|A Day at Conservative Party's Constituency|
On November 13, Ambassador Fu Ying was invited to visit Witney Oxfordshire, the constituency of Conservative Party leader David Cameron. This was the first visit that Cameron had made with an invited Foreign Ambassador as his company on his constituency visit and Ambassador Fu Ying’s second visit to a British constituency.
In the morning, Cameron and Fu Ying visited Kingam Hill School, a private school with one hundred years of history. Previously a charity school for children from impoverished families, it is now a boarding and day school with 260 on-campus students. Accompanied by the school headmaster, they met students from the high-school section and answered their questions.
At Students’ Rest Room of Kingam Hill School
Cameron answered questions such as what he regrets most since becoming the Party leader, his administration targets if becoming the Prime Minister, the possibility of Britain joining the Eurozone, and the Conservative Party’s position on the Afghan War.
Cameron said, what he regrets most is that he failed to define the reform targets of the Party earlier. The Party has held on to its core values centred on family and market since the Thatcher time. However, it has been slow in absorbing female members of the Parliaments and assisting immigrants in community integration. If he takes office, he will first tackle economic challenges such as fiscal deficits and unemployment, and address social tumors such as family break-ups, drugs and crime. Neither now nor in the future should Britain apply Euro, which will deprive the country of its independence in monetary policy and is against its interest. The Conservative Party will be more focused on responding to the challenges of the Afghan War, including setting up a wartime cabinet and providing more equipments to the army. It stands for dispatching additional forces in the short run to assist the Afghans in their military training before gradual withdrawal.
At Kingam Hill School Library
Students also raised many questions to Fu Ying. For instance, how could China sustain its communist political system while adopting capitalist economic system? Why should China keep death penalty? A student from China was interested in whether the Chinese government will provide more assistance to the Chinese exchange students such as scholarships.
Fu Ying gave detailed answers one by one. She said, for some, Communism is a KGB spy knocking at the door midnight. In reality, what was practiced in the former East European countries was not communism. Communism is the higher stage of socialism when one gets what one needs. Socialism, however, is a society where one contributes what one can. China is still distance away from fulfilling the ideal of socialism. It is in the primary stage of socialism and will remain so for a long time to come.
Fu Ying briefed the audience on the transformation of China’s political system since the 1911 Democratic Revolution. She said, China had tried different models and copied practices from other countries from parliamentary democracy to the political system of former Soviet Union. But none of them worked. Ultimately it chose the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics that fits its own national conditions and achieved remarkable success across political, economic and social areas. Fu Ying mentioned what China has achieved in the development of grass root democracy and explained China’s practice and reform measures on the application of death penalty. She pointed out that conditions were not ready for the abolishment of death penalty in China but application will be strictly restricted by law. Fu Ying gave a brief picture of Chinese overseas students and assistance and incentives from the government, including offering governmental scholarships to students with distinctive academic results.
At the end of her remarks, Fu Ying announced that the embassy is setting up a scholarship for Kingam Hill School that offers one-year study in China starting from next year. Fu’s remarks were warmly applauded. Cameron said to the students, it was a rare opportunity for them to listen to Chinese ambassador directly. To understand what China perceives on these issues is highly important. He hoped that they can keep in mind these words.
At noon, Cameron and Fu Ying drove to a primary school nearby to experience its nutrition meal. They visited classrooms and cafeteria and enjoyed lunch with teachers and students there.
At a Classroom of Holy Trinity Catholic Primary School
After lunch, Fu Ying joined Cameron in the Surgery, a unique British event where a Parliamentarian meets his selected constituencies. The constituencies spoke of their difficulties in life including a litigation case at the EU institution and the absence of exercising facilities for handicapped children within their communities. Cameron gave his advice right away and helped the two of them write letters to authorities concerned.
Joining Cameron in His Meeting with Constituencies
In the afternoon, they jointly attended the Silver Tourism Award that Cameron issued to the Blenheim Palace. The Duke of Marlborough welcomed the guests and drove them around. When arriving at the hill of the Blenheim Palace, Cameron took a shovel and planted a tree as the symbol of cultural heritage. He invited Fu Ying to reinforce the earth, saying that this is a China-UK friendship tree and he will invite Chinese leaders to come and visit. His words were echoed by the laughing people around.
Planting China-UK Friendship Tree
After the afternoon tea, Fu Ying said farewell to Cameron and the Duke of Marlborough and concluded this interesting but meaningful visit.