HU Zhangliang, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of Sierra Leone
In September2018, His Excellency Chinese President Xi Jinping and 53 Heads of State and Government, Heads of Delegations from African countriesand the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) gathered in China for the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). The theme of the forum wasChina and Africa: Toward an Even Stronger Community with a Shared Future through Win-Win Cooperation.
1. What is an even stronger China-Africa community with a shared future?
An even stronger China-Africa community with a shared futurefeatures joint responsibility, win-win cooperation, happiness for all, common cultural prosperity, common securityand harmonious co-existence.China and Africa working together will better uphold our common interests, promote common development, boost the strength of developing countries and make the world a more balanced one for everyone to live in. This will set a good example for the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
2. Can China and Africa really build an even stronger community with a shared future?
The answer is YES. China and Africa have always been a community with a shared future. In history, China and Africa shared similar sufferings and common struggle against colonialism and hegemonism. The two sides stood together for national liberation and political independence. Currently, both China and Africa are faced with the same tasks of development.The two sides embrace an open world economy and the multilateral trading system, cherish the same vision for a multi-polar world and greater democracy in international relations,and reject protectionism and unilateralism. At present, when the international landscapeis undergoing profound changes,strengthening unity and cooperation to cope with the challenges of the times isa political consensus among China and African countries.
3. How can Africa benefit from an even stronger China-Africacommunity with a shared future?
For decades, China has been helping Africa by providing aid to the African side in agriculture, health, education, infrastructure and other people’s livelihood-related areas. China has aided or financed the building of over6,000 km of railways and over 10,000 km of roads, built more than 200 schools and nearly 100 hospitals, and trained more than 160,000 professional workers for Africa. China’s medical teams in African countries have treated 300 million patients. China has sent over 27,000 peace keepers under the UN framework to Africa for maintaining peace, stability and security. These and many other kinds of cooperation based on equality and mutual benefit corresponds to Africa’s economic and social development needs. African countries also provided valuable support to China in trying times such as 2008 Wen Chuan earthquake etc.
As for Sierra Leone, over the 48 years since China and Sierra Leone established diplomatic relations, China has dispatched 21 batches of medical teams to Sierra Leone, offering treatment to over 800,000 patients, performing more than 200,000 operations. During Sierra Leone’s difficult time of civil war, China stood with Sierra Leone on the side of peace and justice. During the Ebola epidemic, China was the first country to dispatch medical staff and chartered flights along with materials, food and cash aid. The 426 Chinese medical staff dispatched at that time treated 884 Ebola cases and trained 6,000 local health workers. The Youyi Building, the Siaka Stevens Stadium in Freetown, the Bo Stadium, the 3 hydropower stations in the provinces, the Youyi road, the Second Juba Bridge and the 3.2 km Ring Road in Freetown etc. were built or are under construction with Chinese government assistance. Up to now, over 800 Sierra Leonean students have benefited from Chinese government scholarships and over 4,600 Sierra Leoneans have benefited from various kinds of training programs in China. About 6900 tons of rice aid is in the process of being implemented. Several other important projects such as Sierra Leone Foreign Service Academy, Wilberforce Barracks refurbishing, Optical Fiber Backbone Network PhaseⅡ and so on are in the pipeline. Sierra Leone has reciprocated China by lending a helpful hand whenever there is a call in the political and diplomatic field. All these exemplify that an even stronger China-Africa community with a shared future is of real contents and fruitful results.
4. How will China and Africa build an even stronger community with a shared future?
While engaging with Africa, China will continue to follow the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith as well as the principle of pursuing the greater good and shared interests, as requested by H.E. President Xi Jinping. China will work closelywith African countries to implement the eight major initiatives as declared by H.E. President XI Jinping, which include industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity,trade facilitation, green development, capacity building, health care, people-to-people exchange, and peace and security.
At the FOCAC Beijing Summit, President Xi announced that China will adhere to a “four-uphold” and “five-nos” approach in conducting cooperation with Africa. The “four-uphold” is (1) uphold sincerity, friendship and equality; (2) uphold common interests while putting friendship first; (3) uphold a people-oriented approach in pursuing practical cooperation with efficiency;(4) uphold openness and inclusiveness. And the “five-nos” are: (1) no interference in African countries’ pursuit of development path that fits their national conditions; (2) no interference in African countries’ internal affairs; (3) no imposition of China’s will on African countries; (4) no attachment of political strings to assistance to Africa; (5) no seeking of selfish political gains in investment and financing cooperation with Africa.
Chinawill continue to honour her words with concrete efforts. I believe that our African brothers and sisters will do the same. On the road to common development and prosperity, China and Africa will always march forward hand in hand through thick and thin.