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Chargé d'Affaires a. i. and Minister Yang Xiaoguang Has Video Conversation with Renowned British Table Tennis Player Alan Hydes

On 28 April, Chargé d'Affaires a. i. and Minister Yang Xiaoguang had a video conversation with Alan Hydes, Vice President of Table Tennis England and renowned British table tennis player, and exchanged views with him on marking the 50th anniversary of “Ping Pong Diplomacy”.

Yang said “Ping Pong Diplomacy” has played a positive role in the historic progress of China-UK relationship. In 1971, England’s table tennis team paid a goodwill visit to China, during which the team met Premier Zhou Enlai and was warmly welcomed by relevant departments and people from all walks of life. The visit opened the door for Chinese and British people to communicate and enhance understanding with each other and accelerated the ice-breaking for the China-UK relationship. “Ping Pong Diplomacy” has thus gone down in history for meeting the objective needs of the peoples of the two countries to break down barriers, strengthen communication, and enhance understanding and friendship. More than just a story of friendship through sports, it is a profound illustration that friendship forged through close contact between the people holds the key to sound state-to-state relations. This was how China and the UK found the driving force for the development of their bilateral relationship. This offers important reference and practical guidance today for the two sides to engage in exchanges.

Yang pointed out that the people-to-people exchanges between China and the UK, represented by “Ping Pong Diplomacy”, are a significant part of the China-UK relationship and the public support and driving force that keep the relationship on a healthy and steady track. In recent years, some British politicians have been hyping up hostility, “decoupling” and confrontation, and some media have been churning out anti-China narrative. Such actions are against the trend of the times and the will of the people, and they are doomed to fail. Yang hoped that the British public should be free from prejudice, reject disinformation, and support better mutual understanding and healthy development of the relationship between the two countries.

Mr. Hydes shared memories of his visit to China in 1971 with the England table tennis team, his meeting with Prince Wales upon coming back to England, the training in table tennis coaching he later received in China and his subsequent business engagement in China representing a sports company. He also recalled his friendship with the Chinese players and coaches, including famous table tennis player Zhuang Zedong, and marveled at China’s enormous achievement over the past 50 years. “Ping Pong Diplomacy” is of major historic significance in strengthening friendship between the peoples of the two countries and promoting friendly communication between the two sides, and the British table tennis community stands ready to work together with the Chinese counterpart and International Table Tennis Federation to make the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of “Ping Pong Diplomacy” successful, said Hydes.

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