UK travel note: China increasingly important

17:25, August 12, 2010      

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At the invitation of the Financial Times and The Times, a six-person delegation from People's Daily left Beijing at the end of July for an official goodwill visit to the United Kingdom.
'We are very concerned about development in China'

Lionel Barber, editor of the Financial Times, and other major officials met with the delegation of People's Daily in the paper's headquarters in London on July 21, 2010.

The Financial Times, established in 1888, is known as the world's most authoritative source for global business news as well as geo-political commentary and analysis.

"As far as the world is concerned, China is becoming more and more important. We are very concerned about the development in China," Barber said.

Almost every edition of the Financial Times recently has carried a report on China and sometimes two or more pieces. Not long ago, the Financial Times published commentary and analysis following the National Bureau of Statistics of China's release of economic data for the first half of 2010.

As Barber and his colleagues pointed out, despite the fact that GDP growth in China reached 11.1 percent in the first half this year, the overall economic situation in China maintained a good momentum of recovery. But the growth of the second quarter was lower than that of the first three months.

"We are worried whether that signifies China's economy is likely to see a 'double dip,'" Barber said.

A delegate from People's Daily attempted to assuage Barber's concerns.

"Cooling down the overheating economy is as important as preventing the economy from slowing down. China's economic recovery has a strong delayed effect, and there is no need to worry about the 'double dip,' nor about the decrease of overseas investment," a delegate from People's Daily said.

Barber responded, "That's OK. A lot of people in London, and even in the United Kingdom are expecting more investment from China."

Barber's remarks made everyone at the meeting laugh.

"People care more about the progress of political reform while the economic reform is being carried out," he said.

Editors and reporters of the Financial Times talked freely with counterparts from People's Daily as exchanges were further deepened.

Delegates of People's Daily answered all the questions from counterparts at the Financial Times and gave a detailed explanation of the progress of political reform in China. An example was given when they explained the reform of human resources. People's Daily launched the campaign of "position competition" recently, and the secretary general and the director of Editors' Office, two of the most important positions in People's Daily, were elected this way.

Barber asked with curiosity while nodding his head, "What does the secretary general do?"

Delegates of People's Daily answered with witty humor, "He is more like an assistant, a housekeeper."

"Oh, let me also choose a housekeeper for the Financial Times," Barber said jokingly.

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