Remarks by Ambassador Gui Congyou at the Xinjiang Cultural Exhibition in Uppsala
Stockholm , 11 September 2020
Distinguished representatives of the cultural and business communities in Uppsala,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning! I am very glad to attend the Xinjiang Cultural Exhibition via video link. The exhibition, co-hosted by Nordic Chinese Times and Sweden-China Friendship Association in Uppsala, I believe, helps various quarters of Sweden to better understand Xinjiang and China, and promotes people-to-people exchanges and friendly cooperation between China and Sweden. I’d like to take this opportunity to communicate with you.
This exhibition is about getting to know the culture of Xinjiang and promoting China-Sweden cooperation. Indeed, cultural exchanges are an important part of China-Sweden friendly cooperation. Over 260 years ago, the Gothenburg ship sailed to China, and brought back tea, porcelain and silk, creating a Chinese culture fever in Sweden, and increased exchanges and mutual understanding between the Chinese and Swedish people. Swedish archeologist Sven Hedin discovered the ancient city of Loulan in Xinjiang, which is a milestone of archeology in modern history. The books he wrote, The Silk Road, Durch Asiens Wüsten among others, presented the hustle and bustle of the ancient Silk Road and the history of Xinjiang, which can help the outside world better understand the eastern civilization.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Chinese nation has a history of over 5000 years. All ethnic groups of China created the splendid Chinese culture together. The integrated development of the multicultural and multiethnic Chinese culture is an amazing source of development for China. There are over 50 ethnic groups in Xinjiang, making the region one with the most ethnic groups in China. In Xinjiang, ethnic groups have grown into a community where they grow together and share fortune and hardship together. It drives the development of ethnic cultures in Xinjiang, and promotes the development of the diversified Chinese culture as a whole. The Chinese culture has always been an emotional attachment and spiritual home for all ethnic groups in Xinjiang.
Xinjiang is enjoying sustained economic development and social stability. People of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang are leading a much better life, and enjoying unprecedented cultural prosperity. Different ethnic groups live together in harmony, and all rights including freedom of religious belief and ethnic language education are fully protected. With an approach that puts the people at the center, various livelihood projects are advancing to promote employment, education, healthcare and social welfare, which have been improving the living standards of residents in Xinjiang year by year. By the end of this year, the people living below the current poverty line in Xinjiang will all be lifted out of poverty, entering a moderately prosperous society together with everyone else from the rest of China. In the meantime, terrorism and extremism that once seriously threatened the survival and well-being of people in Xinjiang, have been well contained. It has been over three years that no terrorist attack took place in Xinjiang. The year 2019 saw Xinjiang receiving 200 million tourists, bringing in over 340 billion RMB of revenue. Xinjiang today is enjoying the greatest prosperity in history.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As early as over 2000 years ago, the Xinjiang region has been a window of China opening to its west, and an area where eastern and western civilizations converge. Today’s Xinjiang has become a pivotal area of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Silk Road Economic Belt. Under the BRI, Xinjiang can fully use its geographical advantage and its role of a window, to open up wider to the world, to advance connectivity in transportation, trade and logistics, and to comprehensively deepen exchanges and cooperation with other countries along the Belt and Road. Going forward, with the advancement of projects including the new Eurasian Land Bridge and the China-Central-Asia-West Asia, China-Pakistan and China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridors, Xinjiang will have a bigger role to play as a pivot in connecting the east and west, and linking the north and south of the Eurasian continent.
As a Chinese saying goes, one cannot comprehend the size of China without going to Xinjiang, and one cannot appreciate the beauty of China without going to Xinjiang. Seeing is believing, Xinjiang is open to the outside world, you and other Swedish friends are welcome to visit Xinjiang. We welcome all of you to visit Xinjiang, for traveling, for investing, and for cooperation, to better understand the Xinjiang region and China, and to make contributions to exchanges and cooperation between China and Sweden, and between the two peoples.