Time: Afternoon, October 26, 2019
Speech by Xu Ruisheng, Vice Governor of Guangdong Province:
It gives me great pleasure to have all of you here in Guangzhou to talk about the theme of Cultural Bay Area and Urban Quality. We are very honored to invited all of you to understand China through language. In the meantime, I have a piece of good news for all of you. Today, an international orienteering competition is being held at Xiqiao Mountain in Nanhai District, Foshan City, which is a few tens of kilometers from here. I think Former President of Latvia must be very familiar with this international competition as some athletes of your country have participated in it. Young people from thirty-seven countries and regions have come to China’s Pearl River Delta and measured the land with their feet. They are running on the land of Lingnan and their pictures will be spread all over the world. I’m very pleased that there are languages of the smart guys and footsteps of the young at the same time.
Valdis Zatlers,Former President of Latvia.
Latvian orienteer Janis Tamuzs.
Speaking of the Cultural Bay Area, the Central Committee of the CPC has put a particular emphasis on it in the planning of the whole Greater Bay Area. First I think in this bay area, Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao have something in common，and that is the cultural heritage. This common cultural heritage can have many themes.
Among the many themes, the most important one is the Maritime Silk Road. For hundreds of years, we have been strengthening our ties with European countries through this road, which is started from Haungpu Port to the rest of the world. Since Pope Francis and other Portuguese landed on the Shangchuan Island successively, this silk road have been extending and developing for hundreds of years. The series of trade along with the development of this silk road made Macao and Hong Kong come into being. Therefore, the Maritime Silk Road is our common memory.
Now in Macao museum, Hong Kong museum and Guangdong museum, we can see large quantities of export porcelains and paintings, which are all made by our craftsmen of Guangzhou hundreds of years ago. The armorial porcelains they made were sent to the people around the globe, enabling them to enjoy high-quality and exotic life. These are the aspects that we all need to protect.
Just now, I had a brief conversation with Martin Jacques, and as soon as I talked about the history between University of Cambridge and Guangdong and with China, he told me the first person that came to his mind is Joseph Needham. So in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, we have another common history, and that is the history of education in south China. Why does the history of education in south China have something to do with Needham? In 1944, Mr. Needham saw the education situation of China in the wartime. Later he came to Pingshi, Lechang, Guangdong province. At that time, after National Sun Yat-sen University was moved to Chengjiang, Yunnan, the campus was kept running at Pingshi, Lechang from 1940 to 1945.
The complex was made up not only by National Sun Yat-sen University, but also universities from Hong Kong, including the agricultural college of Lingnan University, which was based at Qujiang; the middle schools from Hong Kong, namely Peizheng Middle School and Peidao Middle School. All these universities and schools were at Pingshi, Lechang in wartimes, which is the periphery of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
Speaking of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, we can say that we share a common historical memory. Apart from the Maritime Silk Road, we share a common history of education and its development. Therefore we can see, on the website of the University of Cambridge now, many old photos of Pingshi and Qujiang of Guangdong Province taken by Mr. Needham in 1944, including the photos of the observatory. During the war times, scholars in south China adhered to the academic pursuit to seek knowledge for the construction of the country.
After Hong Kong was occupied, tens of thousands of scholars walked and sailed to north Guangdong Province to continue their academic career and academic education. Among Chinese academicians, the most iconic figure of Hong Kong people is the ninety-three-year old scholar Mr. Huang Benli. He was born in Hong Kong and majored in chemistry at Xiamen University. He had walked for more than ten days to Pingshi, Lechang to receive education. At that time, Peizheng school and Peidao school were jointly called Peilian middle school, and that’s where Mr. Huang Benli studied. So this is our common memory.
If these cultural relics are displayed, we can form a cultural heritage trail in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. We can set many themes for this trail, including the footprints of Dr. Sun Yat-sen. Whether in Macau, Hong Kong or Guangdong, Dr. Sun Yat-sen left many footprints, which is our common memory. Fortunately, Liwan district of Guangzhou has started the cultural heritage trail project of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao greater bay area. The National Cultural Heritage Administration highly values the Guangdong-Hongkong-Macao greater bay area cultural heritage trail project and makes it a priority to carry forward these shared memories through the protection of cultural heritage.
When it comes to the quality of a city, I believe we shared a common sense: We are all looking forward to a healthy, pleasant and free urban environment. Based on this principle, we used cultural bay area to drive the protection of cultural heritages, the construction of cultural facilities and the formation of a more citizen-friendly atmosphere. We would also like to provide more sports facilities to make our people’s life more convenient. This is what we are striving for.
Today we have talked about Macao, Hong Kong, Guangdong and several other cities in the Pearl River Delta as these places share a common cultural characteristic that came into being over the history. First of all, we spoke the same language, and Cantonese opera is very popular in Hong Kong, Macao and Guangdong. It was the joint effort of Hong Kong, Macao and Guangzhou that made Cantonese opera win the laureate of “World Intangible Cultural Heritage”. Based on the same language, we could have more common ground like Cantonese movies which could also contribute to improving the urban quality in the future.
I admire all the runners who are now running in Xiqiao Mountain now, because they are taking actions to measure China and understand China. I believe the key to understand China is to take actions.
(Translated by Foreign Affairs Office of the People's Government of Guangdong Province.)