Speaking at a reception held by the Chinese Consulate General in Edinburgh to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, Hou said China is already one of Scotland's major trading partners and sources of inward investment.
This year marks the 65th anniversary of China-UK diplomatic relationship at the chargé d'affaires level, and also the 22nd anniversary of the opening of the Chinese Consulate General in Edinburgh, during which time many Chinese people have set up businesses in Scotland.
"Over the past few years, China and Scotland have maintained high-level and local government contacts. Six cities in Scotland and China have become sister cities," said Hou.
With an aim to promote cultural and commercial ties, such special and close city-to-city friendship relationship is normally in form of social agreement between the two geographically distinct areas.As the name list of city-to-city partnership is getting longer, more and more Chinese people are choosing to see and experience the Scottish culture, people and scenery by visiting Scotland.
Last year alone, more than 200,000 Chinese tourists visited Scotland, a 100 percent increase of the number five years ago, making Scotland one of Chinese tourists favorite long-haul travel destination.
People-to-People connections have witnessed rapid development too, according to Ben Macpherson, minister for Europe, migration and international development of the Scottish government. Chinese business flourished across Scotland while "the (Chinese) community continues to grow, and contribute to the well-being of our nation," he said at the reception.
The increase interactions at grassroots level also led to an increasing number of Chinese performance troupes coming to join the Edinburgh International Festival every year, bringing Chinese arts and talents to Scottish and international audiences.
Meanwhile, premium Scottish performing groups such as Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Ballet, Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland and City of Glasgow Chorus are among those art troupes that have performed in China.Next year Chinese audiences will have the chance to see the signature Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo coming to China, "it is a major cultural step forward for the China-Scottish culture exchange", said Frank Ross, lord provost of the City of Edinburgh.
"The China-Scottish cooperation and collaboration... has contributed to our culture, our economy and our sustainability," Ross said.
Another testament to the ever deepening China-Scottish relationship is the continuing influx of Chinese students to pursue their study at Scottish higher education institutions; there are currently more than 20,000 Chinese students at Scottish universities while Chinese language has become increasingly popular in Scotland with help of Confucius institutes and classrooms.
"There are five Confucius Institutes and 44 Confucius Classrooms all over Scotland, reaching as far as Shetland Islands," said Hou, while the total number of Scots learning Chinese have surpassed 50,000."The popularity of Chinese language has opened a window for Scottish people to learn and understand China," she added.
Two photo exhibitions were held on the sidelines of the reception, showing visitors China's tremendous achievements in the past seven decades and rarely seen natural landscape.Top Searches - Trending Searches - New Articles - Top Articles - Trending Articles - Featured Articles - Top Members
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