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From the UK Embassy:|
"30 years of reform and opening up - a view from the UK (03/11/2008)
China is a much better place to be than it was thirty years ago, and the world is better for it too. I first came to China in 1981, just as reform and opening up was beginning. I am much happier returning to today’s China. 30 years ago this seemed an impossible dream.
China’s story in the 1980s was a largely internal one, as far as the rest of the world was concerned. The 1990s were a story of the world coming to China. This decade, China is going out into the world. China now makes headlines in Europe on a weekly basis, not because of its vast potential, but because of present reality. China affects not just our foreign policy but our domestic lives. Interest in China in my country, the UK, is higher than it has ever been. Hundreds of primary schools in the UK now teach Chinese. British students in China are now in the thousands, not the hundreds. China’s interest in the UK has also increased. Over 60,000 mainland Chinese students study in the UK now – the largest number of foreign students from any country. 200 million people are studying English across China – not just to talk to us, but to talk to billions of others across the world who also use English as an international language. This is good news.
But China’s growth, and impact, is only beginning to be felt. Two centuries ago, China’s share of global GDP was over five times what it is now. I see three key challenges for all of us if we are to take full advantage of the opportunities this presents:
a) to build trust: it really is the case that what most other countries now fear is China’s failure, not China’s success. The past 30 years have seen huge progress. We want to know how that can continue. These are natural questions, not hostile ones. We need to talk frankly, on the basis of mutual respect;
b) to build confidence: the rest of the world wants to hear more from China on key international issues, from Iran, to Climate Change, to the global financial crisis. We have a shared responsibility for global prosperity and well-being. This is not one sided;
c) to build knowledge: China has grown and changed so fast, and affects so many across the world, that its direction of future travel is now a big subject of debate across the world. President Hu has pledged to continue reform and opening up. That is a welcome message for everyone, within and outside China.
The UK takes its strategic partnership with China seriously. Chinese leaders talk about sound momentum in our relationship. That is what we see, and what we want, too."
British Embassy, Beijing