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Speech at the China-Croatia Book Culture Exchange Symposium
(Zagreb Fair, 7th November 2017 at 2 pm)

Dear Rector of the University of Zagreb, Mr Damir Boras,

Dear Chief Advisor and the Representative of the Ministry of Culture, Ms Nemec,

Dear Vice President of China National Publication Import and Export Corporation, Ms Lin Liying,

Dear friends,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It’s my great pleasure to attend this Symposium on China-Croatia academic exchange and meet with the friends from culture and education circles of our two countries. After visiting the well-organized Chinese book square of this Inter-liber Fair, after listening to the inspiring speeches of the previous speaker, I got a strong feeling that it’s the sincere wish and hope of both sides to strengthen cultural exchanges and cooperation between China and Croatia, which makes me more optimistic about the future of our bilateral relationship.

China and Croatia are two great countries, both with a long history and rich culture. Although very far from each other, the two countries did have many cultural encounters in the past. This summer, I visited Vučedol museum in Vukovar. It is believed that people there about several thousand years ago invented the oldest calendar in Europe, which actually was very similar to traditional Chinese calendar system. About 700 years ago, Croatian born Marco Polo travelled to China, providing China with a window of knowing Europe. He also brought a lot of things back from China to Europe, giving a totally different picture of Chinese culture to the European people. In the 1980's, the exhibition of Terracotta Warriors of China’s Qin Dynasty in Zagreb attracted tens of thousands of visitors. Many Croatian people are still keeping vivid memories of this exhibition.

Dear Friends,

The history needs to be inherited but also carried forward. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Croatia. In the past 25 years, our bilateral relations have achieved substantial development. There are more good news about China-Croatia cooperation this year. For example, China Camel Group and Croatian company Rimac Automobili reached an investment agreement worth 30 million Euro. This is the biggest direct foreign investment that Croatian technology companies have ever received. However, in my view, our cooperation is far from the height it ought to reach. It is my firm belief that only when our two peoples understand and love each other’s culture, can China-Croatia relations have more solid foundation and bilateral cooperation reach higher level. Therefore, strengthening the bilateral cultural exchanges and cooperation is absolutely a necessity.

Publication cooperation is an important channel of promoting bilateral relations. A Chinese writer once said – reading a book is like making a new friend. I hope that China and Croatia will become even better friends through book exchanges. At the moment, we are working with a Croatian publisher on translating and publishing the book “The Governance of China'' by my President H.E. Mr. Xi Jinping. In this book, my President elaborated his ideas on how to govern China with over 1.3 billion population. While many countries are facing difficulties of governess in the fast changing world, this book for sure will provide a useful reference in this regard. I am glad to know that soon afterwards we will have a signing ceremony on the agreement of translation and publishing of ''Stories Told By Chinese President Xi Jinping'' and ''Agreement on the Introduction to the Digital Resources''. I believe this will also make contribution to the cultural exchanges and cooperation between China and Croatia.

Dear friends,

As an old Chinese saying goes, “it is better to travel ten thousand miles than reading ten thousand books”, emphasizing the need to unify the knowledge and practice. Therefore, we encourage people not only to read books from each other, but also to visit homelands of each other. In recent years, Chinese tourists to Croatia have been growing very fast. In the firs half of this year, Chinese tourists to Croatia increased more than 60%. We welcome more Croatian friends to visit China, experiencing Chinese culture in person, and understanding China in a better way.

To conclude, allow me to quote what my President said on the opening ceremony of the 19th National Congress of China that culture is the soul of the country and the people. I believe, with the deepening of cultural communication and exchanges between our two countries, the mutual understanding between the two peoples will surely be greatly enhanced, hence giving more impetus to the further development of our bilateral relations.

With this, let me once again thank the organizer of this symposium and wish the symposium and international book fair a great success!

Thank you very much.

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