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Speech by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming At the UK-China Media Forum

(9 January 2014)

President Liu Beixian,

Editor Hu Xijin,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a real pleasure for me to join friends from Chinese and British media at the UK-China Media Forum at the beginning of 2014.

Britain is rightly famous for its highly developed media industry.

Its multiplicity of news products and media brands have immense influence in the UK and across the world.

By comparison with Britain, the Chinese media sector is a late starter. But it has its unique advantages:

· First, it enjoys a vast market that comes from a large population of 1.3 billion.

· Second, it is growing at a stunning speed. In China, media, telecommunications and information technology are converging and interacting. New media is surging and scaling up. These developments have made China one of the world’s leading media countries.

· Third, the Chinese media sector has a rich culture as source of inspiration and a fountainhead for advance.

For all these factors, I have every reason to believe that Chinese and British media have enormous potential for co-operation.

In one recent interview, I commented that both China and Britain have long histories and proud civilizations. Our people have for centuries had a keen interest in each other and never ceased efforts to understand one another.

As we enter 2014 I believe that the mass of peoples of China and UK are moving on from simplistic and superficial understanding. There are now great efforts from both sides to search for deeper knowledge. I sense we share the desire for rediscovering each other.

As a result, in the eyes of the Chinese people, Britain is no longer reserved and conservative. Instead, it is creative and innovative. In turn, British people no longer see China as mysterious and obscure, but a modern and dynamic country with many exciting attractions.

Following these trends, a common task for Chinese and British media is to make full use of the changed perceptions. The aim is to translate our people’s enthusiasm and fresh knowledge of each other into engines driving forward China-UK relations. This is also the common historical mission of Chinese and British media. To this end I recommend you three ‘promotes’.

First, promote exchanges. China and Britain differ greatly in history, culture, development stage, and social system. Our mutual understanding still needs to be improved. As a saying goes:

‘Seeing is believing.’

As a means to disseminate information, the media’s job is to provide the public with unbiased news reports and accurate information. Therefore all media professionals have a genuine need to visit more places, meet more people and listen to more voices, including those of your colleagues in other countries. Otherwise, the coverage might be narrow and unsubstantiated. I have noted that some friends from British media traveled to China with stereotypical attitudes and returned with a fresh perspective. These updated perspectives and understandings have then led to welcome changes in their reports about China.

Second, promote understanding. Chinese and British media should report more about the history, culture, current reality and public opinion of each other’s country. I am glad that you have started to do so.

In recent years, British media have increased coverage on latest trends in Chinese society and daily life of ordinary Chinese. Such real-life stories have turned out to be popular with British audience because they can better understand today’s China.

At the same time, Chinese media’s reporting on Britain has never been so wide and full. Stories about the London Olympics, the Royal Wedding and Diamond Jubilee celebrations all made headlines in China and delighted Chinese audience. Reports about Britain filed by China News Service are often re-published by many other major news websites in China. I have specially taken note of articles in Global Times about historical anecdotes and customs in Britain. All these stories are both entertaining and salutary.

Third, promote co-operation. Both Chinese and British media have their own strengths. You have a lot to offer each other. British media leads the world in originality, technology, outlets and its management models. Chinese media is blessed with a huge market, abundant human resources and funds, as well as great potential. As far as I know, our two countries have already developed media products in collaboration. These include newspapers, magazines, books, TV programs and radio broadcasts.

I hope in the future our cooperation will be more substantial in content and take more diversified forms. I also hope that deepened cooperation between our media sectors will help strengthen mutual understanding, mutual trust and friendship between our peoples. In turn, this will ensure stronger public support for China-UK relations.

A good beginning makes a good ending. The UK-China Media Forum kicked off an excellent start for our media cooperation in 2014. I am confident that with concerted efforts, China-UK media cooperation will scale a new height.

In conclusion, I wish this forum a great success.

I also wish all of you a very successful ‘Year of the Horse’.

Thank you.

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