|Ambassador Fu Ying Called on Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis Sir Ian Blair|
The reception commencing the exhibition of the compiled British Illustrations was held in King's Library of British Museum in the evening of 30 May 2007. More than 300 persons from all walks of life in the UK were invited to the party.
In her speech, Ambassador Fu Ying introduced the provenance of the compiled British Illustrations, stated the story that British King George III sent the envoy Lord Macartney to give these books as one of the birthday presents to Emperor Qianlong of Qing Dynasty in 1793. Presenting the scenes of city buildings, scenery, palaces, gardens and warships at the end of 18th century with concise words and elegant pictures, these books can be rated as the Encyclopaedia Britannica at that time, which displayed the British development and appearance comprehensively.
Fu Ying pointed out King George III proposed to establish equal relations with China in the letter sent by the envoy for the purpose of carrying out trade with the oriental country, which proved unfruitful because of misunderstandings in many aspects, even ceaseless disputes in etiquette due to lack of understanding and difference in world outlook.
She noted that finding out this period of history will help us valuing the comprehensive friendship between China and Britain more. With close contact in the fields of trade, culture and education, etc., the Sino-UK relations are now the "best-ever" . Emperor Qin Shihuang's terra cotta warriors and horses will be exhibited in the Round Reading Room of the British Museum this September; the rich cultural and economic program "China Now" will be held through UK prior to Beijing Olympic Games.
The 16 volumes of the compiled British Illustrations, published by Xiamen International Book Center with the investment from Beijing Guangyun Anying International Cultural Investment Limited has high academic value and special historical significance, there is no complete collection in the UK. Ambassador Fu will present it to Her Majesty the Queen Elisabeth II along with the credentials so as to convey the friendly message of deepening the Sino-UK friendship and consolidating the bilateral relations.
Dr. Neil MacGregor, Director of British Museum mentioned the King's Library of British Museum was originally built for collecting and exhibiting the documents during King George III period, therefore, as the state gift presented by King George III to Chinese Emperor Qianlong of Qing Dynasty, it is appropriate to exhibit the compiled British Illustrations here. Returning the true replica of these books will write another much-told tale of Sino-UK friendship.
The compiled British Illustrations will be exhibited in King's Library of the British Museum from 30 May to 8 June. More British audiences will have the chance to appreciate this unique royal treasure in person.