ONE OF China’s most senior government officials has said that Portsmouth’s Chinese community is the city’s key to developing business links with the global superpower.
Tan Tianxing, the deputy director of the overseas Chinese affairs office, and other dignitaries from Beijing met with members of the Portsmouth Chinese Association at the Spinnaker Tower yesterday.
China has a great history and business is expanding, so hopefully the people of Portsmouth can bring work and money to our countryTan Tianxing, deputy director of the overseas Chinese affairs office
During the meeting they discussed the work of the association and how China’s government could further support the Chinese community in Portsmouth.
The visit was organised because tonight the Kings Theatre in Southsea is hosting a prestigious variety performance from China called Cultures of China: Festival of Spring, instead of usual locations such as Edinburgh or Manchester.
Mr Tianxing said: ‘It’s a very beautiful city, particularly the harbour behind me. There are lots of cities in the UK, but Portsmouth is one that is well-known in China, and its harbour and dockyard are two of the reasons why.’
While he didn’t announce plans for closer trade or tourism links with the city, Mr Tianxing expressed his personal hopes for Portsmouth’s relationship with China in light of President Xi Jinping’s visit to Britain last year.
‘It is a golden year for UK-Chinese relations and hopefully in the future we can have more opportunity to co-operate together, especially considering the strength of Portsmouth’s Chinese community. They are the bridge between China and Portsmouth.’
Among the topics discussed were Portsmouth’s twinning with Zhuhai and the school run by the association, which teaches Chinese language and culture to British-born Chinese children.
Ming He Yung, headteacher of the school and Portsmouth Chinese Association vice-chairman, said that the delegation were impressed by the school’s achievements.
‘They think it’s amazing that the school has so many students. We have 160 in total from five to 17 years of age,’ said Ming, 70.
Mr Tianxing also spoke of his desire for people from Portsmouth to do business in China.
‘China has a great history and business is expanding, so hopefully the people of Portsmouth can bring work and money to our country.’