Promote the Non-government Exchange and Enhance the People's Happy Life

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Wang Shaofeng, District Mayor of Xicheng District People's Government, Beijing

Respected leaders, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning!

We highly appreciate Beijing People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries for giving us this precious opportunity to hold 2013 Beijing International Non-governmental Friendship Forum. Now, on behalf of the joint sponsors of this forum, I would like to extend my warm welcome to the guests from afar and very happy to jointly explore the issues concerned. Today, the theme of my report is Promote the Non-government Exchange and Enhance the People's Happy Life.

I. International non-government exchange is the important bridge for deepening and promoting the friendship for the people of all countries.

China's nongovernmental foreign exchange boasts a long history. As early as Tang Dynasty, Jianzhen, the famous eminent monk, was fearless of dangers and difficulties, sailed eastward to Japan. Under the extreme bad conditions of blindness, he preached Buddhism theory and propagated the extensive and profound Chinese culture, promoted Japanese Buddhism, medical science, architecture and sculpture. He was respected by Chinese and Japanese people and the Buddhism circle.

International non-governmental exchange makes Chinese people learn about the world. An Italian, Matteo Ricci, came to China to preach Catholicism during Wanli period of the Ming Dynasty. He was the first western scholar to read Chinese culture and research the Chinese Classics. Apart from spreading the Catholicism doctrines, he also made acquaintance with Chinese officials and social celebrities and spread the western science and technology knowledge like astronomy, mathematics and geography. His experience made the westerners start to learn about China truly and opened a window for China to confront the world. In 1610, Matteo Ricci died. According to the then Chinese convention, foreigners should be buried in Macao after their death. However, the Chinese religious disciples presented a memorial to the emperor in honor of him for granting a piece of land to bury him in Beijing. Currently, the graveyard of Matteo Ricci is still located in the Beijing Municipal Party Committee Party School, Fuchengmen Gate, Xicheng District, with a long history of over 400 years.

The present nongovernmental exchange takes on new features. Currently, nongovernmental exchanges have overwhelmed all over the districts and social fields in the world, even with their own brands. In 2011, the first batch of "Beijing Family" folk customs reception was hung with the brand at Shichahai area, Xicheng District. During the Beijing Olympic Games, there were about 50 "Olympic Games Families" of folk-custom reception households. They treated a large number of Chinese and foreign visitors with the "Folk House features" like Hutong and Siheyuan. After that, Beijing Municipal Tourism Bureau started to construct "Beijing Family", gearing to common tourists to develop the Hutong feature family lodge industry at Wenbao Area by referring to the mode of "Olympic Games Families". This action was favored by the people from the world.

Foreign nongovernment exchanges boost the friendship. During the process of nongovernment exchange, many people become good friends. We still have a lot of memories. Today, taking the opportunity of this forum, I would like to express my appreciation as a citizen in Xicheng District to Mr. Cui Changzhi, the District Mayor of Central District, Seoul South Korea. In August 2013, Beijing Xicheng District Folk-Customs Exchange Team visited the Central District, Seoul. Although this was a routine student visiting team, Mr. Cui Changzhi, as District Mayor, still granted an interview to them cordially and had photos with students one by one, which made the students feel quite honored. During their visit in South Korea, a student named Zheng Tianyang suddenly felt uncomfortably. The staff of our South Korean counterparts accompanied him to go to a hospital for close physical check-up and looked after him carefully. Moreover, they paid the whole medical treatment fees. This kind of friendship like relatives moved Zheng Tianyang and the people of Beijing Xicheng District. There have been a great number of stories like this along the process of foreign exchange of Xicheng District.

II. Supporting and encouraging the international nongovernmental exchange is the important work of local government departments.

Considering Xicheng District as the capital core functional area, we have always been supportive and encouraging to foreign exchange, actively promoting foreign cooperation of all fields, creating conditions and convenience for nongovernmental exchange, thus effectively promoting the considerable development of international nongovernmental exchange.

Exchange of sister cities achieved abundant fruits. In recent years, Xicheng District has established sister city relationship with 13 cities and towns like Central District, Seoul, South Korea, Pasadena of America and Monte of Switzerland. Taking an example of Pasadena City, Ms. Lu Xiwen, former District Mayor, led the visiting group to visit Pasadena, signed the sister-city agreement formally and planted a Chinese scholar tree. In 2004, with a view to celebrating the five-year anniversary of sister-city establishment between Xicheng District and Pasadena, Xicheng District named the Street Center Park at Madian Street as Rose Garden. Mr. Bill Bogarde, the mayor of Pasadena, led the visiting group to visit China and unveiled the Rose Sculpture. An official of Pasadena specially brought roses from America to Plant in Beijing and jointly cultivated the roses with Xicheng People.

Actively organize and participate in exchange activities in variant fields. In recent years, Xicheng District organized and participated in over a dozen of activities, such as "City Sustainable Development Beijing Forum", "Beijing-Cologne Economic Trading Forum" successively, so as to intensify the exchange in the city and economy aspects. In 2012, taking the 20-year anniversary opportunity of Finance Street construction, we held series of financial street introducing activities centering on "Strengthening the District" Strategy, had talks with London financial city, signed agreement with Hesse-Darmstadt of Germany and invited many exchange delegation of sister cities to visit financial street, which expanded the development space for the financial street. We made great efforts to create international activity platform, hold Xidan Fashion Annual Meeting, hosted Beijing Maliandao International Tea Culture Festival and implemented trading negotiation and cooperation with the world well-known enterprises like Goldman Sachs and Galeries Lafayette Department Store Group. Moreover, we also actively renew our working route map, serve the cause of "Going Global" strategy, improve our service for enterprises for international business contact and guide the enterprises within the district to actively expand the international market.

Support the international cultural exchange in different ways. Launch the series activities of "Xicheng Cultural show in Sister City". These events have been hold in different cities in the U.S., Switzerland, South Korea and Australia and received unanimous compliments from the local government and the people and these people increased their learning and understanding to Xicheng District. There are outstanding students of literature and art talents in schools of Xicheng District. The students often go on tours to foreign countries to give shows and performances for the purposes of conducting exchanges. The Experimental Second Primary School Students once visited Edinburgh, Britain to put on a show of dancing drama Swan Lake, very original and creative campus fairy tale and won good praise and fame. We also hold Shichahai Cultural Tourism Festival and invited foreign folk literature and art performing teams to perform in Xicheng District. For example, Seoul Central District, South Korea has always been keeping close exchange with Xicheng district and dispatched several performing team to visit and exchange in Xicheng District including Juvenile Culture Exchange Team, which enable Xicheng District people closely to learn folk customs of South Korea and traditional music. In 2012, the America Philadelphia Orchestra was invited to China and performed at the National Performing Art Theater with the wind band of the Experimental Second Primary School at the stage. Their close interaction with the world-class orchestra impressed the primary students with unforgettable memory in their growing process undoubtedly.

Expand the talent-cultivating channels by relying on internationalization of education. Currently, over 50 middle schools and primary schools in Xicheng District have established sister schools relationship with over 300 schools in foreign countries. Thirty-three schools have the qualification of recruiting foreign teachers and sixteen schools have the qualification of enrolling foreign students. There are 9 schools as bases for international promotion of Chinese language in Xicheng District. Three Confucian Classes were founded abroad by Xicheng District. There are over 800 foreign students studying at Xicheng District Schools and over 50 foreign teachers teaching at Xicheng District Schools. The international exchange activities in Beijing Fourth Middle School, Yuetan High School, the 35th Middle School, Experimental Second Primary School, Beijing Primary School and Huangchenggen Primary School present the features of individuation, branding and high-end orientation.

III. Make great efforts to promote the international nongovernment exchange to bring benefit to the extensive masses.

The masses are not only the important participants of international nongovernment exchange, but also the largest beneficiaries of international nongovernment exchange. Within a period in the future, we will provide better service guarantee, create more channels and offer more convenience so as to further promote the nongovernment exchange in Xicheng District and make the people live happier.

Continue to intensify the exchange with the international sister cities. We will consider the features of Xicheng District, solicit the opinions of citizens, actively expand variant ways and establish sister cities. On the basis of 13 sister cities, we will expand the exchange in trade and tourism fields with the cities in North America, South America, Europe and southeastern Asian districts, perfect the pattern of sister cities and broaden the exchange channels and cooperation initiatives.

Actively develop multi-layered external connections. We will intensify the connections with the related national and Beijing authorities and organizations to expand the exchange and cooperation with international nongovernment organizations. We will intensify the daily communications with the foreign experts, consultants and diplomats in Beijing and make good use of the channels like consulates, sister cities and international friends to promote the regional nongovernment exchange.

Support nongovernment organization and cultural agents of Xicheng District for "going global". We will support the financial enterprises and international financial agencies stationed in Xicheng District to conduct exchanges and cooperation, expand the financial service businesses, and absorb the international financial agencies to station in the financial street, so as to construct an internationally influential financial center. Taking the platform of series activities of "Culture of Xicheng District, Travel in Sister City", we will organize the professionals from cultural enterprises and folk cultural teams to go global for performance and exhibition, so as to make the citizens to participate in the international exchange. We will support all kinds of social organizations to learn from the good practices and experience in service management of foreign cities and provide more excellent and professional daily service for the residents.

It can be described that the international nongovernment exchange is not only the booster of pushing forward the regional development, but also the important platform bring benefit to the extensive citizens. We will provide service guarantee for the nongovernment exchange as before, expand the exchange and cooperation with sister cities and contribute to make the citizens live happier and better.

Finally, I would like to wish a complete success of this forum.

Thank you.

Wang Shaofeng, District Mayor of Xicheng District People's Government, Beijing

November 14, 2013

 

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