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BBC One Interview with H.E. Fu Ying, Chinese Ambassador to the UK:China Comes for Cooperation
2009/05/18

 

On Sunday 29 March 2009, Andrew Marr from BBC One had a face-to-face interview with Ambassador Fu Ying, who spoke on China's perspective and expectation on the London Summit. Earlier interviewed were Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia, Dmitry Medvedev, President of Russia (video) and David Miliband, Foreign Secretary of UK. Transcript of the interview with Fu Ying is as followed:

Marr: Now the Chinese President also hasn't met President Obama, and that'll be another important meeting at this G20. The Chinese economy is so vast. Some observers have declared that only two countries really matter this week: Obama's America and China. The Economist magazine said it's not the G20 we should be worried about, it's the G2.

 

Well, the Chinese Ambassador to London, Madam Fu Ying, is here with me. Good morning, Ambassador.

 

Fu Ying: Good morning.

 

Marr: Welcome.

 

Fu Ying: Thank you.

 

Marr: Do you expect there to be a specific deal at the G20 when it comes to a fiscal boost for the world, something that we haven't heard before?

 

Fu Ying: Thank you for having me here, Andrew. The London Summit is very important. I'm sure the leaders who come here all have an objective to bring the summit a success and they are bound to have an agreement about how they speak in one voice to the world and how to tell the world that they are going to stimulate the economy, boost the market, restore the confidence, help people in difficult situations and continue to provide aid to the poor countries. Although they may not be able to fix the whole thing in one day, it still will be an important process in the global effort to tackle the crisis.

 

Marr: If there is one country in the world which has still got money, big amounts of money to spend if it chose to, it's China. And people have speculated about China deciding to build a Western style health service or a welfare system or something really big. Could we see that coming out or being announced at this conference?

Fu Ying: I think that we in China feel very flattered, over flattered (Marr laughs) when we were given all these big hats of being rich, being wealthy, and having huge reserves.

And also there is a misunderstanding of the reserves in China. The reserves are not the money of the Government. The Premier cannot write a cheque on it. It's the money that the Chinese people and the Chinese businesses left in safekeeping of the Central Bank, and the Central Bank has to look after them and take good care of them. And the reserves, the size is big. But if you remember, there are 1.3 billion people in China and when you divide with that number, it comes to a very small number. It's about £1,000. So people should remember that China indeed is still a developing country and our per capita GDP is only over ($) 3,000, although we are number three in the world in aggregate terms.

 

Marr: So people shouldn't be looking for a big extra spending boost from China?

 

FU YING: For spending boost, I think the Government in China has realised that this is hitting China hard. Although it's not hitting the banks - our banks are fairly well regulated - yet it's hitting the people, the families. The migrant workers have lost jobs because the factories which have been producing for export are closing down.

 

So the Government moved very fast to come up with a huge stimulus package of RMB 4,000 billion, most of which will go into infrastructure, rural development, public health, education, and ecologically-related projects. The Premier announced that he is ready to come up with more if we have to, which means we are running the largest fiscal deficit we've ever seen in 20 years.

 

Marr: Now you would like China obviously to take a bigger role at organizations like the IMF? Is it accurately reported that you'd like to see an end to the dollar as the world's reserve currency?

 

FU YING: There are two parts of the question. On IMF, China is fulfilling its quota in the IMF, which is under 4%, but if people want China to contribute more, we hope there is going to be a reform to increase our quota. We'll be happy to do more.

 

Marr: So your voting power in effect, yeah?

 

Fu Ying: That's right. And we also announced the Vice Premier wrote an article to The Times that we will take an open attitude if the IMF is looking for alternative contributions, and maybe if IMF issues a bond we'll see how good it is and we'll see if we can contribute.

 

Marr: And on the dollar?

 

FU YING: Talking about the dollar, there has been a very interesting debate about the reserve currency and the replacement of it, and this topic has become very hot on the Chinese web at this moment too. But it has been a long debate in the world. There is nothing new. And China is not calling for a replacement. There is an article written by the Governor of the Central Bank on his bank's website and I think he is joining the debate. It's natural that China is having a debate of this type because we're experiencing a global crisis we've never seen. People are asking questions. We are trying to understand the situation.

Marr: Sure. You face of course many questions about human rights in China. If China is going to become part of this global system and there's much more transparency in banking and so on, do you accept the assumption that it's going to be impossible and wrong for China to carry on screening newspapers, screening the Internet, censoring news from outside? That you're going to have to be part of an open system in every way?

Fu Ying: Andrew, I have to say that we in China often find it arrogant for the West to think that the human rights development in China has to be taken care of by the West, an assumption that you have a supreme, superior system everybody has to copy from you.

Marr: That sounds like a no to me. Is it Ambassador?

FU YING: I think it's important that we have an equal dialogue on human rights and also acknowledgement and acceptance that China has made huge progress regarding human rights. And as far as the open society is concerned, China has become a very lively and open society, and everybody who has been in China has seen it.

Marr: Ambassador, thank you very much indeed for joining us this morning.

Fu Ying: Thank you.

 

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