Ambassador Fu Ying has led an extraordinary life: from her experience as a young girl, sent out to rural China as part of the Cultural Revolution
to her distinguished diplomatic
career, where she has been one of China’s most articulate messengers of the nation’s promise. And in this book of speeches, the reader will find an advanced understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing China and the rest of the world.
I firmly believe that to understand the world today, you have to understand the rapid pace of globalisation, its effects and China’s very significant place within it.
As I sit down to write this foreword, news reaches me that China has just become the second largest economy in the world. Unthinkable to many just a couple of decades ago. Yet, this news will no doubt feel dated by the time you pick up this book: that’s how fast events develop and breaking news becomes received wisdom.
When you understand this, you can reap the benefits of this rapid change. Fu Ying appreciates this and so too should leaders and nations across the globe.
Ambassador Fu has dedicated herself to introducing and opening up China to the rest of the world. And she does so equipped with a willingness to engage and learn from others alongside an acute awareness of the many lessons other nations can learn from China.
When I was Prime Minister, I could see the accelerating pace of China’s continued emergence as a major power. I gave speeches about China, I understood it analytically. But I did not feel it emotionally and therefore did not fully understand it politically.
Since leaving office I have visited many times. People ask me, sometimes out of fear, what the future holds in a world where power is shifting East. I see it as an enormous opportunity that can only enrich our own lives. Take the Beijing Olympics: that breathtaking showcase of what China is capable of was arguably 21st-century China’s greatest exercise of engagement with the outside world. Those Games were evidence of China’s willingness to open up and to move forward as part of our global community.
The moment of the Games that made the biggest impression on me came during an informal visit just before the Games to one of the new Chinese Internet companies, and in conversation with some of the younger Chinese entrepreneurs.
These people, men and women, were smart, sharp, forthright
, unafraid to express their views about China and its future. Above all, there was a confidence, an optimism, a lack of the cynical, and a presence of the spirit of get up and go, that reminded me greatly of the U.S. at its best and any country on its way forward.
These people weren’t living in fear, but looking forward in hope. And for all the millions still in poverty in China, for all the sweep of issues—political, social and economic—still to be addressed, that was the spirit of China during this festival of sport, and that is the spirit that will define its future.
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