Consul General Zhang Meifang contributes an article entitled "A Bridge to a Shared Future"

Fifty Years! A 50-year relationship of most any kind would be cause for grand celebration. And this relationship certainly meets cause and moment.

It has been fifty years since China and the United Kingdom opened ambassadorial diplomatic relations with one another. And in doing so, opened both door and window into new worlds, and opportunities. A doorway to adjoined prosperity and a windowed view into cultures and peoples varied yet in common at the core their values and interests. A relationship coveted as it is essential for a world awaiting greater versions of itself through a vision for a shared future realized through such confluence.

If one were to reflect for a moment upon the past, we would find:

A political partnership with its roots in courage and conviction, beginning with the UK as the first western power to acknowledge and trade with the PRC; and arriving at joint cooperation in the face of unprecedented challenges posed by climate change, COVID-19, other threats to our collective existence.

An economic relationship of resilience: one that has evolved into trade and investment between the two nations rising to record levels in 2021.

Two nations with time-honoured histories, traditions and cultures that have served in championing multilateralism, trade liberalization and its implementation.

And these moments, these markers among many that helped pave the way to today, to where China-UK relations truly stand, not in some temporary state of discontent but upon the ultimate reality of our adjoined solidarity; these moments have served well the coveted relations between our two nations. I am particularly proud of the advancements – and with it emergence – of Northern Ireland as a critical intersection between the road traveled and the adventure and advancements awaiting. For Northern Ireland is unique in what it holds for China and the UK, positioned perfectly so to ease the journey through a post-Brexit world, allowing for greater goals and intentions to be attained. 

These goals and intentions, one might ask? 

  • The promotion of exchanges across all levels and in various fields;

  • High-quality development of economic and trade cooperation; 

  • Further implementation of coordinated education initiatives;

  • Advancement of people and cultural exchanges; along with 

  • Emboldening sister-city relations for a stronger brotherhood of nations.

A coveted bridge to a shared future!

With such a storied past together, one of mutual benefit serving the needs of not just nations but humanity as a whole, the foundation has been laid for what dreams may be realized. Visions manifest through the furthering of a relationship as essential to today and to a more favorable tomorrow as it has been for the past half century. 

For what awaits us as we awaken to possibility, together as one global community with a shared future for all humanity, is simply a promise made and kept for a world designed for discourse and discovery, to learn and grow. A world where…

  • Acceptance is demonstrated for what it is: not agreement but the willingness to allow for other ways. No judgment. No resistance.

  • Understanding that each nation and people are the best determinants their own, for they have the benefit of their historical awareness and cultural acumen. 

  • A world in cooperation, where we find common ground where common ground resides, work together as equals in those areas where together is the only way forward.

  • And, dare we say, move as a more loving and empathetic planet and people, with China, the UK and Northern Ireland serving as model reminder that with variance not as accident but brilliant its design we are simply stronger together.

What awaits us all is merely a triangle of enriched manifestation. China. The UK. Northern Ireland. In thoughts, words and actions, may we continue to realize together a model exemplary of how regions may lead nations, not in a political sense but in an economic, cultural and vital sense. And how bridges less travelled may lead to a future most richly adorned. 

For the people of Northern Ireland, as well other regions and nations of such extraordinary traits and resources, will have quite a say in where tomorrow may lead. And if they will do so tomorrow, then I say make it today! Let us embrace together – China, the UK, and Northern Ireland as a critical lynchpin to tomorrow – the spirit of the Chinese New Year, The Year of the Tiger, and muster forward the strength, vitality, the resilience and bravery draped in a kind nobility; and with it all the ambition, sense of adventure and unbridled enthusiasm; as we usher in the next fifty years of relationship, cooperative in intention as it is innovative in what awaits invention. 

For the world is warring over but one thing really: that we learn a better way to get along. Together. As one. Varied in the complexity that defines humanity. Common at the core of being and our adjoined journey.

Pandemics. Climate change. Challenges to the economy as with our collective vitality. These may appear daunting at the moment. However, the solution to each resides within all. Within that part of us, those of many races, that rise to one race above all: the human race. And to recognize the race we are on, our journey as humanity, is reliant upon our collective will to a shared way. And with it a joyous victory to be shared by all!

For once we have awakened to this, the ultimate truth, all roads forward will converge on but one. And we will have begun a greater journey, one that serves as a promise fulfilled. One 50 years in the making. Longer still.

The promise?That whatever the cause, the effect is not one, not one person, place or people will be lost upon the road paved. That all will share in the wealth this world has to offer. Health. Wealth. Happiness. By virtue of these and more, all measures most meaningful, we will win the day. Together. 

And what a grand day indeed it will be!