On September 29, 2019, Mme Hou Danna, Chinese Consul General in Edinburgh, held a reception at the Sheraton Grand Hotel to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Around 300 guests attended the reception, including Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development of the Scottish Government, Ben Macpherson, Colin Beattie MSP, Lord Provost of Edinburgh Frank Ross, Provost of North Ayrshire Ian Clarkson, Provost of South Ayrshire Helen Moonie, Provost of East Lothian John McMillan, Provost of Midlothian Peter Smaill, Provost of East Dunbartonshire Alan Brown, Provost of East Renfrewshire Jim Fletcher, Provost of Clackmannanshire Tina Murphy, Convener of Scottish Borders Council David Parker, Chair of Asia-Scotland Institute David Birrell, Chair of Scotland China Association Janice Dickson, Chair of Scotland China Education Network Simon Macaulay and representatives from Scottish Government, Parliament, businesses, universities, cultural organizations, consular corps, Chinese communities, companies, students and other sectors.
The reception began with the play of the short videos produced by the Chinese Consulate General, introducing the achievements of China and fruitful cooperation between China and Scotland. Acting Consul General Hou Danna then delivered a keynote speech. She said that under the strong and correct leadership of the Communist Party of China, Chinese people have forged ahead as one in the last 70 years and made great strides that have truly impressed the world by virtue of the great strength of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and opening-up and reform. China transformed from an impoverished and backward country to the world second largest economy, the biggest industrial country and the largest trader in goods. China's GDP has grown from GBP in equivalent 7.7 billion to more than 10.26 trillion. China filed 1.38 million patent application in 2017, about the 40% of the total global volume, leading the world for the 7th consecutive year. China cut the illiteracy rate from 80% to 4.1%. China feeds 20% of the world population with 7% of the world arable lands, meeting the target of food self-sufficiency. The average life expectancy of Chinese people rose from 35 to 77. Social security network and health care cover 900 million and 1.3 billion citizens respectively. All ethnic groups in China now have the freedom of religious belief and human right like no one before.
She expressed that China is a contributor to the world development, a facilitator in the global peace, and the safeguard of international order. China plays a key role in promoting world economic growth, reducing poverty and tackling climate change. China has become the second largest contributor to the UN's regular and peacekeeping budgets. China is also the largest contributor of peacekeepers among the five permanent members of the Security Council. It has sent over 35 thousand peacekeepers to 24 UN peacekeeping missions, playing a vital part in keeping the world order. Over 160 countries and international organizations signed cooperation agreements comprising more than 550 concrete results with Chinese government after President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, achieving shared and win-win development.
She concluded that over the past few years China and Scotland has maintained close high-level and local governmental contacts. 6 cities in China and Scotland become sister cities. China has now become one of Scotland's major trade partners and sources of inward investment, bearing fruitful results. Cultural and people-to-people exchanges between us are flourishing, making Scotland one of Chinese tourist's favorite long-haul destination. The overall number of the Chinese students at Scottish universities exceeds 20 thousand. Chinese language becomes increasingly popular here as all 5 Confucius Institutes and 44 Confucius Classrooms grow sound and fast, covering more than 50 thousand Chinese learners including 40 thousand pupils.
Minister Macpherson extended sincere congratulations to the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC on behalf of the Scottish Government. He said that the profound friendship and special bond between peoples of China and Scotland have defied the passage of time to become even stronger. He emphasized some highlights of the people-to-people connections including a range of art, language, music and martial classes offered by the Chinese community in Edinburgh, Glasgow and other cities across Scotland to the local community, which enriched Scottish culture and society at large. Friendship, which derives from close contact between the people, holds the key to sound state-to-state relationship. Cultural and people-to-people exchanges between the two sides injected new impetus to cooperation in other areas including trade and investment, education and tourism. The Scottish Government spoke highly of remarkable achievements made by China for the past 7 decades. It would work to promote the links with China to a new high so as to engage in tackling climate change and other global issues.
Lord Provost Ross spoke on behalf of all city leaders of Scotland, congratulating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the PRC. He said that China and Scotland has maintained close local governmental contacts. Edinburgh and Shenzhen became sister city this year. The collaborations between Glasgow, South Ayrshire, Aberdeen, Dundee and Dalian, Beijing, to name a few, covering sci-tech, education, culture, energy and many other fields, making new progress. He hoped that both sides could build upon current success to deepen cooperation in economy, people-to-people exchanges, science, creative industry, sustainable development and so on.
The consulate put on photo exhibitions of the development of China in 70 years and Beautiful China, showing the documentary the Dream Seeker: China 2019, which is about the Chinese people's hard-working and unyielding spirit. The guests enjoyed delicious Chinese food and engaged with the promotion stands of the Confucius Institute and Chinese business, which introduced the friendly cooperation between China and Scotland in culture and economy.
The reception was filled with an atmosphere of celebration and friendship. The two songs My Motherland and I, Auld Lang Syne by Edinburgh Xin Yue Chorus took over the reception. The guests acclaimed the remarkable achievements made by China and its contribution to world peace and common development. It is hoped that the two sides will work together to promote the relationship.
Xinhuanet, CGTN, CRI, China Daily covered the reception.