On December 12, H.E. Mme. Ambassador Fu Ying attended the cocktail party for the signing of the Detailed Implementation Rules for the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)on the Facilitation of Legitimate Travel and Cooperation to Combat Illegal Immigration jointly held by UK Home Office and Foreign & Commonwealth Office. About 70 guests, including Liam Byune, Minister of State of Home Office, and Kim Howells, Minister of State of Foreign & Commonwealth Office, officials of the UK government and representatives of the overseas Chinese in UK, attended the party.
Byune and Howells denoted: people of the two countries had to cross oceans for exchanges in the past, there is convenient traffic and frequent exchanges between the two countries at present. The UK government supports the people of the two countries to strengthen their exchanges and welcomes the Chinese to come to UK through legal channels. China is going through a great rejuvenation and has made amazing achievements in its construction. In such a context, the exchanges and cooperation between UK and China in such fields as personnel, education, science and technology are continuously increasing and the mutual trust and understanding between the two peoples are also improving. The Chinese associations in UK made great contributions to the social development of UK and Sino-UK exchanges. The signing of the MOU and the Detailed Implementation Rules indicates the resolution of both countries to further promote the legal personnel exchanges and combat the illegal immigration, is helpful to promoting the normal exchanges of the two peoples, and will bring new energy to the bilateral relationship. UK Home Office is willing to promote the execution of the Detailed Implementation Rules together with its Chinese counterpart.
Fu Ying denoted: the Chinese government attaches great importance to the development of the Sino-UK relationship, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi made a successful visit to UK not long ago and reached important consensus with the UK side in a lot of issues. Lou Jiwei, Chairman of China Investment Corp., chose UK as the destination of his first overseas travel and his visit was welcomed by all walks of UK. These facts reflect the good momentum of the Sino-UK relationship.
Fu Ying said: 219,000 Chinese tourists came to UK last year, with a 19% increase over the year before last year, the rate is higher than the increase rate of the number of Chinese tourists to other European countries in the same period. Chinese tourists are everywhere in the Oxford Street and London scenes and they create new business opportunities for UK. The managers of Edinburgh Castle denoted that the castle was hard to maintain its operation in winter without Chinese tourists. But Chinese tourists also feel a lot inconveniences in UK, for example, there is no Chinese instructions in many public places and tourism facilities and they can not watch Chinese TV programmes. UK is still lagged behind by such countries as France in these aspects. UK is the first choice of Chinese overseas students and nearly 10,000 Chinese students come to UK every year, UK institutions may adopt more convenient measures for them. 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and 2012 London Olympic Games will further promote the personnel exchanges of the two countries.
Fu Ying denoted: the illegal immigration is an issue of common concern to the international community; China has become a destination of the illegal immigrants, is facing many new problems in dealing with the illegal immigrants, and has learned a lot useful experiences from UK. The Chinese government is strongly against all kinds of illegal immigration and takes comprehensive measures to address the issue, including: continuously improving the living standard of the people; strengthening the education to the public on legal ruling; severely combating such criminals of organized illegal smuggling of persons as "ringleaders"; and deepening the cooperation with relevant countries on the policies, information and enforcement related to the immigration issue. We hope relevant parties could treat the persons involved with humanitarian manners and safeguard their legal rights and interest. In combating the illegal immigration in accordance with law, the disadvantageous influences to the legal immigrants and the vibration to the social and economic life and the bilateral relationship should be avoided.
Fu Ying pointed out: the signing of the MOU and the Detailed Implementation Rules indicates that UK leads other western countries in its cooperation with China in the immigration affairs and indicates the great attention of China to UK and relevant Sino-UK cooperation. It is hoped that the competent departments of both sides could further strengthen the exchanges, learn from and cooperate with each other, and promote the complete and successful execution of the agreement.
In May 2004, China and UK signed the Memorandum of Understanding on the Facilitation of Legitimate Travel and Cooperation to Combat Illegal Immigration in Beijing and laid the foundation for both sides to strengthen the cooperation in the immigration affairs. In order to implement the MOU and with the joint endeavour of both sides, China and UK signed the Detailed Implementation Rules for the Memorandum of Understanding on the Facilitation of Legitimate Travel and Cooperation to Combat Illegal Immigration, which stipulates: China and UK will mutual grant the visa exemption treatment to the holders of diplomatic passports and some holders of the official passports, grant multiple visas of 12 months to business visitors and multiple visas longer than 6 months for overseas students, set up the express visa application channel for visitors with humanitarian causes, make jointly efforts to cooperatively combat international illegal smuggling of persons, and speed up the solution of the illegal immigration issue.