'Grow people' for long-term China-UK relations: Chinese ambassador
Updated: 2016-02-27 19:17
By Song Wei in London(chinadaily.com.cn)
China Ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming delivers a keynote speech at the inaugural event of the Generation UK : China Network in London on Feb 26, 2016. [Photo by Song Wei/chinadaily.com.cn]
London – China and the UK can plan for "a hundred years - even a thousand years of relations" by "growing people", Liu Xiaoming, China ambassador to the United Kingdom said, addressing the inauguration of Generation UK : China Network in London on Friday.
Citing British Prime Minister David Cameron, when he adapted a traditional Chinese saying at a Chinese New Year reception this year– "If you want one year of prosperity, you grow grain. If you want ten years of prosperity, you grow trees. If you want one hundred years of prosperity, you grow people. If you want a thousand years of prosperity, you grow relationships between peoples," the ambassador highlighted the importance of people-to-people exchanges as "a most active and key role to play as China and the UK embark on a 'Golden Era' of relations".
The inauguration of the Network on Friday is the "natural outcome of decades of student exchanges between China and the UK", said Liu.
Statistics show about 35,000 British students have studied in China over the past 40 years, and now among the more than 377,000 world students in China, 7,000 are from Britain.
As China will soon begin a new journey with the adoption of the 13th Five-Year Plan, and China and the UK are also beginning a new journey, when much can be achieved as the two countries work together, the ambassador said.
"I hope that young Chinese and British students will pool their wisdom and strength, and work together to create a more splendid 'Golden Era' of China-UK relations."
The ambassador also announced a new short-term Chinese government scholarship scheme - the first of its kind for UK students as "a special gift" for the inaugural event. In the academic year 2016-2017, this short-term scheme will fund 150 British university students for a two-month study or internship in China.
The Generation UK : China Network, jointly organized by the British Council and the Chinese Embassy in the UK, is an association of alumni joined by British individuals who have studied and worked in China .
Aiming to extend and deepen the engagement of young British nationals with China once they have returned to the UK, the network revolves around an interactive and events-focused LinkedIn group.
Elena Christodoulou, Business Manager of BT Global Services UK and Global Banking Financial Markets, shared how valuable experience of China can be as one of the Leading Lights for the Network. The Leading Lights are successful individuals who have benefited from their time in China.
"The benefits of being in China were vast. I got to see first-hand how one of the world's fastest growing economy was transforming; how people were founding a new way of working –blurring industry lines and pushing boundaries, empowered by the ethos of entrepreneurism and enabled by technology," said Elena, recalling her six-month work rotation in Beijing back in September 2014.
James Kynge, Emerging Market Editor of the Financial Times, another Leading Light of the Network, said by drawing on his 25-year experience living abroad, "China is a place for great humor and immense fun... China is by far the most conversationally free and vigorously debating society I've ever been in."
Kynge emphasized the slogan "Be China ready, and play total China" for members of the Network. "It doesn't matter whether you are in China, or here or in a third country, you need to be able to interact with Chinese, you need to have an understanding of Chinese economy and business, and most important of all, you need to operate in Chinese."
Kynge, who went to study in China in 1982, is also the President of the Association for Speakers of Chinese as a Second Language. China has been the consistent thread in his career as a researcher, journalist and businessman.
Sir Ciaran Devane, Chief Executive of the British Council, said: "The idea of the Network is more than an alumni association... It's about remembering to stay engaged with China, to continue to be involved with that engagement."
Devane asked the fellows of the Network to maintain the connection and love with China, and encourage others to do so.
The Network is a key element of a larger campaign of British Council named "Generation UK-China," which was launched in 2013. Through this campaign, the number of British students who have study or work experience in China is expect to reach 80,000 by 2020.
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Members of the Generation UK : China Network attend the inaugural event in London on Feb 26, 2016. [Photo by Song Wei/chinadaily.com.cn]