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Keynote Speech at CCBC Calgary Chapter by Ambassador Lu Shaye
2017/05/19

Ms. Sarah Hoffman, Deputy Premier of Alberta,

Mr. Graham Shantz, President of Canada China Business Council,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

It is my great pleasure to be here in Calgary and attend the luncheon held by the Canada China Business Council. Previously, I have been to Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, and joined the luncheons hosted by other local chapters of CCBC.

For just two months since I assumed the post of Chinese Ambassador to Canada, I have visited four most representative provinces and cities in this Country from east to west. Personally, I like this fast-paced work, which gives me the opportunities to meet people from local governments, business, media and Chinese community and learn more about Canada in a short period of time. One of my deep impressions is that people across Canada have great enthusiasm in developing relations with China and promoting pragmatic cooperation between the two countries. It’s really inspiring to me. I would like to join hands with you to push our bilateral relations to a new height.

Alberta is a major province of energy and agriculture in Canada, and has been at the forefront of the provinces and regions of this country in cooperation with China over the years. Last month, Premier Rachel Notley visited China as her first trip to Asia. The Premier had in-depth discussions with the Chinese side on strengthening Alberta’s economic and trade cooperaton with China and signed important agreements. Alberta also established a sister-province relationship with Guangdong province, the largest provincial economy in China. Her visit will certainly promote the cooperation between the two countries along a fast track.

In fact, China has been the second largest trading partner of Alberta in recent years. Alberta is also the largest recipient of investment from Chinese enterprises. China National Offshore Oil Corporation, China National Petroleum Corporation, China Petrochemical Corporation and other Chinese-funded enterprises have been the important cooperative partners of Alberta in energy industry. China and Alberta have also carried out sound cooperation in finance, clean energy, environmental protection, agriculture, and tourism. It is believed that Alberta will continue to be an important driving force in China-Canada cooperation.

The friendly cooperation between China and Alberta is an epitome of the comprehensive development of China-Canada relations. With the promotion of the leaders of our two countries, the bilateral relations are ushering in a new “Golden Era”. Dozens of cooperation results reached during the mutual visits between Chinese Premier and Canadian Prime Minister last year are being steadily implemented.

Last month, China and Canada launched the Economic and Financial Strategic Dialogue in Beijing, building a new platform for the two countries to discuss economic and trade cooperation from a strategic perspective. The two sides, at the working level, held the second round of exploratory discussions on China-Canada FTA in Ottawa and made positive progress, which will certainly lay an important foundation for the early negotiation and signing of the FTA.

Dear Friends,

Four days ago, the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was successfully held in Beijing. The "Belt and Road" is the abbreviation for the "Silk Road Economic Belt" and the "21st-Century Maritime Silk Road". Since proposed in 2013, the "Belt and Road" Initiative has been supported and participated by an increasing number of countries and international organizations. The vision of the "Belt and Road" Initiative is becoming a reality and bearing rich fruit.

These four years have seen deepened policy connectivity, enhanced infrastructure connectivity, increased trade connectivity, expanded financial connectivity, strengthened people-to-people connectivity between China and other "Belt and Road" countries. We have reaped lots of early harvest. A large number of major infrastructure projects such as railways, ports and pipelines are under construction. In 2014-2016, total trade between China and other "Belt and Road" countries has exceeded US$3 trillion, and China's investment in these countries has surpassed US$50 billion. Chinese companies have set up 56 economic cooperation zones in over 20 countries, generating 180,000 jobs for them. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has provided US$1.7 billion of loans for 9 projects in "Belt and Road" participating countries. China’s “Silk Road Fund” has made US$4 billion of investment. Every year, the Chinese government provides 10,000 government scholarships to the relevant countries. China's local governments have also set up special Silk Road scholarships.

In this forum, President Xi Jinping on behalf of the Chinese government put forward new measures to advance the "Belt and Road" construction. China will contribute an additional RMB 100 billion to the “Silk Road Fund”. The China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China will set up special lending schemes respectively worth RMB 250 billion equivalent and RMB 130 billion equivalent to support “Belt and Road” cooperation on infrastructure, industrial capacity and financing. In the coming three years, China will provide assistance worth RMB 60 billion to developing countries and international organizations participating in the “Belt and Road” Initiative to launch more projects to improve people's well-being.

Canadian delegates also attend this important meeting. We welcome the Canadian side to actively participate in the "Belt and Road” construction, hoping that Canada will identify more business opportunities from it.

Dear friends,

With the rapid development, the economic and trade cooperation between China and Canada is getting more attention of Canadian people from all walks of life. The sound supporting the cooperation with China is clearer and the recent polls done by a Canadian thinktank also shows this trend.

Meanwhile, we heard some negative and biased voices as well. For example, some query China’s investment and worry China will buy out Canada. Some are concerned that Chinese state-owned enterprises are the “proxies” of the Chinese government, which would threaten Canada’s national security. Some oppose to signing free trade agreement with China in which they think Canada will suffer losses. And some even believe that China has no democracy and human rights, Canada should not give up its values just for the benefits from China.

Actually, the Canadian people I meet in the daily life are very friendly. They say hello to me when we encounter each other in streets or in parks, some even can speak some Chinese words. Those public opinions I referred to are all from the Canadian media, revealing deep prejudices and ignorance to China. I would not go further about these opinions as I have talked about and commented on them in my previous speeches. What I particularly would like to talk about today is the media in Canada.

Some time ago, a resident correspondent in China from a well-known Canadian newspaper wrote a report on China’s primary school textbooks. The report said there has been in China’s textbooks for several decades, a story about Thomas Edison, who helped the surgeon to save his mother. This story was based on a US movie Young Tom Edison produced in 1940s and had been proved to be a fabricated story. But China keeps on using it in its textbooks. Then the journalist drew a conclusion that China’s textbooks are packed with fabricated contents and the purpose is to strengthen the ideological education to youths and serve the political ends of Chinese government.

This report reflects the typical problems of reporting on China by some Canadian media and journalists.

Firstly, looking at China with prejudice. They observe, report and interpret China from their own inherent ideology. If China’s reality is not consistent with the set images in their minds, they would edit or even distort the things happened in China, instead of changing their views.

The purpose of putting Thomas Edison’s story into China’s textbooks is to cultivate Chinese children’s interests in science and inspire them to be virtuous persons, which has no difference from enlightening children with fairytales in western countries. However, China was put on such political labels by that correspondent. Not to mention that China takes a western child as an example with good faith. If the story about Edison was fabricated, it was not a fault of the Chinese people.

Secondly, ignoring the mainstream while focusing on the tributaries. China’s development witnesses progress with each passing day, its achievements have attracted worldwide attention and its people enjoy rich and colorful lives. But I have rarely seen such reports about China’s developemnt in Canada's media. Instead, what we see are almost negative reports about China.

We do not deny that there are problems and deficiencies concerning China's development, nor are we afraid of comments from outsiders. We even take well-intentioned criticism as an incentive to improve our work. What we oppose is sampling bias, magnifying shortcomings and presenting Canadian people with a fabricated image of China. Some scientists have once observed the face of a beauty queen under a microscope, and what they found was not the clear and smooth skin, but the dull skin like craters on the moon's surface. If you turn your back to the sun, you will just see your own shadow.

Even the Canadian people are fed up with some Canadian media and journalists’pride and prejudice. Recently I read an article written by a Canadian netizen that said the Cold War rhetoric about China of some Canadian journalists is too far from China’s reality, so that those who want a more honest portrayal of the fascinating changes taking place in China, and tales of the rapidly growing partnerships with Canadians, will need to find those stories beyond the mainstream Canadian media.

Media is the bridge connecting the peoples of our two countries. Since many Canadian people haven’t been to China, media is the main channel for them to learn about the country. If the reports on China are constantly distorted, how can Canadian people gain a true and full understanding of China? How can they get a favorable impression on China and support Canada’s cooperation with China? This frustrating situation ought to be changed.

Dear friends,

China-Canada cooperation is enjoying flourishing progress and I am confident of the promising prospects of the bilateral relations. I am willing to make joint efforts with you, people from all walks of life in Canada, seize the rare opportunity and overcome difficulties in a bid to promote China-Canada friendly relations to new highs and bring benefits to both countries and their peoples.

Last but not least, I would like to extend my gratitude again to CCBC for the efforts to arrange all the four luncheon meetings.

Thank you for your attention!

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