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Rare volumes part of series of cultural exchanges on horizon

By HARVEY MORRIS | China Daily UK | Updated: 2016-12-08 18:26

A Shakespeare First Folio and rare copies of works by Charles Dickens, the Bronte sisters and by Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle will go on display in Beijing next year as part of a series of exchanges settled at this week's UK-China High Level People-to-People Dialogue.

Agreements covering culture, science, health and education were among those reached at the dialogue, held this year in Shanghai.

UK Health Minister Jeremy Hunt, leading the British delegation, said: "We are both global powers with a global outlook. In a golden era for our two nations, we are working together on global issues, building economies for the future, and developing our strong trade, investment and people-to-people links."

Hunt also took the opportunity at a news conference to reassure China about the impact of Britain's exit from the European Union.

"It is incredibly important that China and our other partners and friends across the world know, this is in no way about Britain closing its doors to the outside world," he said."Our past successes as a nation over many centuries have been because we've been one of the greatest trading nations on the planet. You've seen that in this region with the great success of Hong Kong."

The Shakespeare First Folio will go on display at the National Library of China from April as part of a 1.6 million pound cultural exchange program funded by the UK government.

Other agreements signed in Shanghai include a plan to stage a British museum exhibition displaying a history of the world in 100 objects, also to go on show in Beijing next year.

A treaty was also signed on television production with the aim of developing collaboration between both countries' industries.

On the science front, there was agreement on identifying key areas, new models and funding mechanisms for collaboration focused on innovation, applied research and joint centers.

In education, the nations outlined priority areas for cooperation beyond this year that will include basic education, language teaching, technical and professional training, higher education and exchanges.

UK Education Minister Justine Greening said at the forum: "The UK and China share many priorities in the field of education, and we both recognize and highly value the benefits of international collaboration."

There are also plans to develop a UK-China training scheme to help nurture Chinese soccer coaches.

The writer is a senior media consultant for China Daily.

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