Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd enthralled his audience at Peking University with an intimate grasp of China affairs and a thorough understanding of global politics yesterday.
He called for a "synthesis" of Beijing's vision of a harmonious world and global expectations of China as a "responsible stakeholder".
In a 40-minute speech delivered in fluent Putonghua, Rudd said the two concepts share the "same idea at its core" - China being a participant in the world order and, along with others, acting in accordance with that order.
"The global community looks forward to China fully participating in all the institutions of the global order," Rudd said. "And we look forward to China making active contributions to the enhancement of that order in the future."
Rudd stressed his opposition to calls for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics.
"Some have called for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics because of recent problems in Tibet ... I do not agree," Rudd said.
"I believe the Olympics are important for China's continuing engagement with the world," he said.
The speech marks the start of the prime minister's first official visit to China. He is scheduled to hold talks with his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao in Beijing today and President Hu Jintao in Hainan province on the sidelines of the Boao Forum for Asia on Saturday.
About 1,000 students, some from abroad, filled up the lecture hall - a traditional Chinese building - to hear a foreign leader address them in Chinese for the first time.
Rudd's speech, with a sprinkling of Chinese jokes and mentions of historical events including the May 4th Movement, elicited great applause.
On May 4, 1919, Beijing students took to the streets protesting against the then warlord-led government, which planned to sign a humiliating international pact.
The demonstration triggered widespread protests across the country. The movement also served as a campaign to fight against feudalism and promote democracy and science.
Rudd also recalled how former Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam's 1973 visit to China inspired his interest in the "extraordinary country" and the remarkable changes that have taken place in China over the past three decades.
"The scale and pace of China's economic development and social transformation are unprecedented in human history."
Talking about his maiden visit to China as prime minister, Rudd singled out climate change as an important part of his discussions with the Chinese leadership.
Climate change is not just one big future challenge for both countries, but also one key issue of the idea of a harmonious world because it is about harmony with nature, he said.
"It is important that China play an increasingly prominent role on climate change."
1. Where did Prime Minister Rudd’s speech take place yesterday?
2. How long did the visiting official speak for in fluent putongua?
3. What was PM Rudd’s opinion regarding the Beijing Olympics?
1. Peking University.
2. 40 minutes.
3. He believed there should be no boycott as it was very important for China’s continuing engagement with the world.
（英语点津 Helen 编辑）
About the broadcaster:
Brendan joined The China Daily in 2007 as a language polisher in the Language Tips Department, where he writes a regular column for Chinese English Language learners, reads audio news for listeners and anchors the weekly video news in addition to assisting with on location stories. Elsewhere he writes Op’Ed pieces with a China focus that feature in the Daily’s Website opinion section.
He received his B.A. and Post Grad Dip from Curtin University in 1997 and his Masters in Community Development and Management from Charles Darwin University in 2003. He has taught in Japan, England, Australia and most recently China. His articles have featured in the Bangkok Post, The Taipei Times, The Asia News Network and in-flight magazines.