Outside the historic Sheldonian Theatre in the University of Oxford amid drizzles in a typical British late afternoon, the queue seemed unusually long.
More than 500 students and academicians, undeterred by the coldness and darkness of winter, were waiting to listen to a keynote speech by Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong who is on a four-day visit to Britain.
"What I am most interested in is the political and economic development of China in the next 10 to 15 years and how China can continue its growth and offers opportunities to others," said Logan Graham, a student in Oxford studying artificial intelligence.
"It is deeply important that we understand China and potentially vice versa as well,"said Graham who plans to seek his career opportunities in Shanghai after finishing his PhD.
Liu, the first high-level Chinese official visiting Britain since the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in October this year, delivered a speech themed "Deepening People to People Exchange and Boosting the Development of the Golden Era."
During her speech, Liu expounded China's development goals and targets put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping as China strives to become a moderately prosperous society by 2020 and a modernized socialist country by 2049, the centenary of the People's Republic of China.
"China is embarking on a new journey in pursuit of growth with higher quality, more efficiency and equality," said Liu, adding that a strong, open and innovative China is offering new opportunities for international students and youths.
On China-Britain ties, Liu said this year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Britain.
China-Britain relations, with highly integrated interests, stand at a new historic point and people-to-people exchanges serve as the social and civil foundation of the bilateral ties.
During her trip, Liu will chair on Thursday, jointly with British Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt, the fifth annual UK-China High-Level People-to-People Dialogue, which is the highest-level bilateral dialogue held in Britain this year.
Liu proposed in her speech that the two sides should continue to expand people-to-people exchanges in such field as health, education and science and technology, to enhance mutual understanding between the two peoples as substantial results have been achieved since the mechanism was launched five years ago.
The Chinese vice premier on Wednesday witnessed the inauguration of Oxford Institute of Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS), a landmark cooperative project between CAMS and University of Oxford, seen as a milestone of cooperation in medical studies between the two countries.
During her speech, Liu suggested universities from both countries step up cooperation in such fields as medical studies and health, artificial intelligence, digital economy, creative industries and renewable energy etc.
Graham, who clearly sees his career opportunity in China and plans to study Mandarin soon, said "China offers the great opportunity in the next 20 years, and my dream might be there."
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