Interview with the British Consul-General Chongqing
Connection between British and Chongqing

28th May 2018


Interview with the British Consul-General Chongqing-1

see the interview on live here

1.What do you recommend as a “can’t miss” experience when traveling to the UK?


Interview with the British Consul-General Chongqing-2

The UK offers a lot of different experiences. My advice to anyone thinking about going is to really get involved with experiencing the wonderful mix of traditional and modern experiences. It’s done very well in the UK, whether its talking to the locals, exploring the history and food, or from exploring the castles and architecture, there are fantastic natural geographic features and views. There is an amazing array of things to see and do, and the people are fantastic. So if, or when, you go, don’t just go to London, you must go out beyond, there are so many different places to see.


2.You have been leading your team to promote increased cooperation between the UK and Chongqing, especially concerning education and business. What project has impressed you the most? 


Everything about Chongqing impresses me. The dynamism and ambition of this city are fantastic, that’s what I find most impressive. It is also really good that they are willing to work much more closely with the UK as we proceed, we are very happy about that. We both have a lot of experiences to share with each other. Last year, for example, we had a British Festival, which highlighted the relationship between the UK and southwest China, especially Chongqing, so we had a lot of activities last year. We also highlight business opportunities, which is really important because it sets a strong foundation for us so we can develop good relationships with the various national ministries of China. So it’s in my interest to try bringing more UK businesses to Chongqing. I think that’s really important, I think it’s a place that enough people know about, and it’s my job to explore more business opportunities with Chongqing. As I explore real business opportunities, one of the big highlights is our gender we meeting together, a lot of different point ways.


3.British Actress Emma Watson made a speech, “He for She” at the UN. What do you think about the gender issue in Chongqing?


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I should say I’ve been naturally very impressed with women’s equality in China. In general, women in China do very well, I mean that. The government certainly is very strong in making sure there is gender equality, I think perhaps both the UK and China could do a little bit more to surpass the upper levels, particularly in business. China and the UK both have fantastic women, but it’s still difficult. So, somewhere along the line, there are still assorted points where, somehow, women are choosing not to make more difficult decisions, or it’s difficult to pass a certain point to get into (business), and that’s the same the world over. So this is the type of thing that I think we all should look at, to see what it is and try to investigate what is causing that barrier, is it confidence or is it policies? How can we address that? Without having women fully on board, your economy isn’t going to be very good because you need them in the workforce. What I mean is that women bring a lot to the table and they must have a seat at the table. They have so many skills and different points of view that, to have a balance, is the best way forward. If we can work together and push the balance forward, this is going to be a fantastic example of how we have pushed the barriers and got more women into the workplace.


4.Could you give us any advice for the women in Chongqing, no matter what social statues/role they are?


Be confident. It is one of the most fundamental things that keeps coming up, that women are less confident. They don’t speak out as much, they don’t find a seat at the table but, if you don’t find a seat at the table, then you’re going to be hurt. Be confident, value yourself, if you don’t see your own value, how do you expect other people to see your value. Value your worth, it’s important to you. If you’ve got something to say, say it, and just be confident about who you are and where you are in the world.


5. What have you been working on lately? Anything you worry about?


We want to pursue, particularly, bringing more attention to more UK companies. It’s going to be really crucial and important here, so I’m very pleased to be working with different ministries, for example the Commerce Commission, that’s really crucial to working together, taking advantage of our relationship to highlight, pull, and draw some of the people, not necessary from the UK all the time, but even from other parts of China. So I think that’s gonna be really important for Chongqing. Today I just heard on the news that Chongqing is one of the most exciting and dynamic up and coming cities. There is a lot of business potential for the tourism industry, and your guide is fantastic, it’s very handy for visiting tourists to have. Because when they come here, especially from overseas, they would have something in English, which makes their life a little bit easier.  


6.To improve the cultural exchange, will any events be held in the near future?


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We’ve got a few things going on for cultural exchange, but I think one of the most important things I would like to do about culture is to get deeper. We’ve arranged some things like poetry on the Metro and we do readings in bookstores, but I like to go one deeper. What we’ve also got a big fan of student exchanges in the British Consulate, so they have a program in the British Consulate where students will come to Chongqing and really immerse themselves into the culture, the language, everything about Chongqing, and I think that is a much deeper cultural experience, those exchanges. I’d like to see much more, welcome more students. I’ve spoken to students who come over here and they had a fantastic time, it really is a great experience for them and what’s good about it is they go back to the UK and tell others. UK employers are interested as well, looking for people who are branching out into places that are still unusual for the UK, so you know it’s a fact that Chongqing is unusual, it’s not like Shanghai or Beijing, which is good for UK students, so I’d like to see much more of that deeper cultural exchange.


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