|Understand a China of Diversity|
On November 26, Ambassador Fu Ying made a speech entitled Understanding a China with Diversity at the annual meeting of the Federation of Specialist Schools held in Birmingham. Among the 2,000 attendants were Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families Rt. Hon. Ed Balls, school headmasters and representatives from specialist schools across the world.
Fu Ying pointed out the absence of understanding between China and the West. She said, the West, in particular, fails to have sufficient means and wills to understand China. China has reached out by promoting Chinese language learning across the world and carrying out other forms of educational and cultural exchanges. The world is holding China’s hands, as 282 Confucius colleges and 241 Confucius classrooms were set up in 87 countries. Fu Ying said, she supports the Federation’s slogan of “providing access for all children that wish to learn Chinese” and hopes that the two countries can continue with educational exchange and cooperation to facilitate communication between the two peoples particularly the younger generation.
Fu Ying said, China’s role in the world has attracted worldwide attention. Although some see China as the next superpower, Chinese people see this view as “fooling China around”. The truth is China is a country of multiplicity and diversity. Like a kaleidoscope, it presents different pictures when seen from different perspectives.
Fu Ying said, China has made extraordinary success in education over the past few decades, leading the world in terms of speed and size. The objective of Education for All will soon be fulfilled. However, there are still severe challenges such as historic underdevelopment and imbalance. What is happening in education is a vivid epitome of what China is today.
Fu Ying said, China has increased its GDP by 14 folds in the past 30 years, lifting one quarter of the world population out of poverty. It is more open and dynamic. Its democracy-building has achieved sustained progress. At the same time, reform and open-up is not yet fully accomplished and development still encounters numerous challenges.
Fu Ying pointed out that the 30 years of China’s reform has been a period of learning from the world particularly the West. This was even so for the education industry. However, learning is not equivalent to mechanical copying from the West.
Fu Ying said, the role that China plays in the world needs to reflect the will of the Chinese people and meet both its unique historic, political and cultural traditions and the current reality. If becoming a power one day, China will be a power distinct from the Western powers. China will play its role to promote peace and cooperation in the world. China is convinced that all countries are equal, all issues should be resolved through dialogue and diversity must be respected.
Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families Balls said in his remarks, the two countries enjoy good momentum of educational exchange and cooperation. There has been frequent exchange of school visits. The 2012 London Olympics will inject new vitality to inter-school interaction. The UK government actively assists the promotion of Chinese language learning programme and an increasing number of British people are learning Chinese. The two countries should enhance educational cooperation and complement each other with respective advantages. This will help fully unleash the potential of the next generation and help them prevail in the competition of the 21st century.
Balls recognized the historic changes and remarkable success that China has witnessed in the past 30 years of reform and its growing international influence. He said, the issues raised by Ambassador Fu Ying deserve profound thinking by the British people particularly those in the education industry. The two sides should increase understanding and cooperation.
Attendants said Ambassador Fu Ying’s vivid and truthful presentation with abundant picture illustrations have provided them with a more comprehensive picture of China and more objective view of China’s status and role in the world. They are now more aware of the value of greater interaction between China and the West, and are ready to push for continuous progress of cooperation between the two countries on education and other areas.