Mr. Roly Keating,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am delighted to join you here at the British Library to mark the project "The British Library in China: connecting through culture and learning".
This project is not only one of the major cultural events between China and the UK that we have seen in recent years. It is also a key follow-up to last year's China-UK High-level People-to-People Dialogue.
A heavyweight component of this project is the exhibition entitled "Shakespeare to Sherlock: Treasures of the British Library". This exhibition will soon open in Beijing. Let me offer my warm congratulations!
This exhibition, "The British Library in China", is a record-breaking event. It has made three "first's".
This is the first time that the British Library sent its treasured collections to China. I just learnt from Mr. Keating that this is also the first time that the British Library sent so many of its collections overseas.
The original manuscripts and early printed copies of Shakespeare, Byron, Bronte and Dickens will be on display in China for the very first time. Chinese viewers are eagerly looking forward to this opportunity to appreciate the gems of British literature.
This is the first time that the treasures of the Chinese National Library and the collections of the British Library were on display side by side.
The Chinese masterpieces of translations, adaptations and literary critics, including the manuscripts of Mr. Zhu Shenghao's translation of Shakespeare's works, will all be part of the exhibition. This exhibition is a showcase of the history and achievements of China-UK people-to-people exchanges.
This is also the longest-lasting exhibition in China by the British Library that will visit more cities than before. It will stay in China for three years and tour Beijing, Shanghai, Wuzhen and Hong Kong. What a splendid cultural feast that transcends time and space and connects different countries and peoples!
The library is the treasure house of human wisdom. It is the temple of the development of civilization. The cooperation between the libraries of our two countries is an important part of China-UK cultural relations. It is also a vivid example of the exchanges and mutual learning between Chinese and western civilizations.
The theme of "The British Library in China" is connecting through culture and learning. What a perfect theme!
This project will enable us to share knowledge and admire the jewels of culture.
This project will also help us to deepen understanding, expand cooperation and strengthen friendship.
This year marks the 45th anniversary of China-UK ambassadorial diplomatic ties. It is a year to deepen China-UK relations in the "Golden Era". I hope and believe that the British Library exhibition will be a significant part of our commemorative activities.
Shakespeare once wrote, "A life without books is like a life without sunlight, and wisdom without books is like a wingless bird."
Li Kuchan, renowned Chinese art educator, also said this:
"A bird stretches its wings to fly high. A man reads books to be a better person."
With these words in mind, let me offer my sincere wishes to the exhibition "The British Library in China":
I wish this exhibition will give wings to the people-to-people exchanges and cultural cooperation between China and the UK.
I wish that on these wings of wisdom, such exchanges and cooperation will fly high and far in the brilliant sunlight of the "Golden Era" of China-UK relations.
And finally, I wish the exhibition a great success!