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Consul General's Speech Commemorating the 69th Anniversary of the Founding of P.R.China


Mayor of Greater Manchester Mr. Burnham,

High Sheriff of Greater Manchester Dr. Shah,

The Right Worshipful Lord Mayor of Manchester Cllr. Hitchen,

Your Right Worshipfuls, Respected Mayors and Council Leaders, Vice Chancellors,

My fellow Manchester Consular Association Members,

Chinese Community leaders,

Dear friends, Ladies and Gentlemen,


Thank you for joining our celebration for the 69th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. I am Zheng Xiyuan,  newly-arrived Consul General of the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Manchester. First of all , please allow me to extend my warm congratulations to Metro Mayor Burnham on his recent successful visit to China, during which he met Chinese leaders at ministerial and provincial levels in Beijing, Tianjin and Shenzhen. He also met and had in-depth and productive talks and discussions with business elites during his visit.  

What is more, Manchester Camerata's tour in five Chinese cities achieved a smashing success and Mr. Alun Jones, principal of Chetham's School of Music who went with Mr. Burnham, also found ideal partners for future cooperation. I am convinced that their trip to China will certainly start a brand new chapter for mutual collaboration.

Ladies and gentlemen, this year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up to the outside world. The past 40 years have witnessed many miracles of world attention by the Chinese people, which are the result of not only our own efforts, but also our willingness and modesty to learn from other countries, especially from developed industrial economies.

Entering the new era, China will undoubtedly keep pressing ahead with reform and opening-up to the outside world. At present, incomplete statistics show that there are nearly 70, 000 Chinese students studying in the north of England, which indicates that Chinese people are never complacent with what they have achieved and they are always willing and ready to learn from others because they bear in their mind Confucius's teachings on modesty.

These Chinese students studying here will be the backbone of China in the future, and will certainly play a great role in the bilateral relations between China and the UK. I hope they will be taken good care of in the UK, stay safe and have the opportunity to get to know more wise, friendly and creative British people.  

In the north of England there live more than 200,000 people of Chinese origin, who have contributed both to China's construction & development and to the growth of their home of residence. Liverpool is home to the earliest Chinese settlers, where Chinese revolutionary pioneer Dr. Sun Yat-sen discussed with local Chinese compatriots.  His being kidnapped in the then Chinese Embassy in London called the world's attention to China's revolution which resulted in the Revolution of 1911 overthrowing the Qing Dynasty.

Today, many overseas Chinese engaged in education, scientific research and businesses. You can find Chinese restaurants almost everywhere, contributing to the diversity of British society. The Chinese communities are the most active driving force of China-UK friendship.  

Dear friends, the North of England's China links have a long history. In my hometown Chongqing, the Museum of Industry treasures a steam engine of 8,000 horsepower, the first heavy-duty steam engine China imported. This engine was made in Sheffield. It marked an important milestone in China's industrialization.

In Chongqing, an important industrial hub with a population of more than 30 million,there also stand 12 statues of China's international friends. The first is Archibald John Little, a Mancunian who sold all his properties in 1898 to build a steamboat. This steamboat sailed upstream from Shanghai in east China along the Yangtze River to Chongqing via the three Gorges, opening Chongqing up to the outside world.  

Manchester twinned with Wuhan in 1986. The two cities have set a good example for cooperation between China-UK sister cities. Leeds became a sister city with Hangzhou in 1988. Cllr. Judith Blake, council leader of Leeds attended the 30th anniversary of the establishment of its sister city relationship in Hangzhou this month and signed an MOU on strengthening mutual cooperation. Liverpool is going to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its twinning with Shanghai next year. Derbyshire twinned with Anhui province last year and Derby city allocated a special fund to set up an office in the capital city Hefei of Anhui province. The Lord Mayor of York will start his China trip next month and meet his counterparts in Nanjing and Suzhou. My dear friends, the Right worshipful Lord Mayor Cllr. Hitchen and some local leaders are scheduled to visit China in November.

 As for university links with China, they are too numerous to be listed here one by one. As the new Consul General, I have all confidence in the bright prospects of China-UK communication and collaboration. I sincerely believe that China-UK friendship ushered in by Archibald John Little's spirit will keep flourishing like a burning torch, lighting up our great expectations of the 'golden era'.

 Ladies and gentlemen, Chinese President Xi Jinping urged all Chinese reformers to remain true to our original aspirations. I have discovered  that the 'original aspirations' could be found here in Manchester, in the alcove of Chetham's Library where Karl Marx read and discussed with Frederich Engles, and in the statue of Robert Owen in front of Manchester Cooperative Bank.

 The 'Belt and Road' Initiative proposed by China intends to establish a new mode of cooperation based on the principle of wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits in order to promote sustainable economic growth. It aims not just to help Chinese people reap a dividend  from development, but also to contribute to world economic growth and build a community of shared future for mankind. I believe it is an inheritance and a development of thought on socialism in the new era, calling on us to make joint efforts for our common interests. That happens to remind me of the image of Manchester bees, full of a socialist teamwork spirit.


Finally, please allow me to express my heart-felt thanks to Mr. Rhys Whalley and his team, to Chetham's School of Music and Chinese Students and Scholars' Association for their unremitting support. My thanks also go to our anchorwoman Ms. Liu Xiaoyun, who is a graduate of the University of Sheffield, and to my interpreter Connor Daly, who is a student of the Confucius Institute of Manchester University.


Also with us today is Mr. Liu Daming, a UOM student, who has undergone 20 surgeries and escaped death many times. He is the first Chinese student who is a wheelchair user to study in the UK. He was awarded the PIEoneer Award 2018 on Sept. 7th in London, and he has become a role model for millions of Chinese youth.


Thank you very much for attending today's event. I hope you all enjoy a wonderful evening.

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