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No Double Standards on Theocracy, urged Ambassador Fu Ying

On 27 May 2008 Ambassador Fu Ying attended the monthly luncheon hosted by the Number 9 Society at the Caledonian Club and delivered a speech entitled Evolution of Commercial Relations between China and Scotland. Over 80 people from the British business and financial communities including Chairman Colin Buchanan, Vice Chairman Anthony S Westnedge OBE and former Chairman Ian Menzies of the Number 9 Society attended.

As suggested by Chairman Buchanan, the attendees stood in a minute silent tribute to the victims of the Sichuan earthquakes.

Fu Ying talked about the earthquakes that hit Sichuan and the latest casualties. She told moving stories in the rescue and disaster relief.

She thanked the British leaders, business communities and the British people for their sympathy and support for the earthquake victims. The first batch of 2400 tents was flown to Sichuan disaster areas by the morning of 24 May. The embassy has also received over 700,000 pounds of donations.

Fu Ying pointed out that the Chinese people were more united and actively participated in the rescue and disaster relief though the earthquakes had brought destructive damage to parts of Sichuan. The coverage by western media in Sichuan has given them a chance to gain new knowledge of China. Meanwhile China has received condolences, support and assistance from the international communities. Professional rescue teams and medical teams are working in the areas. Many countries have provided materials.

Fu Ying said that the earthquakes will not have long-term negative impact on China's economic development. She introduced the macro economic environment of China in 2008. She said that many Chinese enterprises have the conditions and opportunity to invest overseas but they still face difficulties due to the lack of knowledge, expertise and talents. There are many Chinese students studying in Scotland. She hoped that the British side could relax its visa policy for the students so that they could accumulate working experience in Britain after graduation.

Fu Ying said she visited Scotland last year and was impressed by the vigor of Edinburgh and hospitality of the Scottish people.

Scottish export to China accounts for only 1.7% of its total export each year. The figure shows that there is still room for improvement for the economic relations and trade between China and Scotland. The Chinese side values its strategic cooperation with the Scottish government, with focus on financial, tourism and education. When Prime Minister Brown visited China early this year, Premier Wen Jiabao proposed five key areas of cooperation, including technology trade, cooperative innovation, energy and environment, financial sector and IPR cooperation. Scotland has advantage in all these five areas and it is hoped that the two sides will strengthen their cooperation.

Fu Ying stressed that relations between the two countries needs a sound popular basis. When the Chinese media reported Prime Minister Brown's meeting with Dalai Lama and the testimony on Tibet's human rights by Dalai Lama in the Foreign Relations Committee of the House of Commons, there were 7,700 comments within 10 hours. People criticized the British involvement in Tibet in history. They considered it ironic for the British parliament to invite Dalai Lama to testify on Tibet's human rights. Dalai claimed that Tibet's human rights situation was worse than in 1959. In fact it was practicing the dark, backward and theocratic serfdom before 1959, with 95% of the population being slaves and life expectancy at 35.

Fu Ying introduced the great progress in Tibet in the past 50 years. The uniqueness of its economic development means that 96% of its budget comes from the central government. It needs to develop its agriculture, animal husbandry and tourism according to its own features and in a gradual way. In the past 5 years growth rate in Tibet has been higher than the national average. It moves on with the rest of the country.

Fu Ying said that Dalai's image is hugely different in and out of China. The westerners tend to believe what he says while the Chinese have a clearer understanding of his essence as they know him for decades. The British parliament has been a staunch defender of the principle of separating religion from politics. It should not adopt a double standard on Tibet.

Fu Ying said that the Tibet question shows in stark relief the gap between China and the west. It used the analogy of man not knowing the feeling of the fish in the river by Zhuangzi to show that no one should use his own criterions to judge others. Judgment can only be made on the basis of knowing the facts. 

Fu Ying said that the 30 years since reform and opening is a process for China to learn from and exchange with the west. A relationship of mutual benefit, win-win, and high-degree of interdependence has been established. China will not change its course of development. The overall trend of cooperation between China and the west will not change. China has to learn to make its voice heard so that the world will know it better.

Fu Ying answered questions concerning internet control, Beijing Olympics, unfair coverage by the western media. The audience broke into warm applauses for her excellent speech and humor.

The Number 9 Society at the Caledonian Club was established in 1997. It is a branch of the Caledonian Club. 99% of its 67 members are Scottish descent. Most of them are elites in finance, business, law, military, research and sports in Scotland.