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The Chinese Embassy in London held Annual Icebreakers' Reception
2008/11/24

In the early winter night of 12 November the annual Icebreakers' Reception was held jointly by the Chinese Embassy in London and the 48 Group Club. Michael Ray Dibdin Heseltine, former Deputy Prime Minister, Stephen Perry, Chairman of the 48 Group Club, Lord Brittan, former Vice Chairman of the European Commission, Lord McNally of Blackpool, Leader of the Liberal Democratic Party in the House of Lords,Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach, member of the Economic Affairs Committee of the House of Lords, Lord Jones, Vice Chairman of the APPCG and other 200 guests attended the reception.

Ambassador Fu Ying first welcomed friends, old and new, from the 48 Group Club. She said that the year 2008 was tortuous for China, with both tears and joy. The 48 Group Club always stood by China with its firm commitment to China-UK relations and friendship between Chinese and British peoples at the difficult time of torch relay and Sichuan earthquakes. Fu Ying said that their understanding and support not only moved her and embassy staff but were also highly appreciated by China and the Chinese people.
Fu Ying said that this year was a year that also saw important changes in relations and understanding between China and the rest of the world. The world was talking about and expecting China to play the role of a major world power. But the Chinese people had different views on the international status and role of China. China's development was a gradual process of learning and suffering. This process would not be smooth. There would be many difficulties and challenges. China needed to listen to and understand what the world wanted. The world also needed to objectively and comprehensively understand China's situation and policy. China's population and areas were more than 20 times those of Britain but its per capita GDP, less than 1/20 of that of Britain, was behind the 100th in the world. And China's development between rural and urban areas and among regions was not balanced. Fu Ying hoped that the 48 Group Club would play its role of bridge and bond to help the world know more of China's diversity and promote understanding and cooperation between the people of China and Britain.
Fu Ying said that the relations between China and Britain took a winding course this year. The world financial crisis brought challenges as well as opportunities to the world. The best way to remember the Journey of Icebreakers 55 years ago was to carry forward the spirit of those Icebreakers and seize new opportunity to expand China-UK cooperation. The establishment of Young Icebreakers made us more confident in the future of China-UK relations.
Fu Ying said that the crisis was still spreading, President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Brown would join leaders of G-20 leaders in the Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy held in Washington on 15 November. The international community hoped that the leaders would pass on such positive signals of confidence, determination, partnership, solidarity and cooperation. The financial crisis had negative implications on the Chinese economy. The Chinese Government had therefore taken measures with RMB 4 trillion to promote the economy.Steady growth of the Chinese economy was important not only for China but also for the world. It could provide more business opportunity for British export and financial sector. Fu Ying expressed her hope that the 48 Group Club would work together with their Chinese counterparts to bring the bilateral relations up to a new high.
Later Fu Ying presented credentials to the winners of this year Icebreaker Awards and had photos taken with new honorary members.
Heseltine said that the 48 Group overcame tremendous difficulties 55 years ago and opened trade with China with admirable courage and insight. Such courage and insight were needed to approach crisis with confidence, rationality and practicality when the world financial market was facing many uncertainties. Stephen Perry said that the initial intention to create the 48 Group was to open trade with China and promote understanding of China. He and the 48 Group were optimistic about China's economic future.

Lord Brittan said that China's economic stimulus package was very impressive. It would help stabilize world financial and economic situation. The international community expected China to make greater contributions to restore market confidence and vitality. China's role in the world financial institutions should also be respected and enhanced.

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