On September 1, 2009, ChinaCulture.Org interviewed China’s former Ambassador Hua Liming at his apartment in Beijing about the cultural exchanges between China and the various countries he was stationed in since the foundation of the People’s Republic of China.
Ambassador Hua was one of the first students to learn Farsi in New China and graduated from Beijing University in 1963. Between 1963 and 1983, he worked for the Chinese Embassy to Afghanistan, the Department of West Asian and North African Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, and the Chinese Embassy to Iran.
His lengthy and successful career continued in the 1990s. Between 1991 and 1995, he was the Ambassador to Iran, between 1995 and 1998 he was the Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and from 1998 to 2001, Hua held the position of Ambassador to the Netherlands. Ambassador Hua also once worked as an interpreter for senior leaders such as Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi, Chen Yi and Deng Xiaoping.
The Ambassador is currently, a guest researcher at the China Institute of International Studies, and executive member of the United Nations Association of China.
Host: Your childhood dream was to become a musician. Did this dream make you place much emphasis on musical exchanges when you were an ambassador stationed abroad? Would you please share some stories with us?
Ambassador Hua: Since my parents were Christian believers, I used to go to church with them and found the songs sung by the choir very beautiful. Obsessed with music, I dreamed of being a composer or music conductor in the future, and I even planned to go to a conservatory of music after graduation from high school. Unexpectedly, I was recommended for admission to the Beijing Foreign Institute to study English and diplomacy. But I have never given up music. I’ve learned to play the erhu [Chinese violin] and I play it well. When studying at Beijing University, besides being a conductor, I found myself in the first erhu Chair. I think I have realized half of my dream.
When working as the ambassador stationed abroad, I took my erhu with me. As the ambassador to the Netherlands, they knew I loved music, so they used to give me tickets for concerts held in the Amsterdam Concert Hall, and I always accepted these invitations.
During my service in the Netherlands, the famous Chinese pianist Li Yundi joined in the international piano competition held there. I watched every competition of his. I feel proud that he got third place, although frankly speaking he played the best in my eyes.