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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the Opening Ceremony of the Exhibition "China's First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors" at the World Museum of Liverpool: Pass on the Torch of Civilization to Realize the Dream for the Future
World Museum, Liverpool, the UK, 8 February 2018

Lord Lieutenant Mark Blundell,

Parliamentary Under Secretary Michael Ellis,

Lord mayor Malcolm Kennedy,

Sir David Henshaw,

Vice Governor Wei Zengjun,

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Good afternoon!

It is a real delight to join you at the famous World Museum of Liverpool to open the exhibition "China's First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors".

The terracotta warriors are China's national treasures. They are also the Eighth Wonder of the World.

This is not their first visit to Britain. Eleven years ago in 2007, the British Museum hosted them. "The First Emperor: China's Terracotta Army" attracted 850 thousand visitors and was a resounding success.

Now, once again, these ancient warriors have come through thousands of years and crossed boundless oceans to reach the shores of the British Isles. This exhibition is a definite highlight of the cultural and people-to-people links between China and the UK in 2018.

Please allow me to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone from both our countries who have worked so hard for so long to make this exhibition possible.

I believe this exhibition is well-timed and significant in the following three ways.

First, this exhibition serves as a bridge of understanding and friendship in the "Golden Era" of China-UK relations.

Last week, I had the honour to accompany Prime Minister May on her first official visit to China.

During this visit, the leaders of our two countries reached important agreement on exchanges and cooperation across the board. This has injected new impetus to China-UK cultural and people-to-people exchanges.

In their meeting, the Prime Minister specifically mentioned to President Xi this exhibition in Liverpool. Why is it? I think the reason is more than that Liverpool is the hometown of Mr. May.

  • Being a culturally diverse and vibrant city, Liverpool is well known as European Capital of Culture.
  • Liverpool's historic connection with China has given the city the oldest Chinese community in Europe.
  • It is also home to one of the favorite British universities for Chinese students - the University of Liverpool.

I am sure this exhibition of terracotta warriors will be a good opportunity for Liverpool to continue its special connection with China. With this connection, Liverpool will play a unique role in advancing cultural and people-to-people links between China and the UK, which is key to understanding and friendship between the people of our two countries.

Second, this exhibition is a vivid lesson on Chinese history.

Of the four ancient civilizations in the world, the Chinese civilization has the longest continuous history of 5,000 years. One important reason for this is that China has basically remained a united nation.

The First Emperor of Qin Dynasty, who ordered the creation of the terracotta army, brought different ethnic groups under a united China in 221 BC.

Since then, the yearning for unity and stability, and the pursuit of peace and prosperity have been deep in the vein of generations of Chinese nation.

Today, the best expression of this aspiration is the blueprint for China's future development outlined at the 19th Party Congress last October.

According to the blueprint,

  • China will strive to achieve peaceful reunification of the country.
  • China will work for a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation.
  • China will join hands with other countries to build a community with a shared future for mankind.

These goals reflect China's determination to carry forward our fine heritage.

I hope the exhibition of the terracotta warriors will offer a glimpse into the Chinese history and heritage. As you appreciate the charm of ancient China, I hope you could have a deeper understanding of the Chinese philosophy and civilization.

Third, this exhibition isn't just about history. It opens a window on today's Belt and Road Initiative.

The terracotta warriors were unearthed in Xi'an, the current name for Chang'an, which was the eastern starting point of the ancient Silk Road.

The relics from the past remind us of the glory of the ancient Silk Road. Their display here in Liverpool, thousands of miles away from home, is a fresh testament to the vitality of the new Silk Road.

This new Silk Road opened under the Belt and Road Initiative has become a source of driving force for the development of countries from Asia to Europe. It has also created new opportunities for the whole world.

  • Since this Initiative was proposed four years ago, China has invested over 50 billion dollars in countries along the route.
  • Chinese companies have set up 56 economic and trade cooperation zones in over 20 countries.
  • This has generated some 1.1 billion dollars of tax revenue and created 200 thousand jobs locally.

China at the eastern end of the Belt and Road, and the UK at the western end should seize the new opportunities created by this Initiative. Together, we could harvest more "golden fruits" for China-UK "Golden Era".

Ladies and Gentlemen,

China and the UK are both great nations. We both have time-honoured history and splendid culture.

The great people of our two countries are in persistent pursuit of self-improvement.

President Xi proposed the Chinese Dream, and Prime Minister May expounded a lot on the British Dream.

  • Both dreams see the development of our respective countries in the larger picture of global development.
  • Both align our national dreams with the world dream of peace and development.

John Lennon, who was born in this city, once said, "A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality."

If we draw strength from our splendid past, we can write a glorious chapter of the future.

If we dream together the World Dream of a community with a shared future, we can make it a reality.

In eight days time, it will be the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Dog. In Chinese culture, dog stands for loyalty, courage, diligence and good fortune.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you good fortune in the Year of the Dog!

I wish all your dreams come true!

In conclusion, I wish the exhibition "China's First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors" a complete success!

Thank you!

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