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Interview: Britain's upper house deputy speaker expects increasing cultural exchange with China

English.news.cn   2014-06-16 01:53:13

LONDON, June 15 (Xinhua) -- Cultural exchange between Britain and China will become more frequent and fruitful along with steady improvement of relations between the two countries over recent years, Deputy Speaker Michael Bates of Britain's Upper House has said.

"Culture plays a very important role between every relationship. During the recent Chinese film festival held in London, we watched a lot of Chinese movies, I like them," Bates, who was awarded a life peerage, told Xinhua on the eve of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's upcoming visit to Britain.

"The great thing is it shares the language. Everybody knows human: they love, they fight, and movies can tell universal stories. They are just languages we communicate with," he said.

Bates, who visited China for the first time in 1997, said the country's ancient history and culture have a huge influence on the world, adding that Westerners are also becoming more interested in Chinese cuisine.

"I think that my views have changed. I think China is now more at ease with its past and therefore it is sharing more of its culture with the rest of the world, and the rest of the world can get a lot from it," he said.

He noted that education collaboration will help Britain and China boost their culture exchange, saying many British universities have cooperated with their Chinese counterparts.

"I personally believe that the best form of culture exchange is education, because we have more than 100,000 Chinese students... You get the chance not just to visit for two weeks, but to live here for three years, make friends here. That's a great thing," Bates said.

Thanks to efforts made by the two countries, he said, their culture exchange is going to be very strong.

"It's already happening. It will grow not because governments say so, but because more people-to-people exchanges have been increased," he added.

Bates said that although people from both countries are very interested in each other's culture, different ideologies lead to different views.

"We have two different systems of ways of learning. I think sometimes people don't realize that; they just say we are different people," he said. "We've found interesting history in our two countries, but sometimes that doesn't help the trust between the two sides."

He called on the two countries to treat each other on an equal footing in their cultural exchange, saying mutual respect is the foundation of a good relationship.

"Most of our political differences have really been misunderstood, based on a lack of trust, based on different history," Bates said.

"Politics is an important part, but the more you build up the culture, the more you build up the economy, then politics will become less important, and that's a type of world that I like to live," he said.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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