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UPDATED: 10:59, August 14, 2004
Evans: Deng Xiaoping opens modern Chinese history
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Knight Richard Evans was British ambassador to China at the beginning of 1984, a critical time when UK and China held negotiations on Hong Kong issue. Evans was also the head of the British delegation and returned to the United Kingdom in 1988 when he finished his term of office. He had met with Deng Xiaoping for five times. In 1993, he published a book entitled "Deng Xiaoping and the Making of Modern China" and its Chinese version name is "Biography of Deng Xiaoping". The book was translated into different languages and were published in many countries. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Deng Xiaonping's birthday, Evans is happy to have an interview with People's Daily.

Evans said, on Hong Kong issue UK and China had held many difficult negotiations. At last, British Prime Minister Margerate Thacher had to give up Hong Kong sovereignty and her stand unwillingly. Thacher sent twice her Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Geoffrey Howe to Beijing to explain her stand on Hong Kong issue during April and August 1984.

During the two negotiations, Deng received Howe for two times, each lasting about one hour. As ambassador to China, Evans also attended the interviews. He said the difficult points in the negotiations included the issues of army stationing, nationality for Hong Kong denizens and election.

Deng Xiaoping's viewpoint was quite clear that there was no concession on the issue of army stationing in Hong Kong. At that time the biggest problem was that Britain did not trust in China and tried every means to force a promise from China. Evans said, on the standpoint we certainly stood on the side of Britain. But Deng is farsighted, confident and firm.

He explained every issue very clearly and incisively. We could not but trust in him. He told Howe, Chinese government would announce that after 1997, China would keep the existing capitalist system in Hong Kong unchanged for 50 years. It was considered in view of China's reality and development requirements. China now had worked out a palatial aim: that is to make gross domestic product (GDP) quadruple in two decades. The national income would reach the "better-off level" for the people's livelihood. When realizing the aim, China still has an ambition to reach or to be close to the level of developed countries. In total, it needs 50 years.

If only you came to know our idea you would have a belief that the promise to keep Hong Kong unchanged for 50 years is completely reliable. Deng Xiaoping did not make the promise in the name of him but vouched for the country and for the nation's future. He opened the creditworthiest "insurance sheet" in the world.

After the talks in April 1984, Geoffrey Howe issued a statement in Hong Kong. For the first time, he pronounced in public that Britain officially gave up the demand for Hong Kong's sovereignty and right to rule. In September, at a press conference in Britain, Howe answered, "It is the most serious guarantee two sovereign states can make mutually when asking by a journalist about how much reliability of the promise made by Chinese leaders.

On September 26, 1984, Evens and Zhou Nan draft-signed the UK-China joint communiqu�� on Hong Kong issue at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Evans said the British-Chinese joint communiqu�� embodies the imaginary idea of Deng Xiaoping's " One country and two systems and proves that peaceful negotiation is the best way to settle the problem left over by history.

In December, 1984, Madame Thacher visited China and signed officially the British-Chinese Joint Communique on Hong Kong Issue. After the signature, Deng Xiaoping received Thacher. Evans said it was the third time he met Deng Xiaoping in a year. But it was more relaxed than before.

Deng stressed: First, China will not invade in any other countries; second, China will play a peaceful role in international and regional affairs; third, China will continue to develop its economy.

Deng still reiterated the idea of "One country and two systems". He said I also want to ask prime minister to tell people in Hong Kong and the world that there are capitalism and socialism in "One country and two systems", that is main Chinese system. In the area with a population of 1 billion China will practise socialism unswervingly. The main area of 1-billion population, Taiwan with a population of 20 million and Hong Kong with a population of 5.5 million -- that is the issue of relations between 1 billion and 20 million and 5.5 million. The main body is a very large body and the socialism is the one for one billion people area, which is the premise. It does not do if without this premise. We believe that capitalism is allowed in a small area, as it is favorable to socialism.

Evans said after the signing of the joint statement, the relations between Britain and China have developed considerably. As an ambassador to China, he experienced this historic period. During October 12-18, 1986 British queen paid a visit to China, which is the first time in the history of British and Chinese relations. The queer wanted to meet with Deng Xeroxing. Evans said the meeting is very interesting. As it is not a political talk, the atmosphere of the meeting is very relaxed. Deng Xiaoping invited the queen to Daoyutai (State Guest House) to meet him in a traditional siheyuan (a courtyard). While the queen entered the gate Deng walked out of his room and went downstairs to shake hands with the queen and said humorously, "Thank you for coming from afar to visit a Chinese old man. Evans exclaimed: "I was greatly touched''. He said Deng invited the queen and her husband to have lunch. Howe and his wife, and I and my wife also joined them. That year Deng is 82 years old.

Evans started to prepare writing: Autography of Deng Xiaoping". He spent four years on researching Deng Xiaoping. He thinks Deng Xiaoping pioneered modern Chinese history. He said the biggest contribution made by Deng is the idea of the economic reform and the opening to the outside put forward by Deng in 1978. He worked out policies for China's economic development, bringing out great changes in China, Secondly, Deng put stress on the steady development of relations with other countries. As a result, China has established good relations with the United States, Japan and other countries, especially the relations with the countries in Africa and Asia. China becomes members of various international organizations and takes active part in international affairs to play greater role in the world arena. Now more and more Westerners want to visit China in order to see miracles in the development of China's economy. And Deng Xiaoping ushers the development in.

By People's Daily Online

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