Standard Life deal falls through - it is reported that the proposed joint venture between Standard Life and the Bank of China, trailed during the Prime Minister's visit to China in November, had fallen through.
Scrutiny of Scottish Government International Strategy and 'China Plan' - Fiona Hyslop, Minister for Culture and External Affairs, gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament European and External Relations Committee on 14 December 2010 as part of their international engagement inquiry - the 'Official Report' is here. She alluded to China on several occasions, and made reference to a further hearing in early 2011 to discuss the progress of the 'China Plan' in more detail, ahead of the end of the current cycle of the Plan.
Pandas for Edinburgh Zoo ? - the Zoo's long-standing desire to bring pandas to Scotland gets another airing in this Scotsman article (they did arrive in December 2011, of course, see our main news page for various later announcements).
More speculation on Chinese investment at Grangemouth - The Scotsman carried an article suggesting PetroChina is still negotiating with the owners of the Grangemouth oil refinery over a possible investment. This had been mentioned in media reports in March 2010 (see our main news page for various later announcements).
China included in Asian theme of 2011 Edinburgh International Festival - China is to be included as a major element in an Asian theme for the summer 2011 Edinburgh International Festival. For example, the National Ballet of China will perform Peony Pavilion - at the heart of this stunning production is one of China's most famous classical love stories - while the Shanghai Peking Opera Troupe present the glamour and spectacle of traditional Peking Opera through an East-meets-West adaptation of Shakespeare's immortal tragedy, Hamlet.
More protection for Scotch, financial services deals, and other developments during Prime Minister's visit to China - new legal protection for Scotch whisky in China was announced by the First Minister, following his discussions in Beijing in July (see 7 Jul 2010 entry below). The agreement will be signed by the UK Government Business Secretary, Vince Cable, in Beijing today, as part of the trip by a major UK delegation, headed by the Prime Minister to China. It is notable that a number of leading Scottish businesses are reported to be included in the delegation, such as Clyde Blowers, Sgurr Energy and the Royal Bank of Scotland.
In further coverage arising from this visit, Standard Life was reported to be discussing a new deal with the Bank of China (this later fell through, see entry above for 23 December 2010). The same article also noted that Aberdeen Asset Management had gained qualified foreign institutional investor (QFII) status in China.
In addition, the Royal Bank of Scotland has received approval to set up a securities joint venture with Guolan Securities, which will allow it to become the first UK bank to underwrite domestic equity and bond offerings in China - in other words, be an investment banker. More details were also given in a 'Finance Asia' article, now unfortunately behind an internet paywall. However, the article noted that the deal will allow RBS and Guolan to set up a joint business, but that they will need a business permit, which will typically take another six months. RBS is the third foreign bank to be awarded such a JV - the others are Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank, while CLSA, Goldman Sachs and UBS can also operate as investment banks through separate arrangements.
The 'Finance Asia' article quoted RBS Chairman Philip Hampton, who was included in the British Prime Minister's delegation, as saying that the securities JV would complement the bank's existing business in China, which includes a locally incorporated bank, a leasing company and stakes in a futures company and a trust company. Hampton reportedly said, "RBS is strongly committed to the long-term development of China's wholesale and investment banking business".
It is understood that the new JV is owned one-third by RBS and two-thirds by Guolan. Once the business permit is received, the JV will be able to underwrite A-share offerings and bond issues, but not stockbroking business.
There was also said to be new potential for pig exports (perhaps more interesting than it sounds - pork is very important in the Chinese diet). An agreement between Clyde Blowers and Yima Coal Industry Group was also mentioned in a list of deals signed this week by UK companies. Wider economic and political agreements are described in this FCO news release.
Chinese judges visit to discuss IP - a delegation of high-ranking IP judges from China have been in Scotland as part of a fact-finding mission to help modernise the Chinese system, reports The Scotsman.
China textile and fashion media visit Borders - a group of 20 leading Chinese journalists visited Hawick to see the work done at Johnstons of Elgin’s factory, as part of Wool week - see more details, see here. See also this story, this story and this Scottish Government news release for details of a related collaboration between Johnstons, Heriot-Watt University's School of Textiles and Design and Tsinghua University in Beijing, announced during the Education Secretary's continuing visit to China.
Mike Russell in Shanghai - the Scottish Government Education Secretary, Mike Russell, is in China this week. He announced a new training scheme for the low carbon economy, and visited the Shanghai Expo.
There is a lot of detail on the Minister's visits to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing and Tianjin on his blog, here (there are various entries on 18, 20, 21 and 23 October).
Scottish architects to design new area of Chengdu - Edinburgh-based architects Sutherland Hussey has been asked by Chinese authorities to begin masterplanning Chengdu eastern new town, a satellite city for the Sichuan provincial capital, intended to house 800,000 people.
Tianjin business delegation - around 40 companies from Tianjin are visiting Edinburgh for a special seminar and round of meetings. This is a spin-off of the First Minister’s trip to China in July 2010 (see below).
Delegates will attend a Scotland-Tianjin business workshop and make connections with Scottish companies through a series of “speed-dating” meetings facilitated by host Scottish Development International (SDI). For more on this, see this BBC follow-up story.
Honorary OBE for Kunming botanist marks Scottish links- Dr Li Dezhu, director of the Kunming Institute for Botanical Studies, became the first Chinese to receive an honorary Order of the British Empire at a ceremony at the Shanghai Expo. The Kunming Institute, part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has partnered with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RGBE) in 1999, although links can be traced back as early as the late 19th century and the work of Scottish botanist George Forrest.
See this news item for more details.
Salmond signs partnership with Tianjin - First Minister Alex Salmond has signed a 'Memorandum of Understanding' with the North China city of Tianjin to expand business, educational and cultural links - see this Scottish Government news release and this People's Daily story for details. The SG document includes the full text of the agreement.
Salmond continues China trip with announcements on golf and whisky - in Shanghai on 6 July, the First Minister launched a new brochure to attract Chinese golfers to Scotland (see this Scottish Government news release for more details). And today in Beijing, he had a meeting with the Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, who reassured him that the Chinese Government would shortly introduce more protection for Scotch whisky (see this Scottish Government news release and this Scotsman article for more details) See also news above on 8 November 2010 for more on this.
In addition, it was announced that Aberdeen renewables firm SeaEnergy had signed a co-operation agreement with the Chinese company Nantong COSCO to work together on steel structures for the offshore wind industry - see this BBC report for more details. Mr Salmond is quoted as saying, "if you asked me to estimate on the three days in Shanghai I'd be very disappointed if there wasn't £100m of investment in the Scottish economy in the very near future".
Salmond speaks on IPR at Shanghai Expo - visiting the Shanghai Expo, Alex Salmond stressed the importance of forward planning to defend companies' intellectual property rights when doing business in China. See this Scottish Government news release for more details, including a list of the firms accompanying the First Minister.
Salmond begins China visit - Alex Salmond, First Minister, is in Shanghai, beginning his second visit to the country - more details in this Scottish Government news release. As well as visiting the Shanghai World Expo, he will go to Beijing and Tianjin later in the week. Salmond will meet Chinese ministers to pursue closer links in trade, investment, education and culture.
He is leading a series of trade missions organised by Scottish Development International (SDI), Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) and Visitscotland. Firms taking part in the trade missions include the Bruichladdich Distillery, HSBC and Platinum Golf Associates, according to reports. See also this later article for some reports of orders.
University of Edinburgh events in Hong Kong - last weekend (12-13/6/10) the University of Edinburgh held its annual General Council meeting in Hong Kong for the first time, as well as various other events. Tom Devine, Professor of Scottish History and Director of the new Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies, gave a fascinating 45 minute lecture entitled 'An Empire of Commerce:
Three Centuries of Scottish Enterprise in the East' - this is now available on YouTube. This is well worth the time to listen - it includes some interesting snippets of history and perhaps some advice for modern policymakers, too !
Schools visitor from Tianjin - Lin Yanshen, deputy director general of the Tianjin Municipal Education Commission, is visiting Scotland to take forward the linking arrangements with the Confucius Classrooms announced earlier in 2010 (see below 24 January and 24 February).
Another Confucius Classroom opens - the ninth Confucius Classroom, at St Ninian's High, Giffnock, East Renfrewshire, has opened.
Chinese electric cars for Scotland ? - a car dealer is planning to import electric cars from China, according to this Scotsman story.
Petrochina to invest in Grangemouth ? - a Chinese state-owned oil firm has completed "preliminary work" on a possible bid to buy a stake in the giant oil refinery at Grangemouth, according to this BBC story. See also further reports in December 2010, above and in January 2011, here.
Controversy over Mandarin - the East of Scotland European Consortium have argued that Scots’ poor record with languages provides an argument against Mandarin, reports the Times Educational Supplement Scotland. European languages should continue to be schools’ main concern, the body says in response to a European Commission consultation on “learning mobility”. However, Judith McClure, convener of the Scotland China Education Network, said, “the need to learn a language must not be decided on its degree of difficulty, but on its importance and use".
More details on new Scotland/China school links - a Chinese language and culture visit by a group Scottish pupils will take place this summer, while a further two Confucius Classroom Hubs are set to open, according a Scottish Government news release.
Scottish Government and COSLA responses to Parliamentary inquiry - on 26 January, the European and External Relations Committee of the Scottish Parliament considered responses from the Scottish Government and COSLA to its report on the Scottish Government's 'China Plan' (published 9 October 2009, see below). The Minutes noted that "the Committee considered responses received to its report on the Scottish Government's China Plan from the Scottish Government and from COSLA. The Committee agreed to note these responses and to continue to monitor the Scottish Government's strategy for engagement with China in the context of its future International inquiry".
The Scottish Government response is here, and that from COSLA here. There are some interesting comments on recent commercial and other developments.
New arrangements for school links with China - Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS) has signed a new agreement with Tianjin Municipal Education Commission, linking Scotland's 'Confucius Classrooms' with schools in this north-east Chinese city. The first visit by Scottish teachers, drawn from the Confucius Classroom hubs, will be in March 2010.
Scottish firm to help Chinese fertility - Burdica Biomed of St Andrew's has won a deal with Sinopharm, China's largest pharmaceutical company, to distribute a new fertility treatment in China.
Another parliamentary inquiry - the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee of the Scottish Parliament has announced an inquiry into "the public sector’s support for exporters, international trade and the attraction of inward investment" - see their call for evidence and this Scotsman article. This may explore further the work of Scottish Development International (SDI) in China, following some criticism during the recent 'China Plan' inquiry by the European and External Relations Committee.
'Offshore wind opportunities for Scotland in China ? - this article by Frank Boyland (Director, Asia for Scottish Development International) is an interesting overview of the prospects for Scottish energy companies in helping China develop its wind power capabilities. He concludes that while "...there are some restrictions to foreign investment and trade in China’s offshore wind sector that will need to be addressed if China is to fully benefit from the knowledge transfer it requires", once those are addressed, SDI sees "great potential for collaboration between China and Scotland in renewable energy technology transfer, and are working to support Scottish firms in establishing links with their Chinese counterparts to make the most of these opportunities".
Also relevant in this context is the UK government announcement on 8 January 2010, granting rights to various energy companies to develop offshore wind energy, including sites in the Moray Firth and Firth of Forth in Scotland - for more details, see this Department of Energy and Climate Change news release (archived from the previous UK government site).
Better protection for Scotch whisky - the Scottish Government has announced a new set of regulations to provide more protection for Scotch whisky, a key export to China, against imitation. For more details, see this news release.
Chinese Finance Minister at G-20 in St Andrew's - Xie Xuren attended the meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank governors held in St Andrews, under the auspices of the UK Government. See this China Daily report.
Parliamentary inquiry - the Scottish Parliament's European and External Relations Committee took additional evidence from Iain Smith MSP, Convenor of the Parliament's Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, who visited China as part of an SDI delegation 17-23 October. His evidence is reported here.
Chinese investment in cashmere - First Minister Alex Salmond attended an event to mark the purchase of Todd & Duncan Ltd by Ningxia Zhongyin Cashmere Company, see this news release. This deal had been reported on 18 June - see below.
Parliamentary scrutiny - final report - the Scottish Parliament's European and External Relations Committee has published its report on the Scottish Government's 'China Plan'. The report is available here. See also this BBC Scotland report, which quotes a Scottish Government spokesperson as saying "we will now study the report's recommendations carefully and respond fully in due course" - their formal reaction is expected around eight weeks after the Committee's publication of the report. There were also reports in The Herald and The Scotsman.
Cantonese in Scotland - an article in the Scottish Languages Review, available online here, provides a useful analysis of the main language spoken by the Chinese community in Scotland.
Progress since First Minister's visit - the Scottish Government issued a news release noting progress on a variety of issues since Alex Salmond's visit to China in April 2009.
James Legge at Huntly - On 25 September, Huntly celebrated the achievements of one of the town's most distinguished sons, missionary James Legge. His work has been marked by Chinese artists Deng Dafei and He Hai, who took up a residency at the invitation of the town’s Deveron Arts group.
Shandong signs high-tech MoU with Scotland - the Department of Science and Technology of Shandong province and Scottish Development International (SDI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 14 September to strengthen their scientific and technological exchanges. The two sides agreed to explore opportunities to increase exchanges in biotechnology and pharmaceutical fields and short-term training including exchanges of research scientists, training courses and student exchanges. For more, see this Xinhua article.
Scottish Transport Minister in China - Stewart Stevenson, the Scottish Government transport minister, visited Beijing and Tianjin around this time, according to the department's response to the Scottish Parliament's report on the 'China Plan' published on 26 January 2010. He attended the World Route Development Forum in Beijing and discussed possibilities for direct flights from Scotland to China, and also visited Standard Life Heng An in Tianjin.
Scottish leather for Chinese cars - Renfrewshire firm Bridge of Weir Leather has signed a deal to export leather to China for use in auto manufacturing - for more, see this BBC story.
Parliamentary enquiry - the European and External Relations of the Scottish Parliament met representatives of the Chinese community in Scotland - a note of the meeting is here.
Student summer school in Jinan - the University of Jinan, Shandong Province, China is to host a two-week delegation of 20 students from Glasgow Caledonian University in a celebration of the learning partnership between the two universities.
Chinese women join breast cancer trial in Scotland - breast cancer patients have for the first time been recruited from China to join a global trial of breast radiotherapy, reported the University of Edinburgh - see here for more details.
First Chinese teachers qualify in Scotland - it was reported that the first six teachers of Chinese will register with the General Teaching Council for Scotland in August - see this Scotsman story.
Golf developments - there were several Chinese angles to the Open Championship held at Turnberry. Firstly, First Minister Alex Salmond presented the first six memberships to The Scottish Prestige Golf Club (announced on 9 April, see below), to Chinese delegates during their visit (see Scottish Government news release. Secondly, Chinese player Liang Wenchong took part, see here. Finally, Taylor Li became the first mainland Chinese referee to take part in a golf major competition, see China Daily story.
New China-Scotland postgraduate links - the Scottish Government is to allocate £600,000 during the next two years to support a new post-graduate scheme designed to improve education links between Scotland and China, following an announcement by the Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop during her April visit to China. For more details, see the Scottish Government news release here.
Chinese cashmere firm acquires Scottish company - it was announced that Ningxia Zhongyin Cashmere Company had signed a deal to acquire Todd & Duncan at Kinross, the Scottish textile industry's last yarn spinner. For more details, see this Herald report, and this later Scottish Government news release.
Parliamentary enquiry - the European and External Relations Committee of the Scottish Parliament continued their evidence taking with a meeting with the Parliament's own Cross Party Group on China. Oral evidence can be read here, and a written submission from Standard Life can be read here.
First HSK Chinese exams in Scotland - a pioneering group of higher education and workplace students undertook the official Chinese language proficiency test known as HSK, the Chinese equivalent of the widely established English language IELTS test.
Food safety partnership - in a deal that is said to have been assisted by meetings during the recent First Minister's visit, Neogen Europe announced the creation of a jointly funded laboratory to research solutions to China-specific plant health and food safety issues. See this Scottish Government news release.
Parliamentary enquiry and First Minister's visit - as part of their scrutiny of the Scottish Government's 'China Plan', the European and External Relations Committee of the Scottish Parliament took oral evidence from Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Education, who accompanied Mr Salmond. The full text of this is available on the Parliament website here. Notably, the Minister and her officials :
confirmed that there will be a meeting in summer 2009 with key stakeholders in Scotland to discuss progress on the 'China Plan', and stressed the continuing need for all organisations in Scotland with China connections to work together
noted a very high degree of interest from Chinese officials in Scottish vocational qualifications
noted again that the Chinese are very interested in co-operation on renewable energy
explained that the Prestige Golf Club, announced during the visit, would be focused not just on "high end" tourism, but also on offering another way to influence Chinese business decisionmakers
Whisky event in Shanghai - around 8,000 people attended a "Whisky Live" event, seen in this video from the South China Morning Post.
Chinese Vice Premier's visit to Scotland - Wang Qishan, Chinese Vice Premier, visited Edinburgh as part of a UK trip. For details, see this Scottish Government news release and this Xinhua report. Other members of his party included Chen Deming, Minister from the Ministry of Commerce, and Xie Xuren, Minister of Finance.
Parliamentary scrutiny and SCDI Trade Mission - as part of their ongoing scrutiny of the Scottish Government 'China Plan', the Scottish Parliament's European and External Relations Committee took evidence from five organisations who attended accompanied the Secretary of State for Scotland and SCDI on their Trade Mission in March 2009. The report of the evidence is here, and copies of some written evidence submitted by four of the companies and SCDI can be found on the main Committee page here.
First Minister's visit - The Scottish Government answered a series of further nine Parliamentary Questions from George Foulkes MSP about preparations and arrangements for the visit, on topics including visit objectives, bookings, PR, liaison with UK departments, liaison with the Chinese government, and officials' travel arrangements.
First Minister's visit - The Scottish Government answered a Parliamentary Question about the visit, providing additional details of meetings and outcomes. Notable additional information included confirmation of discussions on seed potato export and food safety, of a meeting with the new Vice Minister for Education, Mr Hao Ping, and of a meeting with the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Lu Hui.
Scottish Ballet to visit China - The national dance company will take two of its productions to China in May. The Scottish Government is providing £100,000 from its International Touring Fund, allowing a tour of 'Carmen' and 'Pennies from Heaven' to Nanjing, Shanghai and Beijing. For more details, see here.
Scots photos of 1870s China - A remarkable set of photographs portraying life in China in the late Qing Dynasty is to go on public display for the first time, reports the Daily Telegraph. Taken between 1870 and 1871 by the Scottish photographer John "China" Thomson, the intimate images reveal a varied cast of characters from orphans and street gamblers, to beautiful peasant girls and their high-born ladies. More background on Thomson can be found on our timeline page here.
Whisky, energy and life sciences - On the last day of his China trip, following a meeting with Wang Yong, Chinese Minister of Quality Supervision, Protection and Quarantine, Alex Salmond reported that significant progress had been made on obtaining 'Geographic Indication of Origin' status for Scotch whisky (Scottish Government News Release). This would be an important step in providing greater legal protection for whisky. The event was reported buy the Scotsman, Herald, and BBC.
The First Minister also welcomed a collaboration between Edinburgh University’s Centre for Regenerative Medicine and a research centre at Beijing University that specialises in embryonic stem cells. However, this attracted some criticism from the Catholic Church in Scotland, according to this
In addition, Mr Salmond highlighted the Saltire Prize, a new competition for innovation in green marine energy, when he met Prof Lu Yongxiang, President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, one of the committee of experts who will judge the prize .
Meanwhile, Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop attended the launch in China of the world's first commercially available multi-articulating bionic hand, created by Touch Bionics (Scottish Government News Release). She also presided over the signing of a memorandum of understanding between University of Abertay Dundee and Peking University, which will see the Chinese university's School of Software and Microelectronics become and international partner of Abertay's Scottish Centre for Excellence for Computer Games Education (University news release). Ms Hyslop also visited Beijing Jiaotong University, which has a partnership with the SQA, and China's Central Academy of Fine Arts which has a partnership with Glasgow School of Art.
Protocol - Alex Salmond also was reported to have met the Vice Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Li Hui, with the Timesnoting that this was, in protocol terms, a lower ranking meeting than the one Jim Murphy had with the Foreign Minister himself, Yang Yeichi, on 26 March. However, given, in strict terms, the relative position of the devolved Scottish Government and the central UK government, this quite correct. The Scotsman discussed similar issues here.
Finance and schools - Today's main event in Shanghai was a Sino-Scottish Asset Management Forum, hosted by Shanghai Municipal Financial Services Office, SDI, and UK Trade and Investment. At this, Alex Salmond stressed that some £530m is managed directly in Scotland. He said, "Scotland has a lot to offer Shanghai in terms of knowledge transfer, training, business parts and educational programmes in the financial services industry", and that the country has "huge long term strengths in financial services" (Scottish Government news release). The same day, Scottish fund manager Martin Currie announced that it had obtained a mandate from China's national pension fund to manage some of the pension monies invested overseas.
Meanwhile, Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop visited Huiashao Secondary School in Nanxiang, Shanghai, which is developing links with Peebles High School (Scottish Government news release).
Finance and energy - First Minister Alex Salmond began his China visit with a meeting in Hong Kong with Chief Executive Donald Tsang and a speech to the British Chamber of Commerce in the city, outlined in this Scottish Government news release and this Scotsman story. There is also a Scottish Government video of his Chamber presentation on youtube.
It was also reported by the local South China Morning Post that Hong Kong utility firms Hongkong Electric Holdings and CLP Holdings have been invited by the Scottish Government to take part in the country's ambitious plan to sell excess wind power to England and Europe.
The electricity duo's expertise in managing underground power transmission cables would be useful to Scotland's plan to link its offshore wind farms to England and Europe, Salmond said.
Meanwhile, his colleague Fiona Hyslop announced a new venture by Napier University to provide business expertise to Scottish companies seeking to expand in Hong Kong and China.
First Minister's visit - More details were announced of First Minister Alex Salmond's trip to China, 5-11 April 2009. Several news outlets cover this, including the BBC and The Scotsmanhere and here. BBC political correspondent Glenn Campbell accompanied the delegation and blogged a few experiences throughout the week here.
Notably, the trip is intended to press for special intellectual property protection for Scots whisky in China, as well as supporting Scottish exports of renewable energy technology, financial services and education. The First Minister was accompanied by Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning ; Gavin Hewitt, Scotch Whisky Association ; and Jack Perry, Chairman of Scottish Enterprise.
It is also reported that Chinese Vice Premier and Finance Minister, Wang Qishan, is to visit Scotland in May as part of a wider trip to the UK. See entry above for 8 May 2009 for more details.
Adoption -The British Consul General in Shanghai, herself from Edinburgh, has adopted a Chinese child, reportsThe Scotsman.
Golf - A Chinese businessman has bought a collection of 7,000 antique hickory golf clubs from a Scottish collector for £120,000 (Daily Telegraph story).
Finance - Jim Murphy, Scottish Secretary, gave speech at Tsinghua University, Beijing on 'The Global economy, G20 and the Way Ahead : a view from Scotland and the UK' (Scotland Office news release). He also met Yang Yeichi, the Chinese Foreign Minister, and calls for Scotland to gain greater access to Chinese financial markets (Scotland Office news release) . He said he was due to meet Wang Qishan, Chinese Finance Minister, on 27 March. It is also reported that Murphy pressed the Chinese to loan two pandas to Edinburgh Zoo.
Global economy - Jim Murphy, Scottish Secretary, gave a speech at Hong Kong University, on Scotland's historical links with Hong Kong and the global economy (Scotland Office news release).
Trade mission - Jim Murphy, Scottish Secretary, and SCDI begin their trade mission in Hong Kong.
Why two visits ? - Opposition parties in Scottish Parliament criticise two impending ministerial missions to China in quick succession, one led by the Scottish Secretary, Jim Murphy, and SCDI, and one led by the First Minister, Alex Salmond (BBC news story, Scotsman story, Daily Telegraph comment).
Rural development - A Rural Policy Review of China is launched by the OECD. This project has been partly funded by The Scottish Government, with officials also contributing some of Scotland's recent rural policy experience. See here for a review of this publication by the Trust's Chairman.
DFID and China - The International Development Select Committee of the UK Parliament
published the report of its enquiry into the work of UK Department for International Development (DFID) in China (for more on the department's activity, see here).
Trade mission - The Scottish Council for Development and Industry announced that Jim Murphy, Secretary of State for Scotland will lead a trade mission of around 30 businesses and educational organisations to Hong Kong and Shanghai in late March 2009 (SCDI News Release).
Confucius Classrooms - Five more Confucius Classrooms, centres of excellence for the teaching of Mandarin Chinese and the promotion of a greater understanding and appreciation of Chinese culture, were opened in Scottish schools in early 2009. Each will support other schools in their area. These were at Bathgate Academy (Scottish Government news release), Hillhead High School, Glasgow
(Herald story), Our Lady's High School, Cumbernauld, St Ninian's High School, Bishopbriggs (Scottish Government news release), and Hazelhead Academy, Aberdeen.
It was also announced that a group of Scottish pupils will travel to China in 2009 as part of moves to develop cultural links and extend language learning (Scottish Government news release). A total of 51 pupils and nine teachers from selected schools across Scotland will have the chance to learn Chinese and gain first-hand experience of the country's culture. The visit is being organised by Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS) and the British Council, alongside the Hanban in China - the Office of Chinese Language Council International.
There are to be eight Confucius Classroom Hubs in all. Three have already been opened in St George's School, Edinburgh ; Perth High School, Perth, and Grange Academy, Ayrshire (Kilmarnock Standard report).
Confucius Institutes - Directors and staff of ten Confucius Institutes from around the UK met in Edinburgh for a full day meeting to discuss shared operational and development opportunities for the Confucius Institute Network, UK.
Second tier cities - The China Britain Business Council host a workshop in Edinburgh on its recent research into business opportunities for UK firms in China's "second tier cities". The report, conducted by CBBC and the Centre for International Business at the University of Leeds, investigated which regional cities in China offer the greatest business potential to UK companies. From a list of all cities with a population of over a million people, 35 were selected for their economic size, economic growth and population size to study in more detail.
High level meetings - Chinese Premier visited the UK as the guest of UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. They agreed a variety of measures on trade, science, and culture, notably agreeing to aim to double UK exports to China to £10bn by 2010 (various archived No. 10 reports on the visit are here). Wen gave a long and quite detailed interview to the Financial Times (full text).
Banking - The Royal Bank of Scotland sold its 4.3% holding in the Bank of China.
Parliamentary enquiry - Linda Fabiani MSP, Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture, Scottish Government, gave oral evidence to the European and External Relations Committee of the Scottish Parliament as part of its scrutiny of the Government's China Plan (Official Report).
Scottish shop - SDI announced that textile manufacturer Kinloch Anderson has opened a retail outlet in Beijing, to promote its quality menswear.
The teaching of China - Strathclyde University and the Scotland-China Education Network hosted a conference on the teaching of China in Scotland's schools. This was reported in Times Educational Supplement Scotland. Around 180 schools were represented.
New 'China Plan' published - the Scottish Government's 'China Plan' was announced by the Scottish National Party administration, see the news release and the Plan itself.
University of Abertay boosts links in Shanghai - Dundee's University of Abertay signed a memorandum of understanding with Shanghai University, committing both institutions to jointly explore the potential for academic collaboration in a number of areas including exchange visits by students and staff. For details, see this news release.
Education agreement - during her visit to China, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Learning Fiona Hyslop signed a 'Memorandum of Understanding' on education with the Chinese government. See this news release - the full text of the MoU is here.
'Scotland's International Engagement and the China Strategy' - this is a paper published by the Scottish Government, which reviewed levels of engagement with, and perceptions of, Scotland in China and vice versa. The full text is available here on the web or as a pdf. A related paper on marketing materials was published on the same day, and is available here. Please note that both these documents preceded the launch of the new SNP administration's 'China Plan' in May 2008, and relate to the impact of the previous Labour administration's 'China strategy'.
'China Strategy' published - the then Labour administration in the Scottish Executive published its document in greater engagement with China. See this
news release and the Strategy itself. Note that this document was superseded by the SNP administration's 'China Plan' published on 7 May 2008, see above.
Creation of Confucius Institute - the setting up of the Institute was announced - see this Scottish Executive news release.
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