Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the Signing Ceremony of the Confucius Institute of Science and Technology Innovation at the University of Huddersfield: Keep to the Right Direction and Open up a Future of Win-Win Results
University of Huddersfield, 8 July 2019
Your Royal Highness The Duke of York,
Consul-General Zheng Xiyuan,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is real delight to be back at the University of Huddersfield after my last visit one year ago. Let me begin by extending my warmest congratulations to the East China University of Science and Technology and the University of Huddersfield on the opening of the Confucius Institute of Science and Technology Innovation!
I would also like to express my thanks to HRH The Duke of York and all those at the University of Huddersfield and East China University of Science and Technology for your care and support for China-UK education exchanges and cooperation.
The Confucius Institute of Science and Technology Innovation at the University of Huddersfield is the 30th Confucius Institute in the UK. Confucius said, “At 30, one has established himself.” It means that at the age of 30, one should be clear about the goal and direction in life.
This Confucius Institute is also the first one focused on science and technology innovation. Its opening marks the beginning of a new stage in China-UK cooperation on Confucius Institutes. This new stage has three features.
The first feature is science and technology innovation.
Both China and the UK are strong in science and technology innovation. Our two countries lead the world in both the number and influence of FinTech unicorns and AI companies. According to the Global Innovation Index 2018 by the World Intellectual Property Organisation, the UK is the fourth most innovative nation, and China is the only developing country that has made to the top 20.
Science and technology innovation is also one of the most promising areas of China-UK cooperation. Take for example the Pitch@Palace initiated by HRH The Duke of York. It is a flagship programme of China-UK science and technology innovation.
At the tenth China-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue, which was successfully held last month, our two sides agreed to take further steps to implement the China-UK Joint Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation. We also decided to enhance cooperation on agri-tech, healthy aging, civil nuclear energy and FinTech.
The second feature is the spirit of openness.
Education is not only about imparting knowledge. It is also the mission of education to uphold important values, including the value of openness. The University of Huddersfield and the East China University of Science and Technology are both practitioners and beneficiaries of the spirit of openness.
Globalisation has led to a highly interdependent and deeply integrated economic and trade system where the endowments and strengths of different countries are fully leveraged through market competition and selection. This is an irreversible trend. Only those with a global vision and willing to open up could seize this trend and embrace a brighter future.
As the world economy battles the headwinds of protectionism and unilateralism, it is all the more important that we uphold the spirit of openness and choose between “open cooperation” and “isolation” wisely.
The third feature is a close bond between the people.
In 2018, about 190,000 students were enrolled at the Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms in Britain, and more than 1.7 million people took part in a wide variety of cultural events hosted by the Confucius Institutes.
Today, I have another good news to announce: This year, the Chinese Government will offer scholarships to 20 students from the University of Huddersfield for short-term study in China.
I hope more British young students will choose to study in China so as to see the country with their own eyes and get to know the real China. By doing so, they will find in their heart a mission to enhance understanding and to build a closer bond between the people of our two countries.
Xin Qiji, a 12th century Chinese poet, wrote,
On wings of wind ’neath the boundless sky I fly,
Overlook mountains and rivers from above high.
For the Confucius Institute of Science and Technology Innovation at the University of Huddersfield, the boundless sky of China-UK friendly cooperation sets no limit. I sincerely hope that you will spread your wings, keep to the right direction and write a new chapter of better understanding, deeper trust and win-win cooperation between China and the UK!