilities as major countries, and take the lead in promoting reform in the global governance system, in forging a new type of international relations, and in building a community with a shared future for mankind. Together we can make greater contribution to peace and prosperity for mankind.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends:

Right here at the Guildhall four years ago, President Xi Jinping delivered a speech. He said, “The Chinese dream, an effort by the Chinese people to pursue a happy life, is closely linked with the dreams of the people in other countries.”

What drives China forward in the new era is not only the pursuit of our own dream. It is also the belief that every country deserves to pursue its dream and should work with others to realise the dream of all mankind.

This must also be what drives China-UK relationship forward in the new age.

Let us ride on the wings of our dreams, remain true to our original aspiration, and write a more splendid chapter for the new era -- an era that is full of hopes and full of opportunities. Let us live up to it!

Now may I invite you to join me in a toast:

To the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China,

To the sustained, sound and steady development of China-UK relations,

To world peace and prosperity,

To the health of everyone present tonight,

Cheers!

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