How to Attract More Chinese Tourists to Sri Lanka?
Published by Ambassador Cheng Xueyuan on Sri Lankan Newspaper
23 July 2019
Before being nominated as the Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka and arriving at the country to assume my office, I could hardly imagine that there are so many world wonders on this tropical island of over 60,000 square kilometers. The graceful lake and mountains of Kandy, the quaint and ancient city of Galle, the gorgeous and colorful Colombo, and the breathtaking thrills of Lion Rock are all amazing and stunning. Many Chinese tourists have been attracted to these beautiful sceneries with pleasant surprise like me.
With the strong support and promotion of the Sri Lankan government as well as the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka, the number of Chinese tourists to Sri Lanka has reached nearly 300,000 annually and ranks the top among foreign tourists to Sri Lanka. However, this number is only a peanut while comparing with the number of Chinese tourists attracted by Thailand, which is also a neighbor of China. In 2018, Chinese tourists to Thailand have exceeded 10 million.
The reasons mainly include following aspects. Firstly is language barrier. Many Chinese tourists are not accustomed to English language, much less the Sinhalese or Tamil language. Chinese-speaking tour guides’ accompany and interpretation is a must for them. But there are very few Chinese-speaking local guides here, and Chinese guides are prohibited from entering Sri Lanka and accompanying with tourists. Besides, Chinese people always have “Chinese stomach” when traveling. They show strong preference to Chinese food. However, it is difficult for a Chinese chef to obtain a working visa to work in or set up a Chinese restaurant. Therefore, the number of Chinese restaurants in Sri Lanka is limited and sometimes cannot meet needs of Chinese tourists. In addition, a large percentage of Chinese tourists are accustomed to Chinese tobacco and alcohol, which is a reality that the tourism industries in Sri Lanka has to consider seriously, although it is not healthy at all and should not be encouraged. The tourists cannot buy Chinese tobacco and alcohol during their stay, and even not allowed to bring a few Chinese cigarettes with them for their personal own use when entering this island. These restrictions make Chinese tourists unaccustomed, which don’t exist or at least have some level of exemption or tolerance in many other countries.
In fact, conveniences, experiences and happiness are precisely what Chinese tourists most care about, and one of the key factors in their decision-making of travel destinations. I noticed that the Tourism Authority of Thailand emphasized in an interview that the promotion of the Chinese market in 2019 will focus on increasing convenience and happiness, hoping all Chinese friends in Thailand would enjoy high-quality experience.
China is the world’s largest source of tourists with large scale of outbound tourists and ranks No.1 in overseas consumption in the world for many years. The size of China’s tourism market is too huge to imagine and compare by many other countries. The growth of related industries such as aviation, hotels, transportation and catering promoted by the tourism industry is also considerable. At present, the Sino-Sri Lanka relations has stepped into a fast development period. The implementation of Belt and Road Initiative between the two countries is in full swing, the exchanges in various fields are increasingly frequent, and the prospect for Sino-Sri Lanka tourism cooperation is also promising.
I’m fully confident that if Sri Lanka could continuously improve the tourism environment, focus on improving the comfort of foreign tourists as much as Thailand, adjust relevant regulations in accordance with Sri Lankan laws, ease the existing obstacles for foreign tourists effectively, more and more Chinese tourists will be attracted to Sri Lanka, which will stimulate tourism, consumption and stronger vitality to local economy growth.
Xinjiang, a Good Place in China
Signed Article by Ambassador Zhou Pingjian on the Peoples Daily Newspaper
26 July 2019
Xinjiang is one of the five ethnic autonomous regions in China which covers an area of about one sixth of the entire country with a population of 25 million.
On July 21, The State Council Information Office of China published a white paper on historical matters concerning Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China. From historic, religious, ethnic and cultural perspectives, the white paper clearly explains that Xinjiang has long been an inseparable part of Chinese territory as well as its ethnic groups and cultures. Similar to Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa with over 250 ethnic groups, China is also a united multi-ethnic nation founded jointly by the people of all its ethnic groups as well as different religious beliefs.
For some time, some politicians and media in the western countries continuously attacked China’s policy in Xinjiang, falsely claiming that a large number of “concentration camps” violating human rights have been established there. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Three month ago, I spent a whole week in Xinjiang and travelled across the region. That was my fourth trip to Xinjiang. I had face-to-face communication with teachers, the trainees and their families in some training centers. I also visited classrooms, dormitories, canteens and sports fields. Everywhere I went, I was impressed by the brightness, cleanness as well as happiness and cheerful voices from the trainees. The level of the national common language and legal awareness of all trainees have been greatly enhanced. The trainees who have practiced sewing, hairdressing and e-commerce are very skilled, and they enjoy it. They become more and more confidence in their future and their families are also gratified.
Many foreign friends who have visited the training centers said that what they saw were diligent students and happy campus, and the so-called accusation of “concentration camps” fell apart. From June 18 to 21, diplomats and representatives based in Geneva from 14 countries and an organization visited Xinjiang and interacted extensively with local residents, farmers, teachers and students in various places across the region. Among them, Nigerian Ambassador Audu Ayinla Kadiri said what he saw was entirely different from some negative media reports on the vocational education and training centers. On July 12, Ambassadors of 37 countries including Nigeria and many members from Organization of Islamic Cooperation sent a joint letter to the President of the UN Human Rights Council and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to show their support for China on its “remarkable achievements in the field of human rights”. We highly appreciate the support from our Nigerian friends.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. The past seven decades have witnessed a great transformation in China and historic progress never seen before in the country’s human rights development. China has grown into the second largest economy in the world, with its GDP surpassing 13.6 trillion U.S. dollars in 2018. It now boasts the world’s largest middle income population and has contributed to over 30% of global growth for many years in a row. Over the past 40 years, China has lifted over 740 million people out of poverty and met the basic needs of nearly 1.4 billion people. And by 2020, we will achieve comprehensive poverty eradication with no one left behind. It is fair to say that China has made a new great achievement in the history of the development and in the history of poverty reduction of the world. This is the largest human rights project, the best human rights story, and also the most important contribution of China to the cause of human rights of the world.
As for what is really happening in Xinjiang, I would like to share the true story from four aspects with Nigerian friends:
Firstly, Xinjiang is enjoying prominent economic development. Over the past 70 years, especially since 1978, Xinjiang has witnessed sustained and steady high-quality economic development, with its GDP for 2018 exceeding nearly 200 billion U.S. dollars. People’s living standard has greatly improved, with urban and rural residents’ per capita disposable income reaching respectively over 4,800 and 1,700 U.S. dollars. Public-interest projects regarding employment, education, medical services and social security have been moved forward. From 2014 to 2018, a total of 2.3 million people in Xinjiang were lifted out of poverty, with the poverty headcount ratio dropping from 19.4 percent to 6.1 percent. From 2019 to 2020, 817,100 people will shake off poverty. By 2020, all rural residents living below the current poverty line will be lifted out of poverty, absolute poverty will be eradicated as Xinjiang keeps pace with the rest of China in finishing building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
Secondly, Xinjiang is still facing severe challenges of anti-terrorism. Despite the progress Xinjiang has made in various undertakings, Xinjiang is also confronted with challenges. Since the 1990s, the “three forces” of terrorism, separatism and extremism inside and outside China have orchestrated and executed thousands of violent terrorist attacks in Xinjiang. The Exhibition on Major Incidents of Violent Terrorist Attacks in Xinjiang, which I viewed with great shock in late April this year, presents a large number of pictures and video footage about the appallingly cruel acts against humanity committed by violent terrorists. At the same time, the spread of religious extremist thoughts had stoked the terrorist rampage. The government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has taken a series of measures according to law to crack down on violent terrorist crimes on the one hand and actively explored preventive anti-terrorism and deradicalization measures on the other, including setting up vocational education and training centers. These efforts have been effective and won the sincere support of the people.
Thirdly, Xinjiang’s training centers are not “camps” but “campus”. There is no difference between a training center and a boarding school. The vocational education and training program is preventive counter-terrorism in nature and a precautionary step to prevent a disease or treat it in its early stages, as we do in traditional Chinese medicine. It aims to educate and rehabilitate to the greatest extent possible the individuals who have been influenced by extremist ideologies and committed minor offenses, so that they will not be victimized by and fall prey to terrorism and extremism. Courses on the national common language, legal knowledge and vocational skills help the trainees deradicalize themselves. The trainees can go home regularly, ask for a leave when needed, make phone or video calls to their family, and their family can come to the training centers to visit them. Upon completion of the courses, the trainees will be recommended for employment or self-employment by the school and the government. The training centers provide free accommodations and safeguard all basic rights of the trainees in accordance with the law to meet their needs in study, life and entertainment. I must point out that the vocational education and training program is a special measure adopted by Xinjiang at a special time. We will continue to improve the work of the training centers. As the counter-terrorism situation improves, the training program will be gradually downsized, leading to its completion.
Fourthly, Xinjiang is a place with freedom and safety. Xinjiang has taken a host of measures to protect citizens’ freedom of religious belief and safeguard their cultural rights and the right of all ethnic groups to use their own ethnic languages. There are 24,800 mosques, churches, Buddhist temples, Taoist temples and other religious venues, 29,300 clerical staff, and 10 religious schools such as the Xinjiang Islamic Institute. For every 530 muslims in Xinjiang, there is a mosques. Fine traditional cultures of ethnic minorities are protected and developed. The Uygur Muqam art and Kirgiz epic Manas have been listed as Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Ethnic minority languages are widely used in judicature, administration, education, press and publication, radio and television, the internet and social public affairs. The rights of women, children, the aged and people with disabilities are fully respected and protected by law. The stability dividend has continued to benefit Xinjiang. No case of violent terrorism has occurred for over 30 months in a row. A total of 150 million tourists visited Xinjiang last year, and this year the figure is expected to reach 200 million. Is it fair to label a place that receives nearly 200 million visitors a year as unsafe and not free?
When it comes to human rights, no one can claim perfection. So making progress is all important. We will continue to advance human rights development in China in an all-round way to meet people’s needs and aspiration for a better life, and join hands with other countries to promote and protect human rights around the world, with a view to advancing the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
Only a shoe’s wearer knows if it fits. The best-qualified to speak on Xinjiang are the Xinjiang people of all ethnic groups. We sincerely welcome Nigerian friends to make field visits to Xinjiang, and see for yourselves a beautiful, true and hospitable Xinjiang, a good place in north-western China.
“One Country, Two Systems” Is the Best System for Hong Kong, China and the World-Including America
Ambassador Cui Tiankai’s Op-ed About Hong Kong on Newsweek
2 August 2019
Recent events in Hong Kong have drawn significant international speculation. Problematically, some commentators have gone so far as to question the efficacy and even legitimacy of “One Country, Two Systems”. In fact, since China resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong on July 1, 1997, “One Country, Two Systems” has proven remarkably successful in transforming Hong Kong into an incredible place to live, study and do business. The questioning of this policy is deeply concerning, and makes clear that a broader public understanding of the Special Administrative Region (SAR) is necessary.
Over the past 22 years, Hong Kong has given support to the mainland’s development, while the mainland has contributed to Hong Kong’s rise. Hong Kong’s GDP has maintained a steady growth, hitting almost $360 billion in 2018, over twice of that of 1996. The number of visitors soared from 10.4 million in 1997 to more than 65 million in 2018. As a fully established international financial, trade and shipping center, Hong Kong ranks among the top in the world by various economic and social development indicators. Hong Kong, “the Pearl of the Orient”, is part of China, and can only shine as part of China.
Being a most vibrant economy, Hong Kong must keep pace with a changing world. As an SAR, the fate of Hong Kong is tied to the whole Chinese nation. The central government always puts Hong Kong’s social stability, economic development and improvement of people’s livelihood high on its agenda, and fully backs the SAR government and its citizens as they strive to meet their challenges head-on. As a case in point, the Belt and Road Initiative and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area are opening significant new development opportunities for Hong Kong.
That said, clarification is still needed on misperceptions about “One Country Two Systems”. Importantly, the “Two Systems” are based on “One Country,” enshrined and protected by China’s constitution. Any talk about the “Two Systems” out of the context of “One Country” would be illegitimate, and to question the necessity of upholding “One Country” with the exercise of “Two Systems” constitutes a challenge to China’s sovereignty. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of China allows no offense.
Meanwhile, the system practiced in Hong Kong, though different from that of the mainland, is something implemented for a certain administrative region of China in a certain historical stage; it is still a Chinese system, not a duplicate of that of America or Europe. Imposing a different, foreign system on Hong Kong is not only a challenge to the principle of “One Country”, but also harmful to the practice of “Two Systems”. Furthermore, what was practiced in Hong Kong under British rule was colonialism, with a governor appointed by London. The UK’s own system of government had never been implemented in Hong Kong.
It is impossible for Hong Kong to be separated from the mainland. The “Two Systems” are meant to work harmoniously, and to generate long-term prosperity and stability. From developing advantageous industries to fending off external financial risks, from upholding social order to providing household necessities, Hong Kong and the mainland are inextricably linked. Hong Kong’s ties with the mainland have developed to such breadth and depth, that to sever them is impossible, and trying to do so would only impede a better future for Hong Kong.考生如果怕自己错过考试报名时间和考试时间的话，可以 免费预约短信提醒，届时会以短信的方式提醒大家报名和考试时间。
Currently, the biggest peril for “One Country Two Systems” comes from ill-intentioned forces, both inside and outside Hong Kong, who seek to turn the SAR into a bridgehead to attack the mainland’s system and spark chaos across China. For them, the wellbeing of Hong Kong’s seven million people is a disposable pawn in their strategy. The last thing these people want to see is the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, Hong Kong compatriots included.
Recent events in Hong Kong have laid bare the ill-will of these forces and the hypocrisy of some Western politicians. Look at the radicals in Hong Kong who broke into and vandalized the Legislative Council, beat and maimed the policemen, and illegally stored dangerous assault weapons. They even stormed the liaison office of the central government and defaced the national emblem. These are not peaceful demonstrations. Nor do these acts of violence have anything to do with the freedoms of speech and assembly.
The intention of these radical factions is to sabotage Hong Kong’s rule of law and threaten the bottom line of “One Country Two Systems”. The central government firmly supports the SAR government and police in taking all necessary measures to bring those perpetrators to justice and uphold social stability of Hong Kong. And, were the U.S. to witness a similar assault to its stability, there would undoubtedly be an attempt to restore order.
“Nothing is more beneficial than stability, and nothing is more detrimental than chaos”. A chaotic Hong Kong will do no one any good. Hong Kong affairs are solely the internal affairs of China. China’s determination to safeguard sovereignty, security, and development interests, and to implement “One Country Two Systems” for Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability is unwavering.
A prosperous and stable Hong Kong not only serves China’s interests, but is conducive to the betterment of the international community, including the U.S. Consider the 85,000 U.S. citizens who live and work in Hong Kong, and thousands of American companies flourishing in the SAR. We are glad to see Hong Kong develop stronger business and people-to-people ties with the U.S., and become a prime choice for more American businessmen, tourists and immigrants.