Theresa May speech in Beijing


Thank you, thank you very much, Ambassador. And I would like to echo your comments about how great it is to see so many people here, both of the business delegation that I have brought over with me, but also friends here in China, who are doing so much to help to build this golden era of UK-China relations and see the links between the two countries developing and being enhanced for the future.

And as the Ambassador has said, those links are about trade and business, but they are also about culture, they’re about people-to-people links. And I think the more that we share through the creative and performing arts, the more that we share through creative industries, actually the more we understand each other’s countries, and that has benefits for trade and business as well.

And we have seen the number of Chinese tourists visiting the United Kingdom increase substantially in the last year or so, and we also see, of course, numbers of UK visitors coming here to China. We want to see both of those increasing. And for the Chinese visitors coming to the United Kingdom, we’re launching Find Your Great Britain; come and find great food, great relaxation, great scenery, great cultural heritage. But this isn’t just one-way, because I’ve just been talking about the fact that the Serpentine is coming to Beijing, the V&A is coming to Shenzhen, and we’re seeing these opportunities for those cultural exchanges to take place, and those are very important for us.

But it’s not just about that sort of culture either. We know that Doctor Who and Downton Abbey are great successes here in China. I have seen Downton Abbey and Doctor Who; I have not watched Octonauts, which is a UK children’s cartoon which is being enjoyed by millions of children here in China. And as a result of the trip that I’m on, we are seeing significant deals being struck on the media front as well, and that’s very good news too.

So, thank you to all of you for coming here. I think what I have found here in China is a real enthusiasm for the links between the United Kingdom and China, a real enthusiasm for building on those links for the future, for recognising the opportunities that we share, for recognising the complementary skills that we have in so many areas and how those can be developed to the advantage of people in the UK and people here in China.

So, yes, jobs will be created as a result of the deals that are being done. But also, there will be a greater understanding of each other’s countries and a greater understanding of the cultural heritage of both countries and of the culture of today. And that will bring people together, and that’s what this is about.

Thank you.