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Switzerland participates actively in China's economic growth, interview
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16:19, July 06, 2007

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To most Chinese, the name of Switzerland would bring a combined feeling of strangeness and familiarity. Strange in that it is located at the opposite side of the globe, and familiar in the sense that it is widely known among different groups of people: For the Chinese travellers, everyone knows the unique Alps flavour of Switzerland has enabled this central European state to become a well-deserved favourite tourist destination; For the Chinese with a taste for fashion, almost everyone is familiar with Swiss brand names like Nestle, Victorinox Swiss Army Knives, SWATCH, Rolex, Tissot, Longines, Omega, Rado, etc.; For the Chinese interested in international affairs, everyone knows of the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, the Davos World Economic Forum, the WHO, the WTO and other famous international organizations in Geneva, the city of diplomacy; And for the successful Chinese businessmen with a preference for privacy, having a strictly private bank account in the Swiss Banks has become a symbol of social status and a measurement of their wealth.

Many Chinese still wonder: How could a small state like Switzerland, with a land area of the approximate size of half of Zhejiang Province in Eastern China, become so uniquely successful? For what reason has it gained worldwide fame? And faced with the tidal waves of globalization, how does Swiss leadership envisage its future position in the world? With all these questions in mind, People’s Daily staff editor Dr. Liu Chao recently conducted an exclusive interview in Switzerland with Mrs. Micheline Calmy-Rey, President of the Swiss Confederation.

Mrs. Micheline Calmy-Rey was born in 1945 in the French speaking area of Switzerland. She has a degree in political science from the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, and joined the Socialist Party of Geneva in 1979, which she later served as president for two terms. She became a member of the cantonal government in 1998, took over as head of the Department of Finance, was elected to the Swiss Federal Council on 4 December 2002 and was appointed as head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

Mrs. Micheline Calmy-Rey, President of the Swiss Confederation.

Before the interview, Dr. Liu asked many Swiss friends for their opinions on President Calmy-Rey. Almost all believe she is a statesman with a far sight and well-founded policies, and Dr. Philipp Käser, a Senior Post-doctoral Assistant to Prof. Andreas Scherer of the University of Zurich, agrees with the view that as the only female member of the 7-person Federal Council, Mrs. Calmy-Ray breathed a fresh air into Swiss politics.

To have a taste and test of this “freshness”, you may need to read through the following interview Q & As:

Editor: Despite the apparent differences between China and Switzerland in many aspects, the relations between the two countries have sustained the test of time. How do you evaluate the current Sino-Swiss relationship?

President: Switzerland was one of the first Western countries to recognize the People's Republic of China, on 17th January 1950. Although our political relations have not been very intense in the first decades of the People's Republic of China, political contacts have dramatically intensified since the launching of the reform and opening policy by late Deng Xiaoping.

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