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Home > Ambassador Liu > Events > 2011
Speech by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the CBBC Scotland China Dinner
(11 July 2011, Glasgow, Scotland)

Sir David Brewer,

Bailie Malik

Business leaders,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to be here in Glasgow. It is also a delight to be here in Scotland in the summer months.

That brings to mind a poem of your most famous poet Robert Burns. In his poem Ay Waukin'O there are these lovely lines: "Simmer's a pleasant time, flowers of every colour."

This is my third visit to Scotland since I became Chinese Ambassador to the UK. One of the main purposes for the visit is to speak to the CBBC Scotland China Dinner.

As I was preparing for this dinner my mind was drawn to the symbolism of the red CBBC logo. Of course for Chinese people the red colour is hugely attractive, as it is a symbol of festivity.

But another strong appeal of the logo of CBBC is its special symmetry. This would be called yin and yang in Chinese seal carving. Indeed this logo design is full of meaning to Chinese people.

The CBBC logo is also highly symbolic of China-UK trade and investment cooperation. In other words, a perfect coordination of yin and yang.

That was very much the spirit of the official visit by Premier Wen Jiabao to Britain just last month. This visit has boosted cooperation between our two countries in all areas. Business cooperation was very much a highlight.

Premier Wen emphasised these facts:

  • Britain boasts a fully fledged financial system.
  • The UK has advanced technologies and innovation.
  • And there is rich experience in management.
  • In turn, China enjoys a vast market.
  • China has abundant foreign exchange reserves.
  • And Chinese people add up to a huge labour force with significant manufacturing power.

All these factors create complementary strengths between China and the UK. So both countries can gain by drawing upon each other's strong points. Both our nations can advance by growing our economies together.

Scotland has a major role to play in advancing links with China. On each of the three visits I have made, I learn more about the hugely rich Scottish heritage and culture.

Scotland has outstanding tourist resources such as the highlands. Many aspects are world famous such as Loch Ness, whisky distilleries, bagpipes and kilts.

But Scotland does not just rely on its beauty and heritage. Scotland is home to a large number of vibrant businesses.

These are both big and small, with quality services, managerial expertise and advanced technologies.

Scotland also has a great wealth in education facilities and world class universities.

These have given birth to many insights and inventions.

Scottish inventors have made extraordinary contributions to benefit all mankind. It was a Scot, James Watt, who made the key inventions with the steam engine that utterly changed the world. And The list can go on and on:

  • Alexander Fleming, discoverer of penicillin.
  • Alexander Bell with the telephone
  • And John Baird who invented television.

Scotland is indeed blessed with abundant resources and ingenious people.

I was with Vice Premier Li Keqiang when he visited Scotland early this year.

I was impressed by the profound friendship of the Scottish people towards the Chinese people. I felt the very keen interest of the Scottish government and business community about working with China. This means that the relations between China and Scotland hold out great promise.

This positive atmosphere might induce complacency. So I think we should take our guide from these words of a famous Chinese sage: "Without taking actions, one can never succeed, and without traveling, one can never reach one's destinations."

Relations between China and Scotland are blessed with good opportunities and great prospects. But we need to seize upon these advantages with vigour. That means renewed action, ever more exchanges, a pioneering spirit and more momentum to our cooperation.

I will highlight some areas where I believe we can win these advances.

First, we need to increase mutual understanding.

It may have surprised many that Premier Wen Jiabao started his visit to the UK with a visit to Shakespeare's birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Premier Wen explained why he went there:

"Countries should respect the history of each other and the creation of their peoples if they are to build a foundation for lasting friendship."

I am pleased that China has been increasing its knowledge of Scotland day by day.

This is partly made possible through visits by senior political leaders from China.

Recent visitors have been Vice Premier Li Keqiang, Vice Premier Wang Qishan and State Councillor Dai Bingguo.

China has a Consulate-General in Edinburgh, which has facilitated contact and communication between China and Scotland over the years.

I am glad to say that our new Consul-General in Edinburgh Mr Li Ruiyou is here with us this evening.

In turn the actions of the Scottish Government show how Scotland is also attaching great importance to its relations with China.

It is very clear how Scotland's leaders see China's development as an opportunity. This has manifested itself in clear public statements of strategy.

Furthermore, First Minister Salmond has led two delegations to China and is planning a third visit. But we should be aware that China is still poorly understood in the British society.

There is a need for more comprehensive and in-depth understanding.

There is a need to get rid of stereotypes about China.

We hope that the Scottish people, in particular business leaders will see and understand China in an objective and rational way.

My country is both old and new.

This is a key way for Scottish people to understand China.

The Chinese people have a history of 5000 years that adds up to the world's longest continuous civilisation.

The People's Republic was founded only 62 years ago.

The policy of reform and opening-up of China started only a little over three decades ago.

And China has just celebrated the 90th anniversary of the Communist Party of China.

It is during the past six decades that China has managed tremendous changes and achievements:

  • We have found a way of development suited to our national conditions.
  • We have come up with a development theory tailored to the Chinese reality
  • We have put in place a social system with Chinese characteristics.
  • And China is steadily moving towards prosperity and happiness for its people.

My country never rests on its success.

It is now the world's second largest economy.

But we are soberly aware that China is also a developing country confronted with a lot of challenges, both predictable and unpredictable.

The road to development is long and arduous. China has to confront those aspects of our economy that are unbalanced, unsustainable and uncoordinated.

That is why we in China are following what we call "the scientific thinking on development" to restructure the economy and upgrade our way of growth.

By doing so, we hope to improve people's lives and make our economic growth sustainable.

My country makes progress on all fronts.

China is making what we describe as all-round development in the economic, political, social, cultural and environmental fields.

It is sad that some people in the West fail to see this point.

They tend to criticize China for focusing solely on economic growth while neglecting social progress.

Those critics say China is only carrying out economic reform, not political reform.

This is a complete misreading of China's comprehensive reform and development.

Political reform has come with economic reform every step of the way in the past three decades.

We have seen the growing role of the National People's Congress and multi-party political consultation under the leadership of the Communist Party:

  • Democratic decision making and the legal system have been strengthened.
  • Over 200 laws were formulated to change the millennium-old pattern of ‘rule by man' to the ‘rule of law'.
  • Life-long tenures of leadership positions had long been a thing of the past.
  • Competitive appointments with public consultation are becoming the norm.
  • Respect for and promotion of human rights has been written into the Chinese Constitution.
  • The government of China is committed to putting people first as it runs the country.
  • This makes sure that the people enjoy unprecedented rights and freedoms.

I am sure more comprehensive knowledge of China will contribute to greater mutual understanding.

In turn that can deepen cooperation.

In this way our friendship will be anchored on solid foundations.

Second, through this friendship we need to promote win-win cooperation.

More than 200 years ago another great Scot, Adam Smith gave the world the theories of the market economy and free trade. These are of huge global relevance today. The core of free trade is mutual benefit.

Today mutual benefit, too, is why China and Scotland are engaged in cooperation.

China values the opportunities of the Scottish market.

Chinese businesses have come to invest in Scotland, attracted by its infrastructure. PetroChina formed a refinery joint venture with Ineos this year at Grangemouth. This has become another flagship project for China-Scotland cooperation. Lenovo and Bank of China both have offices in Scotland.

By establishing themselves in Scotland, Chinese businesses are going global while creating jobs for the local population.

China values Scotland's ability to innovate.

Reports by several world renowned institutes show that China is the world's top investor in renewable energy.

In turn Scotland is a world leaders in renewable and green energy and may well become Europe's centre of 'new energy'.

Vice Premier Li Keqiang was most impressed by his visit to the Pelamis wave power project.

Scotland also leads in other spheres of science.

For example, the birth of Dolly the sheep was symbolic of leadership in bioscience.

Scotland is now home to a large cluster of life sciences industries.

China is ready to draw upon and bring in Scotland's advanced technologies and experience:

  • China's industrial upgrading and the stimulating of domestic demand is offering Scotland and the world enormous opportunities.
  • Scottish businesses are welcome to explore the Chinese market and China will provide a fair and enabling environment for them.
  • China will honour its commitment under WTO and continue to open up its financial sector.
  • We will strengthen IPR protection and make sure foreign businesses can operate in China at ease.
  • We are committed to an open government procurement policy and treat Chinese and foreign-invested businesses as equals.

Third, as Premier Wen explained, our relations must be much wider than just business.

We need to expand people-to-people and cultural exchanges.

A relationship sustained by only trade interests is fragile.

China-Scotland relations will not go far or win popular support if we only focus on business relations.

In this spirit Premier Wen's recent visit to Britain has produced a very important outcome.

This is the decision to establish a mechanism at senior levels dedicated to people-to-people and cultural exchanges.

We must step up cultural exchanges.

We are happy to see that Chinese art troupes have taken part in the Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Military Tattoo for several years.

We very much look forward to the performance of the National Ballet of China and the Shanghai Peking Opera Troupe at this year's Edinburgh International Festival.

We have more to celebrate: two giant pandas will arrive at the Edinburgh Zoo at the end of this year.

These VIPs or 'very important pandas' will serve as ambassadors of friendship between China, Scotland and the UK.

We must increase youth exchanges.

Scotland has taken an important lead in promoting mandarin teaching in its schools and universities.

This is a key step which we warmly support.

This will enable more Scottish young people to have the chance to learn mandarin and so know more about China.

We now have two Confucius Institutes in Scotland, and more are coming to universities in Scotland.

Thousands of Chinese students are benefiting greatly by studying in Scottish universities.

This is giving them knowledge and skills as well as the opportunity to absorb Scottish culture and

create life long friendships with the people of Scotland.

We are also welcoming young people from Scotland to study in China and see for themselves what China is really like.

To sum up:

  • China and Scotland should learn to understand each other more.
  • Our countries need to draw on each other's strength for win-win progress.
  • In this way, our cooperation will be more fruitful.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Scotland's national bard Robert Burns had made the song Auld Lang Syne, very famous worldwide.

The huge popularity of that song in China means that Auld Lang Syne has become deeply rooted in the hearts of the Chinese people.

It is known in mandarin as You Yi Di Jiu Tian Chang.

This literally means 'long lasting friendship'.

Burns' poem and a song have sown the seeds of our friendship.

Today China and Scotland are partners, hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder.

Let us raise our glass for a toast.

To cooperation, long lasting friendship and Slainte Mhath!


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