Along with political mutual trust and trade links, cultural exchanges have become another pillar supporting China-UK relations, and the two governments have established special mechanisms to boost such exchanges. President Xi Jinping’s upcoming visit to the UK is expected to create an opportunity to upgrade the two countries’ cultural exchanges, marking a highlight of the first China-Britain Cultural Exchange Year, this year.
There are now 29 Confucius Institutes in Britain, more than in any other EU country. These institutes have helped British people gain a better understanding of China and students there look forward to the development of Britain-China ties.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to arrive in the United Kingdom on Monday. Xi Jinping’s predecessor Hu Jintao visited the UK ten years ago. The trip is set to start a ‘golden age’ of China-UK relations, and create a better trade climate in Europe.
Big deals will be signed during the visit. Beneficial areas would cover high-speed railways, nuclear power and finance. China’s Ministry of Commerce assistant minister hopes they will push forward with the China-EU free trade deal.
2015 is an important year for UK-China relations with the launch of the first UK-China Year of Cultural Exchange. Following the UK-China Summit in London last June, the 2015 UK- China Year of Cultural Exchange showcases the very best of British culture in China and of Chinese culture in the UK.
This exchange was formally announced when Premier Li Keqiang visited the UK in June 2014 and comprises two phases. The UK season in China runs from March to July and is led by the Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy and the Chinese season in the UK is led by the Chinese Ministry of Culture and runs in the second half of the year.
The British Prime Minister’s visit to China in December 2013, the High Level UK-China People to People Dialogue in Beijing in April 2014 and the UK-China Summit in June 2014 all demonstrate the growing strength of UK-China relations with creativity and cultural exchange as a central theme.
The 2015 UK-China Year of Cultural Exchange provides an opportunity to strengthen existing relationships and build new links between individuals, organisations and governments in the arts and creative industries.