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Ambassador Fu Ying on "China's Post-Olympic Relations with the West"

 It was raining in the evening of October 20 yet nearly 200 people from the British Government, Parliament, think tanks, media, business, universities and foreign diplomatic corps came to the new auditorium of Chatham House to listen to Ambassador Fu Ying's speech on "China's Post-Olympic Relations with the West".

 Fu Ying first talked about her feeling when attending the Closing Ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games in Beijing. She said that young people in China asked as early as 1908 when London was hosting the Olympic Games when it would be China's turn. The country had traveled a tortuous journey of a century when the Olympic flame went out in Beijing.

The success of the Beijing Olympic Games was also the result of 30 years reform and opening-up in China. The Games showed the world in all directions today's China and won applause and praise for China. But many people in the West were also asking: Where would China go after the Games? Would it be more assertive as it became stronger?

mentioned the gap in understanding about China's strength. In the Western people were widely of the view that it was undeniable that China had emerged as a global power and they had increasingly higher expectations on the role that China was going to play. However 80% of the Chinese people did not think that China was a world power. Its per capita GDP was still low, only 1/20 of that of Britain's. Gap between regions, rural and urban areas were still distinct. Industrialization and urbanization only took off. China was faced with serious challenges every day.

Fu Ying said that the Olympic Games brought China and the West closer in their understanding about each other. But the Games had not changed the basic facts in China, nor did it change misunderstanding about China and deeper divergence between China and the West in their relations. Their common challenge after the Games was how to build a better and more mature relationship of equality and cooperation on the basis of enhanced understanding and trust.

Fu Ying said that over the past 30 years of reform and opening-up China had achieved rapid development through peaceful cooperation, mutual benefit and win-win with the rest of the world. Interdependence was one of the most salient features of the relations between China and the West. The past 30 years was a time of both China's opening to the West and its learning from the West and others. Such learning was not mechanic copying but rather drawing upon useful things according to its needs and situation. China could not develop itself according to what the West wanted. Its mutual understanding and acknowledgement with the West would be a long-term process.

Fu Ying continued to point out that China's road to strength was definitely a peaceful road. It would handle its relations with the rest of the world through cooperative means. It would remain an important force for peace even when it became stronger. China had never waived in reform and opening-up. Its constant development would surely come with great interaction with the world. This was the best answer to the question on China's further direction after the Olympic Games.

Fu Ying also introduced the implications of the world financial crisis on China's economy and the role China was to play. She stressed that constant and sound economic development was China's biggest contribution to the world. China had kept close coordination and contact with the Western countries including US and UK and cut interest rates simultaneously. The recently closed 3rd Plenary Session of the 17th Party Congress made important plan for deepening agricultural and rural reforms. China was a responsible country. It would continue to play an active role in the crisis.

Fu Ying also answered questions on gap of values between China and the West, human rights, Tibet, China's development concept and its role in the financial crisis and the understanding of each other. The speech was interactive. The audience awarded Fu Ying with applause and laughers. Many of them thought the speech well-made and enhanced their understanding on China's road after the Olympic Games and how it reacted to the current financial crisis. Many of them queued to have further exchange with Fu Ying afterwards.