Remarks by Ambassador Xu Erwenat China-Croatia Education Cooperation Video Conference
17 December, 2020
Your Excellency former President of the Republic of Croatia, Mr Josipović,
Honorable Rector of the University of Zagreb, Mr Boras,
Honorable State Secretary of the Ministry of Science and Education, Ms Franić,
Mr Damir Knjaz,
Friends from the media,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It’s my great pleasure to attend the video conference on education cooperation between China and Croatia when the New Year holiday is around the corner. It is such a delight to see my friends old and new. At the outset, please allow me to extend our best wishes and warmest greetings to the friends present here today and all the Croatian People for a very happy upcoming New Year! Wish the New Year brings all of us good health, happiness and prosperity! I also wish to thank Your Excellency Mr Josipović, former President of the Republic of Croatia, MrBoras, Rector of the University of Zagreb, Ms Franić, State Secretary the Croatian Ministry of Science and Education, as well as other friends in the Croatian education sector for your strenuous efforts and contribution to promoting the development of China-Croatia relations, especially in the field of education. Currently, theCOVID-19 pandemic is raging across the world including Croatia. At this very challenging time, I wish to extend on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Croatia our sympathy and warmest greetings to the friends present here today and all the Croatian people! I Wish the pandemic will be over soon.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I know you are very caring about the development of China and China-Croatia relations, particularly the educational cooperation. Today, I would like to take this opportunity to make a brief introduction to you:
This October, the 5th Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee adopted the proposal on formulating the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035.This proposal points the way for China to enter a new stage of development and reflects China’s strong desire to deeply integrate its own development with that of the world. The year of 2020 is a significant year for China to win the decisive victory of building a well-off society in an all-round way, getting rid of the absolute poverty, and achieving the first centenary goal. The year of 2021 will mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC. So this year is also a significant year for China to step in a new journey of the second centenary goal to become a modernized socialist country in 2049 when the People’s Republic of China celebrates her 100th anniversary. At this historic juncture, along with the profound changes of the world situation unseen in a century, China will speed up a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as its mainstay at same time with the domestic and international circulation enforcing each other. China will build a new system of an open economy at a higher level and promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. China will continue to pursue peaceful development, continue to be builder of the world peace, contributor of the world growth and defender of the world order. We believe it is more important than ever for the international community to uphold unilateralism, fairness and justice, and promote openness and cooperation. China will unswervingly pursue a win-win strategy of opening-up, draw development impetus from the world, and bring more benefits to the world through China’s development.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Building a higher quality of education is a very important goal set in The Proposal of the 5th Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee. Over the past 71 years since the founding of the PRC, we have made great achievements and education in China has also undergone earth-shaking changes. When the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949, 80% of the population was illiterate and there were only 117,000 university students. Up to now China has built the largest education system in the world, guaranteeing the rights of hundreds of millions of people to receive education. In 2019, China had 530,000 schools of all types at all levels, with 282 million students and over 17.3 million full-time teachers. In addition, China has also opened up its education to the world. From 1978 to the end of 2018, a total of nearly 6 million Chinese students of various types have been studying abroad. China has become one of the main actors in international educational exchanges and cooperation. To build high quality education in the future China will bring more opportunities to international education collaborations and communication.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We are also glad and proud to see that, since the establishment of diplomatic ties 28 years ago, China and Croatia cooperation in various fields has achieved fruitful results, among which education cooperation has become one of the highlights. Both China and Croatia respect teachers and value education, and both have its own advantages and opportunities in education and research. During Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Croatia last year, the Ministry of Science and Technology of China and the Ministry of Science and Education of Croatia signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Joint Funding of Research and Development Projects, supporting scientific research institutions, universities and enterprises of the two countries to carry out joint research and development as well as cooperation in the industrialization of their achievements.
As the oldest and largest higher education institution in Southeast Europe, the University of Zagreb has not only cultivated a large number of leading talents in various fields, but also contributed the most to the scientific research achievements in Croatia. The University of Zagreb attaches great importance to cooperation with China. The Confucius Institute in the University provides a channel for the Croatian people to learn Chinese and get to know China. The University has also established partnerships with more than ten Chinese higher education and research institutions. Among them, the most outstanding one is the close cooperation between Beijing Sport University and the Faculty of Kinesiology in University of Zagreb. More than 100 Chinese students and athletes have come to get trained in football, basketball, water polo and so on, which has greatly promoted sports exchanges and cooperation between us. Thank you so much for taking good care of them during the pandemic and Zagreb earthquake in March. At the beginning of this year, our Embassy and University of Zagreb jointly held a “Belt and Road Construction For Win-win Cooperation” China-Croatia top think-tanks dialogue, during which representatives from the political, business and academic sectors of both sides made suggestions and jointly looked forward to the bright future of China-Croatia and China-EU relations. It is my sincere hope that more think tanks’ exchanges will take place in future.
Ladies and gentlemen,
China-Croatia relations are at our best in history. The pandemic has somehow blocked our exchanges for a period of time, but it will not stop the deepening and concrete pace of China-Croatia Comprehensive Cooperative Partnership. Nor will it stop the world’s determination to expand opening-up and cooperation. China and Croatia have diverse cultural traditions, different social systems and education systems with our own characteristics. Over the years, the two sides have carried out education exchanges and cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, which has promoted respective education development and social progress as well as cross-cultural exchanges. At present, China is committed to make herself not only big but also strong in education. We are committed to deepening education reform, speeding up modernization of education and running education to meet the need of high quality development to the satisfaction of our people. After joining the Bologna Process, Croatia is also pushing forward higher education reform. The synergy of education strategies and policies between China and Croatia is at the right time and has broad prospects.
I have also noted that Internationalization Strategy 2014-2025 White Paper of the University of Zagreb emphasizes the need to attract more international students to study in Croatia through promoting international cooperation and increasing English courses. I hope that in the future, more young people of our two countries will study in each other’s nation to promote friendship between our young generations. I also sincerely hope that the education sector of China and Croatia will remain open, further promote exchanges and cooperation in education and other fields, inject more positive energy into people-to-people exchanges and write a new chapter in China-Croatia friendship.
Thank you! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!