Remarks by Minister Xu Xueyuan At the Reception for the Wesleyan College
2019/05/25

 

May 23, 2019

President Fowler, Dr. Knox, President Elect Laurence,

Dear students, professors, and alumnae,

Welcome to the Chinese Embassy!

As Confucius said, how delightful we are to have friend coming from afar. Thank you for coming all the way from Macon, Georgia, to join us in the dialogue and reception at the Embassy!

We host you here because among over 4,000 colleges and universities in the U.S., Wesleyan College is a very special one. As one of the 37 remaining women’s colleges in the United States, Wesleyan stands out for being ‘Forever First for Women’. It is a place to help every student ‘find a unique voice and purpose’.

Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the Chinese government has been striving to help Chinese women find their voice and purpose. We are glad to see that over the past 70 years, women’s life has gone through dramatic changes in China. In the first law that was implemented after 1949 — the Marriage Law, women have been granted equal legal status with men, which was then reinforced in the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China. In 2018, female deputies accounted for almost 25% of the total in the 13th National People’s Congress. In 2017, there were 1.9 million female staff members in the national-level government agencies. In 2016, the number of female postgraduate students in Chinese universities and colleges exceeded the number of male students for the first time in history. Here at the Chinese Embassy, one third of the diplomats are female. Chinese women are now better educated and take a greater part in social life. It is true that women have already held up half the sky in China.

Wesleyan is also special to us because of its long-term relations with China. Its ties with China started a century ago, when the Soong Sisters set foot on the American soil. It helped to educate three legendary women in China’s modern history, especially the second sister Soong Ching Ling, who later became Vice Chairperson of the People's Republic. The Soong Sisters had never imagined that 100 years after their time at Wesleyan, China would become the largest source country of international students in the U.S. Altogether 360,000 Chinese students are studying in American colleges and universities, following in their footsteps and pursuing knowledge and friendship here. Inspired by its traditional connections with China, Wesleyan has become one of strongest advocators for closer relations with China. Its Confucius Institute and the Dual Degree Program in collaboration with Guangzhou University are new platforms for up-to-date cooperation between the College and its Chinese partners. What will be the next step for Wesleyan to continue its story with China? We are all waiting to see.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of China-U.S. diplomatic relations. The overall stability of China-U.S. relations over the past four decades has been a blessing to not only our two countries, but the whole world. The exchanges between young people and students, and the collaboration between the academia have laid a solid foundation for our bilateral relations. Now China-U.S. relations are at an important crossroads. Some people are trying to decouple our economies and even the whole relationship. More than ever before, people-to-people exchanges, especially connections between our young people, have become significant in facilitating state-to-state relations. I hope to see that starting from your visit today, you will experience and explore more about an open, friendly and developing China with your eyes and hearts. I hope to see that the Wesleyan College, with its long-term commitment to collaboration with China, will play a more active role in promoting China-U.S. relations through people-to-people exchanges. I also hope to see more exchanges of students in our colleges and universities, and more outstanding graduates becoming envoys of China-U.S. friendship.

Thank you again for joining us tonight!

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