LONDON, April 23 (Xinhua) -- The boat of cross-national exchange of trade and economies could not proceed without rowing the oars of civilian forces.
For more than half a century, the Perry family in Britain has kept the faith of the "icebreaker" spirit, committing their lives to advancing the ship of Sino-British relations.
Stephen Perry, 70 and a Londoner, currently serves as the chairman of the 48 Group Club, a British trade organization that provides policy interpretation, information consultancy, legal assistance and other services for both British and Chinese companies.
After graduation from university, Perry's work has been focused on China. "In the first year, it was buying and selling what China wanted to buy and sell, and then when reform and opening up happened, we could look at trying to put deals together, which were (more) long term," he said.
At the end of March every year, Stephen and his daughter Jodie, who is 38 years old and also works at the 48 Group Club, visited a cemetery in Hampstead Garden Suburb in North London to pay their respects to Stephen's father, Jack.
In the early 1950s, a strong delegation from Britain led by Jack, then chairman of the London Export Corporation, broke through the barriers of that time and arrived in Beijing.
The next year, Jack and 47 other British political and business leaders visited China again for formal trade talks. They played the role of the "icebreakers" for Sino-British relations, and later formed the 48 Group Club.
After the death of Jack in 1997, Stephen assumed his father's career.
Stephen had more to share with his father after being awarded the China Reform Friendship Medal by the Chinese government in December 2018 for his role as a promoter of Sino-British economic and trade exchanges.
"Even today, quite a number of people still don't approve of what we do. I think, with time, people can see that China has returned as a major nation, and my father had a lot to do with that," Stephen said.
In 2013, when the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was proposed by the Chinese government, Stephen became one of the first to study the initiative. In the beginning, he was thought to be mad when trying to explain the BRI to big companies.
"Now they're realizing that they can either sit back and try and protect the West behind the Bamboo Curtain, but then they lose half the world's markets, or they are going to work with the Chinese companies to open up this whole vast area called Eurasia, rebuild the Middle East and create an Industrial Revolution in Africa," Stephen said.
"If that isn't enough for the business of the world for the next hundred years, I don't have any better ideas than that," he added.
The BRI aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa on and beyond the ancient Silk Road routes. It comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
"China invested heavily in the infrastructure of China before it started urbanization and the same is going to be true of the BRI. I think we'll see a greater urbanization occurring in about 15 or 20 years time, once the basic infrastructure is in place," Stephen said.
"Sharing is the essence of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, and sharing is the essence of the BRI," he said.