She could feel Queen Elizabeth II's affection for China while
presenting her credentials to the monarch a couple of months ago.
It was evident in the queen's tone. "Her Royal Highness was very
impressed on her tour of China in 1986. She recalled discovering
that the expressions of each of the Terracotta Warriors was
different," says Fu Ying, China's ambassador to the United Kingdom.
The warriors in Xi'an were made to guard of the tomb of the first
Chinese Emperor Qinshihuang.
Fu presented something else with her credentials to the queen:
copies of British Illustrations from the Imperial Archives. "The
illustrations on 18th century Britain was that country's gift to
China in 1793 and Her Royal Highness liked it," Fu says.
Fu Ying with Sir
Anthony Figgis, HM Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps, at a banquet
after she presented her diplomatic credentials to Queen Elizabeth
II at Buckingham Palace on June 12.
But the warmth and affection didn't make Fu forget the
importance of her post and the challenges she faced, especially
because a "China fever" has gripped the UK. "From the queen to the
ordinary man, people from every walk of life want to know more
about China and its culture," she says.
That fever is expected to rise further with the opening of an
exhibition, "The First Emperor: China's Terracotta Army," in the
British Museum on September 13 when more than 200 artifacts and
about 20 original terracotta warriors will go on display. The
museum says the show will display "the largest number of terracotta
warriors outside China".
"People are falling over each other to book tickets on the
Internet or get them through other channels. They are in a race to
reserve the after-show evenings for China-related activities, too,"
China and the UK have had frequent and high-level cultural
exchanges. Spring Festival celebrations and parades in London have
been a huge success in the last two years. Fu says more than
300,000 people participated in the Spring Festival celebrations in
London's Trafalgar Square this year, and the number could reach
500,000 next year.
Moreover, London and other UK cities are planning to celebrate
all things Chinese again next year. The event will begin with the
Chinese Lunar new year and continue till the opening of the 2008
Beijing Olympic Games. To be called "China Now", the gala will have
700 programs on culture, arts, trade, science, sports and medicine
to help Britons get a comprehensive and objective view of modern
China. Beijing will send high-level leaders to take part in the
opening ceremony of "China Now", which is tipped to be the largest,
longest and highest-level China-UK cultural exchange.
Back at home, the just-concluded British Museum's touring
exhibition, "Britain Meets the World", in the Forbidden City was
warmly welcomed by the Chinese people.
Such events and exchanges are fine, but Fu knows she has to do
something more. She realizes new channels for economic and business
links have to be opened to develop "all-round strategic
partnership" between the two countries.
There will be more opportunities to strengthen bilateral ties
and promote mutual exchange, says Fu, referring to some forthcoming
events. Invitations to talk about Chinese history and culture,
which she gets occasionally, are just one example. "The historic
relationship among society, economy and culture in China is rare to
find in the rest of the world, and many foreign business people are
really interested in such topics."
But her focus will be on Chinese enterprises' investment in the
UK. Fu says the UK attracts about US$170 billion from leading
financial and service industries across the world every year
because of its favorable investment environment. Many Japanese and
South Korean companies have expanded across the globe from the UK
because it provided them with a perfect international platform.
British firms can help and advise their Chinese counterparts as
they look for state of the art technology and seek greener pastures
abroad, she says. Environmentally friendly technology to cut energy
consumption and reduce pollution, as well as to upgrade
manufacturing capabilities, is something that Chinese firms can do
It's true that trade between China and the UK is flourishing,
but it still lags behind that with Australia, where Fu was the
ambassador for four years before taking up her present post. The UK
holds only 1.5 percent of the Chinese market. And though China-UK
trade accounts for 11 percent of the total volume of China-EU
trade, the figure is less than half of that between China and
"Hence, there is great potential for us to work together with
the UK." There are strong complementary links between the two
countries, which are considering holding a high-level bilateral
trade and investment forum during Prime Minister Gordon Brown's
visit to China.
"I believe the forum will play a positive role in facilitating
information sharing, and take trade and economic cooperation
between the two countries to a higher level."
(China Daily August 10, 2007)