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Interview: "I was lucky enough to be there": China Reform Friendship Medal recipient Stephen Perry

  LONDON, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- Recalling the moment he was awarded the China Reform Friendship Medal, Stephen Perry, chairman of Britain's 48 Group Club, has said in a recent interview with Xinhua that Dec. 18, 2018 will be "a new special moment in Chinese history and I was lucky enough to be there".

  On Dec. 18, Perry collected his China Reform Friendship Medal in Beijing, together with nine other foreign recipients, during a conference marking 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up.

  The 10 foreigners honored are outstanding representatives of the thousands of international friends who are intrinsically linked with regards to China's reform and opening-up.

  Their stories are a living proof that China and the world interact and mutually benefit each other. And the stories of Stephen Perry and his father, founder of London Export Corporation, were among them.

  In 1953, overcoming various obstacles, Stephen Perry's father Jack Perry led dozens of British businessmen to travel to China, kicking off the "Icebreaking Mission" to help bridge Sino-British relations.

  In 1954, Jack Perry led a group of 48 British businessmen on a historic trade mission to Beijing and helped deliver one of the first modern-day trade links with China, effectively breaking the U.S.-led Western embargo on New China, which was founded in 1949.

  "I remembered my father that day and all his Chinese and Western friends, and all the people I had been involved with over these 40 years," said Perry, who took over the helm in 1993 as head of the 48 Group Club, a business association founded by his father in 1950s to help bridge relations between China and Britain.

  "In 1952 when my father accepted the proposal communicated from (late Chinese) Premier Zhou to reopen Europe's trade with China, he believed China would return," said Perry.

  In the end a new China has emerged which astounds the world with its level of achievement as it had lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty and arrived at the edge of a moderately prosperous society, he said.

  Looking ahead, Perry believed that China is set to further raise the quality and standards of the Chinese people's life.

  Externally, China is to help create a community of shared future for mankind so that all the world can cooperate and enjoy sustainable development, said Perry.

  Britain and China "can prosper together" especially in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative, which Perry has described as one of the most "transformatory" concepts of this century.

  "Our economies are in sync and can help each other. The UK needs to accept the emergence of a new China. China needs to find new ways to understand the British and build new roads to China," he said.

  "The future can be bright so long as good choices are made," he added.