At the invitation of Oxford Union, Fu Ying, Chinese ambassador to UK, delivered a speech at Oxford University on the subject of whether China is a power on April 29, 2009. It is the first time a Chinese official has addressed the Union in 186 years.
While addressing the Union officers and members, ambassador Fu said that China, a country with 1.3 billion, smart, hard working and happy people is destined to be a strong country in the world. But China will not become hegemonic.
Ambassador Fu noted that the splendid Beijing Olympics are seen as marking China’s ascendance into a world power status. An international consensus is emerging that China is a world power. There is therefore a lot of scrutiny about the rights and wrongs in China and what China should and should not do. China is moving from the margin to the center of the world politics.
There are also some concerns about what kind of power China will become and whether China is going to impose its will upon others. A survey shows that some 80 percent of Chinese disagree that China has already achieved the status of a global power.
Ambassador Fu said that such a conclusion was based on the fact that China was both "big and small, strong and weak" summarized by late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, and it still remains true of today's China.
People outside China tend to see the big and strong aspects of China, while inside China, people are more aware of its weakness and challenges. Ambassador Fu cited statistics to illustration the two dimensions of China: China's GDP ascended to third place in the world in 2008, however, in per capita terms, UK's level is 15 times higher than China's; in terms of trade China is the third largest in the world while UK is No.8. However, UK services trade is No.2 in the world and China is just developing the services sector; with regard to foreign currency reserves, China has 30 times that of UK. But London is a global financial center with about 550 foreign banks and 170 international securities firms. Among the 500 companies in Europe, 100 set their headquarters in London; the UK is in a post industrial society and urban residents take up 90 percent of the population, while China is still in the early phase of industrialization and urbanization.
Ambassador Fu quoted premier Wen's remark that any small problem in China can grow into a huge one if multiplied by 1.3 billion, while a big achievement can become too tiny to notice once divided by that number. Chinese people hope to develop China into a country with prosperity, democracy and rule of law, and a country that works for peace and cooperation in the world.
Ambassador Fu also mentioned earth-shaking changes that have taken place since the founding of the PRC 60 years ago. China's pursuit of prosperity is enabling everyone to have a roof over the head, every child in school, the sick having access to medical care and the elderly taken care of. China has come this far not through war, but through hard work by its vast number of people and through fair trading with the world. The source of the strength of China is in its economy.
Meanwhile she also acknowledged that the prosperity is not evenly shared and there is still poverty in the countryside. China is confident that the trend of prosperity is going to continue and the people will be better off with each passing year.
As for democratic reform in China, ambassador Fu said she was happy with the country's steady progress in democratic decision making and the rule of law after having seen the anarchy of the Cultural Revolution in the 60s and the progress of reform. Take the role of the National People's Congress for example; it has assumed a very important role in China's political life. President Hu Jintao used the term democracy about 60 times because he wanted to emphasize its importance and was calling for greater effort to develop democracy in the Party and the government.
In diplomatic fields, ambassador Fu drew her personal involvement in the six-party talks in which China's role was to mediate between DPRK and the US. Ambassador Fu said that China could not support the DPRK going nuclear because it was not in the interest of peace in the region; and China did not agree with the US for regime change through military means, and China would only take part in a peace process.
Finally, Ambassador Fu said that she was confident that the parties would come back to the negotiating table. China's diplomatic objective is to promote peace and cooperation in the world, in which China can continue to prosper and its people can achieve a better life.
By People's Daily Online