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Home > China-UK Events > 2013
The All-Party Parliamentary China Group Hosts Chinese New Year Reception

On 5 February 2013, H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming attended the Chinese New Year Reception hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary China Group (APPCG) at the Palace of Westminster. Over 150 people attended the reception, including Mr. Hugo Swire, Minister of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Mr. Richard Graham, Chairman of the APPCG, Lord Clement-Jones and six other Vice Chairs of the APPCG, Lord Nathanael Ming-Yan Wei, Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for East Asian Business, dozens of MPs, and other celebrities from the political, economic, educational and cultural sectors of the UK.

In his speech, Ambassador Liu said that it was a real pleasure for him to join the APPCG again. It is the third consecutive year he has had the honour of being the guest at the APPCG Chinese New Year Reception. He said, “In a few days time the Spring Festival in China will start. As you will know each year has a symbol and the coming new year is the year of the Snake. In Chinese mythology and folktales, the snake, known as the “little dragon”, conveys quite a number of positive messages. It is symbolic of longevity. We believe snakes live as long as tortoises. It is also highly productive which, for those born in the year of the Snake, give the prospect of having many children and grandchildren. We also see the snake as a guardian of fortune. When the snake is chosen as one of the 12 Zodiac animals, they are given many good qualities. These are examples of the traits of the snake: health, longevity, fortune, luck, prosperity, friendship and love.

Ambassador Liu said, “As we usher in the year of the Snake and look ahead to China-UK relations in the New Year, I wish for all the values that the Snake could bring! In the New Year, I hope China and UK will work together for a new type of relations between major countries and these should be the core characteristics of our relations: our nations should respect each other; we should treat each other as equals and properly manage differences; we should strengthen dialogue, enhance mutual trust and promote stable and healthy development of our political relations. I hope China and UK will expand win-win cooperation and promote economic growth and prosperity of our two countries; I hope China and UK will advance relations in culture and education to increase people-to-people exchanges, improve mutual understanding and strengthen friendship between our peoples; I also hope that our legislatures will work together to increase dialogue and exchanges, in an effort to promote the overall development of China-UK relations.” He stressed that he hoped the APPCG, as a group of leading British politicians with the power to sway understanding in the UK, would pioneer an objective perspective about today’s China, thus helping British people to view China in a reasonable and objective way. In the conclusion, he said, “In China we call Chinese New Year the Spring Festival. Yet every time we celebrate the Spring Festival we find ourselves still in the grip of winter. Maybe the poem by Shelley offers a best explanation for this Chinese custom: ‘If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?’ In the approaching Spring I am expecting a blossoming of China-UK relations!”

Mr. Swire, Minister of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, thanked Ambassador Liu for his brilliant remarks and expressed his appreciation to the APPCG for organizing this reception and for the contribution it made over the past years in promoting the development of China-UK relations. He said, “China-UK relations are extremely important to the UK. 2012 has offered us many opportunities to celebrate. It marked the Diamond Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth and witnessed the success of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The remarkable results made by the Chinese athletes during the London Olympic Games are amazing and memorable—China won a total of 88 medals, including 38 gold medals. In 2012, investment, trade and economic cooperation between China and the UK grew very rapidly, and so did the exchanges between our peoples. Even in the sports and cultural areas which generally do not draw much attention, we still had a lot of exchanges. For example, in 2012 UK’s football teams Arsenal and Manchester City played a match at the Bird’s Nest Stadium in China. The new James Bond film ‘Skyfall’ was ceremoniously introduced into China. Although we may have different views on certain matters, the relationship between our two countries has remained strong. Britain values its relationship with China and has invested a significant amount of diplomatic resources for it. As we look ahead to 2013 I really hope our relations will achieve further development in the coming new year.”

As the host of the Reception, Chairman Graham thanked Ambassador Liu for joining this event and for making the warm speech, which helped them know the implications of the year of the Snake and gain new insight into the Sino-British relations. He said that the purpose of the All Party Parliamentary China Group is to build a platform to promote Sino-British cooperation in the political, economic, trade, cultural and other fields, and help the British MPs who have great interest in China gain better knowledge and understanding of China through exchanges. The APPCG will insist on this principle and try to promote the development of Sino-British relations in the future.

Guests from all walks of life of the UK said that Ambassador Liu’s speech helped them learn more about the implications of snakes and the year of Snake in the Chinese traditional culture, and raised their confidence in developing mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation relations with China. They sincerely hoped that the friendly exchanges and cooperation between the two countries would embrace a new chapter in the year of the Snake and they were willing to make a contribution for this.

With nearly 400 MPs as its members (from both the House of Lords and the House of Commons), the All-Party Parliamentary China Group is the 2nd largest among the 126 country-based All-Party Parliamentary Groups, next only to the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the United States. In 2006 the APPCG and the China-UK Friendship Group of China’s National People’s Congress signed a memorandum to establish a mechanism for regular parliamentary exchanges between China and the UK. Up until now, four exchange activities have been held under the mechanism.

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