British MP sees world changing through China's leadership

By Cecily Liu in London | China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-18 08:09

Editor's note: The Communist Party of China will hold its 19th National Congress on Oct 18. In the runup to the meeting, China Daily asked three prominent experts to provide their views on developments in China and the country's global leadership.

British MP sees world changing through China's leadership

China's ability to balance its international responsibilities while overcoming domestic challenges will be a key issue for the 19th Party Congress this year, according to Richard Graham, a British member of Parliament and chairman of the All Party Parliamentary China Group.

Graham said he is keen to learn how the congress will address such issues as China's reform of State-owned enterprises, the transformation of its banking system and the country's engagement with foreign businesses.

He said it is encouraging to see China taking on a greater leadership role internationally - such as starting the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank - and increasing its contribution to United Nations-led issues. He was also impressed by President Xi Jinping's advocacy of globalization at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year.

"China is important not just because of the size of its economy and the huge purchasing power and investments overseas, but also because it is a role model and can give encouragement to neighboring countries, particularly in Central Asia, through a variety of opportunities," Graham said. "Because of this leadership role and responsibility, China's words and actions will be listened to more carefully and scrutinized more carefully."

Graham, who first visited the Chinese mainland in 1980, has developed extensive relationships with the country over the decades. He has personally contributed to the UK-China relationship in significant ways.

For example, he helped with the first listing of a Chinese company on the London Stock Exchange, created a new Shanghai Cricket Club and launched the British Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai.

He was also one of the first people to cross the Taklimakan Desert in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in 1993.

Having observed China's rapid growth, Graham said he is impressed by how its international engagement grew, not just in the business and political fields but on a cultural and people-to-people exchange level.

"China has been continuing to open up and internationalize. Chinese people now speak better English and have a better understanding of international systems and structures. That's a positive change because it's all about China's engagement with the world," Graham said.

"China is the world's second-largest economy, and the way it adjusts and adapts to a world where it will have more engagement with different countries is incredibly important."

In 2015, Graham, in his capacity as chairman of the All Party Parliamentary China Group, welcomed Xi to the British Parliament during the president's state visit to the UK.

Graham said the experience was a "great honor" and that it was a good opportunity for British politicians to "get some feel for what the president of such a great country is like".

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