|Acting Consul General Liu Jun's Speech at the Reception and Film Screening of "Better Angels"|
(Thursday, November 29th, 2018 at the Chicago History Museum)
Ladies and gentlemen, friends,
Good evening, everyone!
It gives me great pleasure to be here today with new and old friends alike. The film we are to view shortly is entitled "Better Angels," a name which hails from President Lincoln's famous phrase, "by the better angels of our nature." To hold such an event in the Land of Lincoln itself, then, is truly of great significance. In this Museum you can see some exhibits associated with Abraham Lincoln.
On behalf of the Chinese Consulate General in Chicago, I would like to extend my gratitude to the China General Chamber of Commerce Chicago Chapter for organizing this movie screening event. Here, I would also like to express my warmest welcome to director Malcolm Clarke for making the special trip to attend our event. Mr. Malcolm Clarke has won numerous international film festival awards, including two Academy Awards (Oscars) and numerous Emmy Awards. I welcome you to Chicago and to the homeland of President Lincoln. Today's event would not have been possible were it not for your great efforts.
I would also like to recognize presence of Mayor Richard Daley. Mayor Daley served the city of Chicago for 22 years, and was the longest-serving Chicago mayor in history. Mayor Daley just returned from a visit to China and had a meeting with Vice President of China in Beijing. Welcome, Mayor Daley.
Today's documentary comes at an opportune time-a time when many are deeply worried about the present and future of China-US relations. Through interviews with politicians, entrepreneurs, and ordinary people both in China and the United States, this documentary grants us a new perspective from which to reflect on our relations. After viewing the film, I believe everyone will feel just as I did: that it is precisely these interviewees and the many people like them, that, by the "better angels of [their] nature", provide a beacon of hope for China-US relations-it is by their hands, that the firm foundations have been laid, and the bright future paved for the progress of our two nations' friendship.
Ladies and gentlemen, friends,
In just over a month, we will usher in the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States. The recovery of diplomatic relations between us was a major event that profoundly changed the world. For more than 40 years, China-US relations have experienced hardships and hurdles, but have nonetheless maintained a general sense of stability. Our world is now undergoing profound changes unseen in more than a century. The international community, as a whole, is looking forward to the continued stability of China-US relations. Our two nations have established four high-level dialogue mechanisms: namely, the diplomatic security dialogue, comprehensive economic dialogue, law enforcement and cyber-security dialogue, and social and cultural dialogue. Two weeks ago, the second round of the diplomatic security dialogue held in Washington came to a conclusion after both sides shared candid, constructive, and fruitful conversations. And in two days, Presidents Xi Jinping and Trump will meet during the G20 summit in Argentina. We look forward to the positive results of the meeting and signs that China-US relations will continue to develop strongly.
Of course, the development of bilateral relations requires both guidance on the part of the leadership, as well as the active participation of both countries' people at sub-national and grassroots level. It brings us joy to see that it is precisely with the support of countless "better angels" from all walks of life in China and the United States that China-US relations has made it to where it is today.
In terms of economy and trade, both countries are each other's largest trading partners. China has become the United States' third largest export market. In 2017, the two-way investment stock between China and the US reached $213 billion. Chinese companies invested more in the US than US companies in China for the third consecutive year. China-US trade saves an average of $850 per American household and gives rise to millions of US jobs. Socially speaking, in 2017, nearly 6 million people in China and the United States traveled to the other side of the Pacific. Thus far, China and the US share 49 friendly province-state relationships and 222 sister cities. 350,000 Chinese students study in major universities in the United States, accounting for one-third of foreign students studying in the United States and comprising this country's largest international student group. In the nine Midwestern states covered by the Chinese Consulate General in Chicago alone, there are more than 80,000 Chinese students attending universities.
Above all, these statistics serve to convey that the common interests of China and the United States far outweigh the differences. The cooperation between our two countries is conducive to global stability and prosperity, and also conforms to the expectations of both the Chinese and American people and the international community alike.
Ladies and gentlemen, friends,
For some time now, China-US trade friction has caused widespread concerns. We have always believed that China-US trade cooperation is complementary, mutually beneficial, and win-win. From the outset, China has, through concrete actions, proven its determination to support trade liberalization and open its markets to the world. This year marks the 40th anniversary of China's Reform and Opening-up. As such, China will continue to significantly relax market access, strengthen intellectual property protection, and actively expand imports.
Just this year, China announced a series of new opening initiatives, including creating a more attractive investment and business environment, significantly reducing import tariffs on 1,449 consumer goods and 1,585 industrial products, reducing the tax rate on whole cars and car components to 13.8% and 6% respectively, and achieving zero tariffs on imported anti-cancer drugs. With the implementation of a new round of tax reduction measures on November 1st, China's total tariff level has dropped to 7.5%, exceeding its commitment to the World Trade Organization and lower than most developing countries. China has released a new negative list of foreign investment access, further opening the fields of finance, automobiles, aircraft, and ships. According to a World Bank report, since last year, China's business environment ranking has increased over 30 points, making it one of the economies with the greatest improvement in its business environment. China treats domestic and foreign-funded enterprises equally. We welcome and encourage fair competition among all types of businesses, and promise to fully protect their legitimate rights and interests.
In early November, the first China International Import Expo was successfully held in Shanghai, attracting 172 countries, regions, and international organizations. More than 3,600 companies participated in the exhibition, and more than 400,000 domestic and foreign buyers attended the conference to negotiate purchases, with a turnover of $57.8 billion. More than 4,500 well-known figures from all circles of life attended the Hongqiao International Economic and Trade Forum. Ranking third in the amount of companies in attendance, a total of nearly 180 US companies, from fields as diverse as high-end manufacturing, intelligent equipment, agricultural products, and culture and sports, participated in the corporate pavillion. Additionally, a number of Fortune 500 companies and industry leading enterprises or institutions participated in the exhibition. Everyone participated with great enthusiasm and showed a strong willingness to cooperate.
Ladies and gentlemen, friends,
At present, there are a few people in the US who hold suspicions regarding China's development. Public opinion and the media are still riddled with bias. There are even those who hold tightly onto the old, outdated Cold War and zero-sum game mentalities. These people tend to judge China's development based off the standards of the developmental path of the Western powers through history. They don't quite understand China's 5000-year-long civilization. To borrow an ancient Chinese saying, these people are trying to "gauge the heart of a gentleman by their own mean measures."
In the sphere of bilateral trade relations, it is a fact that the United States has a deficit with China, but this is not a difficult problem to solve. As I mentioned earlier, China has begun to make tremendous efforts, and is willing to import more American products. The US is supposed also to contribute to these efforts, as opposed to limiting exports to China.
In the sphere of mutual recognition, the United States has a huge deficit of understanding with regards to China, which is far more difficult to solve than the aforementioned trade issue. Many Americans have an extremely limited understanding of China. In their minds, China remains a fantastic myth that eludes comprehension. In this regard, China has continuously expanded its Reform and Opening-up policy and worked hard to share the nation's story. Obviously, the United States hasn't yet done its part.
In this sense, the creation of "Better Angels" was a critical and positive effort to try to shrink this deficit. From here on out, we look forward to seeing more films like "Better Angels", hearing more positive voices, and spreading positive energy to promote the stable and healthy development of China-US relations.