Chinese young leaders strengthen China-UK links

0 CommentsPrint E-mail, October 21, 2010
Adjust font size:

Twenty high-powered Chinese officials attended a new three-month Chevening Young Leaders Training Programme there organised on behalf of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the All-China Youth Federation (ACYF). 

Speaking for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Charlotte Wills said the programme was an important new initiative in China-UK relations, the result of many months of preparation.

The Chevening programme, the first for a group from a single country, was tailor-made for leaders of the future selected by the Communist Youth League in Beijing. The Youth League, the original power base of Chinese President Hu Jintao, grooms high-calibre officials to take on senior political posts later in their careers, as well as organising youth activities throughout China. It manages its external relations through the ACYF.

The programme covered the Economics of Climate Change, Government relations with Civil Society and Reform, Regulation and Public Service Provision – areas in which the UK is keen to collaborate with China.

The Mayor presented the group with their graduation certificates at a reception to mark the end of the programme.

Bob Webb, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University, said the programme was unusual not only because it was delivered bilingually in English and Chinese, but also because it had integrated theory with practical briefings and some 25 field visits to UK organisations in government, civil society and the private sector, to provide the fellows with a solid understanding of the UK.

"How you make use of this knowledge is entirely up to you," he said in a closing speech. "China should and will find its own way forward. But hopefully some of the experiences we have shared with you will be of help to China in the future."

The delegation's leader, Ms WANG Lei, who is chief secretary of the Communist Youth League in Shandong province – home of 92 million people – said the programme had strengthened exchanges between the young people of China and the UK, and between youth leaders and policy-makers on both sides.

The group was briefed on the local government structure and policy issues by Nottingham City Council, and on regional economic development by the East Midlands Development Agency. During a one-week visit to London, the group visited the Houses of Parliament and attended briefings at the Cabinet Office and the FCO, as well as several civil society organisations, including the Prince's Trust.

The programme began in July at Nottingham's campus in Ningbo, near Shanghai, with a one-week course on the social and political history of the UK. This was followed by visits to the UK Pavilion at Shanghai World Expo 2010 and other British exhibits there. The delegates also attended a Nottingham University Energy Summer School in Nanjing and took part in an energy conference organised by the University at the Expo, before flying to the UK in mid-July.

The delegation included four vice-presidents of provincial Youth Federations, four presidents of youth federations of major Chinese cities, three division directors of central government or Communist Party organisations, a senior Chinese Trade Union official, two academics, three senior representatives of major Chinese businesses and a leading radio journalist.

Action plans drawn up by the Chevening fellows during the programme included projects to increase volunteering in Beijing and to enhance the role of youth organisations and companies in low-carbon environmental initiatives.

While in the UK they visited Eton College, Nottingham University Samworth Academy, a refuse incinerator generating combined heat and power, and the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham – one of Europe's largest teaching hospitals – where they saw a mental health unit and a children's ward.

Charlotte Wills said she looked forward to welcoming new groups from the ACYF to the UK in future. She thanked the three corporate sponsors – the British companies BP and Tesco and Hutchison Whampoa of Hong Kong – for their generous contributions towards the funding of the programme.

Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comments

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from