On May 2, 2012, Vice Premier Li Keqiang took a ride to a Belgian friendly personnel Henri Lederhandler's house and met with a number of Belgian friendly personnel there. Li held talks with them in a warm and friendly atmosphere.
Henri Lederhandler once served as the chairman of Belgian-Chinese Economic and Commercial Council (BCECC) and has been committed to promoting friendship between Belgium and China over the years. He and other guests, including Chairman of the BCECC Bernard Dewit, Director of the Brussels Institute of Contemporary China Studies Gustaaf Geeraerts and a Belgian professor who is the first foreigner teaching French in Beijing Foreign Studies University, warmly welcomed Li Keqiang.
Henri recalled his more than 20 visits to China since the 1950s and his meeting with late Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou Enlai. Full of pride and deep feeling with China, he told Li that his son Eric, a conductor, has also been engaged in cultural exchanges in China.
Dewit said that China has experienced enormous changes and created a miracle over the past 30 years, which made them more determined to develop friendship between the two countries. Geeraerts noted that China is a great country and its leaders are running the nation well and full of vigor. He hopes China continues to grow. The Belgian professor said that China has become more prosperous compared with the 1960s when he taught French in Beijing. It is a remarkable achievement that China has lifted tens of millions of people out of poverty within a relatively short period of time.
Their remarks prove that China-Belgium friendship is solid and profound, said Li. No matter how the world situation fluctuates, China-Belgium friendship will remain unchanged. He expressed gratitude to the Belgian friendly personnel for their important role of promoting the friendship and deepening the mutual understanding between China and Belgium and for always standing side by side with the Chinese people. They will be the good friends of the Chinese people forever. China-Belgium friendship runs throughout the life of Henri. Such a vivid history should be written into a book and passed on to the youth of both countries. He hopes that the young generations of China and Belgium could promote the friendship initiated by the older generation.
Li added that a sound environment and favorable conditions have been created for the development of China-Belgium friendship. He firmly believes that such friendship will grow stronger and China-Belgium relations will embrace a better future.
Henri's daughter-in-law and a number of Belgian students who are learning Chinese played Chinese music "Beautiful Night" and "Fengyang Flower Drum" for the guests and added a cozy atmosphere to this memorable gathering together.