Teachers and Students:
A very warm welcome to the Chinese Embassy!
Today, we are gathered with teachers and students from three schools. From the UK there is Hautlieu School in Jersey and Francis Holland School in London. And, from China, teachers and students from Bayi School have travelled all the way from Beijing to be with us.
Bayi School is Chinese President Xi Jinping's alma mater where he spent his primary and middle school years. President Xi says his years at Bayi School were, "intellectually rewarding and most unforgettable." This shows Bayi is a school of fine tradition and high quality. It also shows what one learnt in school years will have lifelong benefits.
Therefore, I am truly delighted that Hautlieu School and Francis Holland School have twinned with Bayi. Over the past years I have learned how the schools and students have had close exchanges. Such exchanges have immense benefits for young people:
· It opens the mind.
· It broadens horizons.
· It deepens understanding.
· And it builds friendship.
Any such ties and interchanges for young people have profound benefits that will have a lasting influence through life.
Back in October 2015, while paying a State Visit to the UK, President Xi Jinping personally unveiled the plaque of the world's 1000th Confucius Classroom. This is the one co-hosted by Hautlieu and Bayi. I am more than happy to learn that, three days ago, this Confucius Classroom officially went into operation at Hautlieu School. I offer my heartiest congratulations!
This year marks the 45th anniversary of the ambassadorial diplomatic relations between China and the UK. 45 years ago, no one could have imagined the closeness of ties and cooperation that China and the UK are enjoying today.
Today our two countries are strongly committed to building a "Golden Era" of bilateral ties. Both are working hard to advance our overall cooperation in business, in culture, in education and on global issues.
Today, over 160,000 Chinese students are studying in Britain and more than 6,000 British students are in China. Hundreds of Chinese and British schools are twinned with each other like you. Tens of thousands of young people are visiting each other's country every year.
This is the best of times for exchanges between China and the UK. That reminds me of an old Chinese idiom that captures the spirit of our relations:
"We are enjoying the shades from trees planted by our forefathers."
Thanks to the hard work of previous generations, young people like you are lucky to live in this day and age. Today, the door to China-UK cooperation is wide open. Today, you have a "Golden Era" before you.
At the same time, young people like you have a mission to build a better future for your generation and beyond:
· A future that embraces openness and inclusiveness.
· A future for exchanges and cooperation.
· And, a future of shared benefits.
As President Xi put it, the young people are the future of our nations and the future of our bilateral ties and friendship. What you are doing here today is more than meeting new people, making new friends and showing your talents. You are laying the foundation of China-UK relations in the future.
I know that each of the three schools has a motto. They are inspiring words to me when I think of what to say to express my hopes for all of you young people.
First, I hope you will embrace the spirit of equality.
The motto of Francis Holland School says:
"That our daughters may be as the polished corners of the Temple."
This is a quote from the Bible, emphasizing the spirit of equality.
That spirit serves as the foundation for the friendship and mutual understanding between Chinese and British young people:
· Equality paves the way for mutual respect.
· Equality enables our young people to discover and appreciate each other's strengths.
· And, equality makes it possible for mutual learning and common progress.
Second, I hope you will "aim for the highest", exactly as this motto of Hautlieu School suggests. I encourage you all:
· To share with each other the best of China, the best of Britain and indeed, the best of Jersey.
· To build bonds together between the Chinese dream and the British dream.
· To dedicate yourselves to a better China-UK relationship.
· And to aim the highest for the objective of building a community of shared future for mankind!
Third, I hope you students will always be daring and innovative. The motto of Bayi School is:
"To inherit the past, to explore the future."
To explore the future requires an innovative mind. Innovation lies at the very heart of social progress. And young people like you can be the drivers of innovation:
· Young people are full of vim, vigor and vitality.
· You have the most innovative minds.
· You should be leading the progress of our societies.
· And, in turn, you should be leading the development of China-UK relations.
Notably, this year's China-UK People to People Dialogue has taken the "Spirit of Youth" as its main theme. It will focus on youth and innovation.
I hope you will be inspired to be innovative not only in your studies, not only in how you forge stronger friendships between your three schools, but also in your mind. China and Britain differ in social system and cultural tradition. So, your exchanges provide a wonderful opportunity. You can gain new mindsets and learn how to take a positive, objective and fair view of the past, present and future of our respective countries.
Shakespeare once wrote:
"Youth, I do adore thee."
Your visit to our Embassy has been an inspiration. Your youthful and vigorous presence at the Chinese Embassy today has made us diplomats feel years younger:
· We envy your energy and enthusiasm.
· We wish you great progress and success in your studies.
· We encourage you to make maximum advantages from the friendships made through this school exchanges.
· We wish the younger generation of China and Britain everlasting friendship.
· And, we wish you all the very best!