Chinese Embassy Holds Symposium on China’s Development and Foreign Policy

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By John Sheka Popay Tarawalie

The Chinese Embassy in Sierra Leone has held a one-day symposium on China’s Development and Foreign Policy. The event took place at the Bintumani Hotel in Freetown on Thursday 20th August 2020.

The Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone H.E HU Zhangliang in his statement Thank dignitaries for attending the symposium. And said it his pleasure to share with the audience his point of view on China’s development and foreign policy.

“Not long ago, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a staggering and even ridiculous speech at the Nixon Presidential Library in California, claiming that the kind of engagement the U.S. has been pursuing has not brought the kind of change inside of China that President Nixon had hoped to induce”, and calling for “a new alliance of democracies” to change “Communist China”. Pompeo’s speech reflects the deep-rooted Cold War mentality and arrogant ideological prejudices of some U.S. politicians. Fortunately, not many people buy Pompeo’s argument, not even in the United States. This is because his accusations on China are groundless, distorting the facts and anachronistic, either from historical or practical perspective” H.E HU Zhangliang maintained.

The Ambassador added that China is a country that is boasting of a long history of nearly 5,000 years with splendid civilization and that the ancient Chinese created miracles such as the Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors. The “Four Inventions” of ancient China, namely the gunpowder, compass, papermaking and printing had profoundly changed the world. He said the various schools of thoughts founded by ancient Chinese philosophers and scholars are still shining today. He said according to some historian economists at Oxford University, China’s GDP had been the largest in the world for a large part of human history and in 1800 accounted for 32.9% of the world’s total.

H.E HU Zhangliang furthered that China is a country that has created miracles of human development, noting that over the past 70 years since the founding of the New China, especially over the past 40 years of reform and opening-up, China has undergone earth-shaking changes. He continued that the Chinese nation has stood up, grown rich, and is becoming strong. He revealed that 70 years ago, China was one of the poorest and most backward countries in the world but today, China has grown into the world’s second-largest economy, the largest industrial country, the largest trader in goods and the biggest holder of foreign exchange reserves.

The Ambassador further revealed that China’s contribution rate to global economic growth has exceeded 30% for several years. Noting that 40 years ago, China’s per capita GDP was less than US$200, and today, it is over US$10,000.  He added that more than 800 million people have been lifted out of poverty. People’s average life expectancy has been increased from 35 to 77 years. He said in 2019, China’s total GDP reached 14.4 trillion US dollars, accounting for more than 16% of the world’s share.

“China is the largest developing country in the world and is moving forward towards realizing the “two centenary” goals and the Chinese Dream of great national rejuvenation” the Ambassador revealed.

The Minister of Information and Communication Hon. Mohamed Rahman Swaray was the Guest of Honor for the one-day symposium. In his statement, the Minister stated that China and  Sierra Leone have enjoyed and continue to enjoy a deep traditional friendship, noting that over the past 49 years, the bilateral relationship has been developing smoothly with close high-level exchanges, deep political mutual trust and fruitful cooperation in economic, social and cultural fields. He noted that in 2016, China and Sierra Leone established a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.

Minister Swaray added that the Chinese Government has always attached great importance to Africa, noting that it has always been an important component of China’s independent foreign policy of peace to develop and strengthen the friendly relations and cooperation with the developing countries, including Sierra Leone. The minister highlighted five basic principles on the vision of China’s Africa policy, which are: building China-Africa community with a shared future is the ultimate goal of development of China-Africa relations, the principle of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith and the right approach to justice and interests serve as the guiding principles for the development of China-Africa relations, building a comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership is the basic approach to the development of China-Africa relations, the “Belt and Road” Initiative and the FOCAC as crucial mechanisms for China-Africa cooperation and the “five connectivity” and “eight major initiatives” which are specific approaches to China-Africa cooperation.

Hon. Mohamed Swaray noted that the growth in bilateral ties between the two countries has witnessed a huge surge when both countries decided to upgrade relations on a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership in line with the implementation of the outcome of the Johannesburg Summit Forum on the China-Africa forum (FOCAC), which both countries saw as an opportunity to comprehensively expand and deepen bilateral, friendly as well mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields so as to better benefit the people.

The minister of Information and Communications revealed that his ministry in August last year signed a concessional loan agreement of 30 million US Dollars with the Export-Import  Bank of the Peoples Republic of China and also a lending agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the Sierra Leone Cable Limited (SALCAB) in the Ministry of Finance conference room in Freetown.  He furthered that the loan agreement for the National Fibre Optic Phase 2 has a negotiated interest rate of one percent and is expected to be repaid in 15 years after a grace period of 5 years.

The Minister further revealed that Sierra Leone has always been firmly adhering to One-China policy and consistently giving her support on issues related to China’s core interests and major concerns. “The Chinese people will never forget that it was Sierra Leone and other friendly countries that helped China resumed her legitimate seat in the United Nations in 1971. In a word, China and Sierra Leone are true, good friends who can go through thick and thin together”, the minister noted.

Chinese Ambassador H.E Hu Zhangliang, Minister of Information and Communication Hon. Mohamed Rahman Swaray, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Hon. Senepoh Thomas, Deputy Ministers, Dignitaries from various MDAs, Friends from Sierra Leone-China Friendship organization and the Fourth Estate graced the event.

Chinese Ambassador Speech  

Hon. Mr. Mohamed Swaray, Minister of Information and Communications,

Hon. Deputy Ministers, Hon. Deputy Speaker,

Distinguished guests,

Dear Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you all for attending today’s symposium. It’s my pleasure to share with you my point of view on China’s development and foreign policy.

Not long ago, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a staggering and even ridiculous speech at the Nixon Presidential Library in California, claiming that the kind of engagement the U.S. has been pursuing has not brought the kind of change inside of China that President Nixon had hoped to induce”, and calling for “a new alliance of democracies” to change “Communist China”. Pompeo’s speech reflects the deep-rooted Cold War mentality and arrogant ideological prejudices of some U.S. politicians. Fortunately, not many people buy Pompeo’s argument, not even in the United States. This is because his accusations on China are groundless, distorting the facts and anachronistic, either from historical or practical perspective.

I believe our friends here have your own fair judgment on what kind of country China is, what kind of party the Communist Party of China is and what kind of foreign policy China pursues. I would like to take this opportunity to share my observations.

First, what kind of country is China?

China is a country boasting a long history of nearly 5,000 years with splendid civilization. The ancient Chinese created miracles such as the Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors. The “Four Inventions” of ancient China, namely the gunpowder, compass, papermaking and printing had profoundly changed the world. The various schools of thoughts founded by ancient Chinese philosophers and scholars are still shining today. The Poems of Tang and Song Dynasties, Operas of Yuan Dynasty and Four Great Classical Novels of Ming and Qing Dynasties are brilliant cultural legacies. Stories of friendly exchanges between ancient China and the world, such as the ancient Silk Road and Zheng He’s voyages to the Indian Ocean area are still popular today. Historical eras such as the Wen and Jing in the Han Dynasty (about 2200 to 2300 years ago), Zhen Guan and Kai Yuan in the Tang Dynasty (about 1390 years ago), Kang Xi and Qian Long in the Qing Dynasty (about 230 to 370 years ago) were highly prosperous. According to some historian economists at Oxford University, China’s GDP had been the largest in the world for a large part of human history and in 1800 accounted for 32.9% of the world’s total.

China is a country with strong perseverance, unyielding spirit and profound tenacity. Following the advent of modern times about 180 years ago, due to the aggression of the Western powers and the corruptness of China’s feudal rulers, China was gradually reduced to a semi-colonial, semi-feudal society. As the land of China was laid to occupation and its people plagued into misery, the Chinese nation experienced unprecedented sufferings and was on the verge of collapse and elimination. The Opium War, the Japanese Aggression War of 1894-1895, the Eight-Power Allied Army’s invasion of China, and the Japanese War of Aggression from 1931 to 1945 on China are all humiliating memories that the Chinese people will never forget. In pursuit of national independence and people’s freedom and happiness, countless heroes of China fought and sacrificed one after another until achieving the final victory. In the end, under the staunch leadership of the Communist Party of China, the Chinese people toppled the three mountains of imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat-capitalism that had been oppressing them and founded the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949.

China is a country that created miracles of human development. Over the past 70 years since the founding of New China, especially over the past 40 years of reform and opening up, China has undergone earth-shaking changes. The Chinese nation has stood up, grown rich, and is becoming strong. 70 years ago, China was one of the poorest and most backward countries in the world. Today, China has grown into the world’s second largest economy, the largest industrial country, the largest trader in goods and the biggest holder of foreign exchange reserves. China’s contribution rate to global economic growth has exceeded 30% for several years. 40 years ago, China’s per capita GDP was less than US$200, and today, it’s over US$10,000. More than 800 million people have been lifted out of poverty. People’s average life expectancy has been increased from 35 to 77 years. In 2019, China’s total GDP reached 14.4 trillion US dollars, accounting for more than 16% of the world’s share.

China is the largest developing country in the world, and is moving forward towards realizing the “two centenary” goals and the Chinese Dream of great national rejuvenation. Notwithstanding the spectacular achievements made in the past 70 years, China remains a developing country. China’s development is still unbalanced and inadequate, faced with challenges and risks. In 2019, China ranks the 71st in the world in per capita GDP and the 91st in human development index. At present, the principal contradiction facing the Chinese society is the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life. In 2020, China will secure a decisive victory in Building a Moderately Prosperous Society in All Respects. China will achieve the goal of poverty alleviation as scheduled and solve the problem of absolute poverty that has plagued the Chinese nation for thousands of years. China’s strategic goal is to: by 2035, basically realize socialist modernization; and by the middle of the 21st century, develop China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful and realize the great national rejuvenation.

Second, what kind of party is the Communist Party of China?

The original aspiration and the mission of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is to seek happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation. The CPC was founded in 1921, at a time of unprecedented social crisis when our people were beset by domestic turmoil and foreign aggression. Before the CPC, all other political forces in China had tried to find a way to save the country and the people, but they all ended in failure. The CPC rallied the Chinese people and led them in a 28-year hard struggle, during which they defeated the Japanese imperialist aggressors, overthrew the reactionary rule of the Kuomintang party, completed the new democratic revolution, and established a New China. The CPC has grown from merely 50 members at the start to the largest party in the world with more than 90 million members, fully demonstrating the party’s advanced nature and strong vitality. The leadership status of CPC in China is the choice of the Chinese history and the Chinese people.

The CPC is people-centered and serves the people wholeheartedly. The CPC insists that development is for the people, by the people, and of the people. Either in war period or peaceful time, either in fighting floods and earthquakes or in combating COVID-19, the CPC has always been together with the people, and has always insisted that the people’s interests are supreme. The Constitution of the CPC clearly stipulates that the party has no selfish interests and members of the CPC must wholeheartedly serve the people. In the current fight against COVID-19, the CPC is leading the Chinese people to save lives and treat patients at all costs. Among the recovered patients are 17-day old newborn infant and 108 years old grandma. The relationship between the CPC and the Chinese people is as close as “flesh and blood” or “soil and seed”. The aspirations of the people to live a better life are always the focus of CPC’s efforts. This is the secret for the CPC’s extreme popularity and China’s great success. Not long ago, The Harvard Kennedy School’s surveys in China suggest that over 93% of the Chinese people are satisfied with the central government which is led by the CPC.

The CPC is a party that moves with the times. Throughout the eras of revolution, construction, reform and opening-up, the party has continued to seek truth from facts and to formulate policies that conform to the historical trend and meet people’s expectations. For more than 40 years of reform and opening up, under the leadership of the CPC, China has introduced more than 1,600 reform plans, rolled out major reforms such as household contract system with remuneration linked to the output in rural areas, establishment of Special Economic Zones, reform of state-owned enterprises, joining the WTO, establishment of pilot Free Trade Zones and Free Trade Ports. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core further implemented the five-sphere integrated plan (the overall plan for promoting economic, political, cultural, social and ecological progress) and the four-pronged comprehensive strategy (moves to finish building a moderately prosperous society; deepen reform; advance the law-based governance of China; and strengthen Party self-discipline). By reforming the economic, administrative and social governance system, the CPC made sure that the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of Chinese people have been profoundly changed and greatly improved.

The CPC is a party that is committed to forever self-purification, self-perfection, self-renewal and self-progression. The CPC practices strict self-governance in every respect. According to General Secretary Xi Jinping, to tackle corruption, the Party must crack down on the “flies” at the bottom and the “tigers” higher up and exercise “zero tolerance”. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, more than two hundred officials of or above ministerial level have been brought down for corruption. China brought back 7,831 corrupted officials from more than 120 countries and regions from 2014 to June 2020, with 19.6 billion yuan (2.8 billion USD) of illegal gains recovered.

The Communist Party of China is a party that is willing to treat other friendly parties around the world as equals and learn from each other. Based on the principles of independence, equality, mutual respect and non-interference in each other parties’ internal affairs, the CPC develops friendly exchanges and cooperation with various political parties in different countries. Up to now, the CPC has established various forms of relations with more than 600 parties and political organizations in more than 160 countries and regions with a view to enhancing mutual understanding and promoting state to state relations, regardless of whether they are big or small, in power or in opposition, similar or different in ideologies with the CPC.

Third, what kind of foreign policy does China pursue?

China pursues an independent foreign policy of peace, and is ready to enhance friendship and cooperation with all other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. In the past seven decades and more since the founding of the People’s Republic, China never provoked a war, or occupied an inch of land of others. China has enshrined in the National Constitution its commitment to peaceful development and China is the first country in the world to make such a solemn pledge. China is the largest contributor of UN peacekeepers among the five permanent members of the Security Council and the second largest contributor of UN peacekeeping fund. China actively seeks for political settlement of major regional hotspot issues under the UN framework, such as the Iranian nuclear issue, the Syria issue, the South Sudan issue, and the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue. China will continue to follow the path of peaceful development, and will never seek hegemony or expansionism. China will always be a staunch force for peace in the world.

China pursues a foreign policy of upholding international fairness and justice. China does not affiliate itself with any country, nor seeks to control any country or form confrontational alliances against other countries. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China always stands on the side of peace and justice, speaks out for developing countries and works with others to foster a more fair and equitable international order and system. China has been a signatory to almost all international treaties and agreements, and has been faithfully fulfilling its due international responsibilities and obligations, rather than quiting the treaties or agreements whenever its own interests are not served, as certain country has been doing.

China pursues a foreign policy of building a community with a shared future for mankind. Guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, China promotes the construction of a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation and a community with a shared future for mankind. China actively promotes the Belt and Road Initiative to achieve mutual benefit and common development for all. Facing the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese people and people of other countries went to each other’s aid. H.E. President Xi Jinping has engaged in intensive discussions with other world leaders to promote international cooperation on combating the virus, so as to build a global community of health for all. Through massive efforts and with rigorous measures and enormous sacrifice, China emerged as one of the first countries to stem the spread of the disease, contributing substantially to the global fight against COVID-19. While combating virus at home, China has provided strong support to other countries. All these stand in stark contrast with certain country’s selfishness, blame-shifting and zero-sum game.

China pursues a foreign policy that values relations with developing countries especially African countries. Solidarity and cooperation with African countries is an important basis of China’s foreign policy and a long-term and firm strategic choice of China. At the time when African countries were struggling for national independence and liberation, China always took the lead in providing timely moral and material support and swiftly recognizing newly independent African countries. African countries gave strong support to help restore China’s legitimate seat in the United Nations. For more than half a century, China and Africa have always been together through thick and thin, the mutual-beneficial and win-win cooperation between China and Africa have deepened, and the two sides have formed a close community with a shared future.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China and African countries have been supporting each other firmly. The important proposals put forward by H.E. President Xi Jinping at the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19 were warmly received by African countries. China has provided a large amount of anti-epidemic medical supplies assistance to African countries. Resident Chinese medical teams based in 45 African countries have taken an active part in the local fighting against the pandemic. Furthermore, China has sent a total of 148 medical workers to 11 African countries.

Up to now, the Chinese side has provided 7 batches of medical supply donation to Sierra Leone, including more than 17,000 PPEs, 300,000 face masks, 32,000 testing kits, and a considerable amount of medical goggles, gloves, shoe covers, thermometer guns and ventilators etc.. The 3 Chinese medical expert teams have been working day and night on the frontline with their Sierra Leonean colleagues. The Chinese Embassy in Sierra Leone has been providing supports to various groups in Sierra Leone to the best of its capability. The major cooperation projects between China and Sierra Leone are proceeding on smoothly to support the latter’s socio-economic development.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

Will such a country, such a political party, and such foreign policies be a threat to the world? What is the sin of China’s pursuit of development? Is the cheese of anyone moved? What is the intention of those people clamoring for the establishment of “a new alliance of democracies” to change the “Communist China”?

The Chinese culture values peace, cooperation, amity and good neighborliness. The Chinese cultural genes determine that China is always a force to uphold world peace and promote human development and progress. China is widely recognized as a staunch force in safeguarding world peace, contributing to global development, and upholding international order. China is in the firm belief that countries with different historical backgrounds and cultures, different ideologies and different social systems can coexist in harmony and cooperate for win-win result.

At present, COVID-19 is still ravaging the world, posing unprecedented challenges to mankind. With anti-globalization, unilateralism and protectionism on the rise, multilateralism has suffered setbacks and global governance system needs to be urgently improved. In the face of mounting global challenges, watching from an apparently safe distance and sitting by idly will eventually backfire. Pointing fingers, self-conceit and scapegoating at others will only end up damaging one’s own reputation.

It is not China that is threatening the current international order, but certain country which is placing its own interests above everyone else and pursuing unilateralism and hegemonism. The politicians in that country provoked trade frictions, mobilized state power against Huawei and other private Chinese companies, closed the Chinese general consulate unreasonably, and kept taking provocative actions in the South China Sea to stir up troubles. They also spread “political viruses” shamelessly by politicizing the virus and stigmatizing China, grossly interfered in Hong Kong affairs which fall within China’s internal affairs. They backed the “Hong Kong Independence”, “Taiwan independence” secession forces. They attempted to drive a wedge between the Chinese government and the Chinese people, and between different ethnic groups in China so as to disrupt China’s peaceful development. They accused Huawei of installing “backdoor” with no evidence and fabricated “Huawei risk” in the name of national security. However, the fact is that over the past 30 years, Huawei has developed over 1,500 networks in more than 170 countries and regions, having 228 Fortune 500 companies as clients and serving more than three billion people all over the world. Not a single cyber security incident like those revealed by Edward Snowden or Wiki Leaks has there been. Not a single tapping or surveillance operation like PRISM, Equation Group or ECHELON has there been. And not a single country has produced evidence of any backdoors in Huawei products. Therefore, those people are not entitled to build a coalition of “clean countries” because they themselves are dirty all over.

Let’s go back to Pompeo, who publicly stated in a speech in April 2019: “We (He meant CIA) lied, we cheated, we stole. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment. ” (End of quote) These words portrayed the true faces of politicians in certain countries. The purpose of these people is to contain and destabilize China by attacking the leadership role of the CPC and China’s path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. However, unfortunately, they have never succeeded, and they will never succeed!

The fundamental goal of China’s development is to bring about a better life for the Chinese people and contribute more to regional and global peace, stability, development and prosperity. China has no desire for global hegemony. China is always willing to develop friendly relations with all countries on the basis of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit, win-win cooperation. Although facing major changes in the international situation unseen in a century, China’s door to the outside world will only open wider. As H.E. President Xi Jinping pointed out,” China is the world’s second largest economy. We have a market of more than 1.3 billion consumers who live on the land of over 9.6 million square kilometers. To use a metaphor, the Chinese economy is not a pond, but an ocean. Big winds and storms may upset a pond, but never an ocean. Having experienced numerous winds and storms, the ocean will still be there! It is the same for China. After going through 5,000 years of trials and tribulations, China is still here! Looking ahead, China will always be here to stay!” End of quote.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

China does not make trouble, but China is not afraid of trouble. Under the staunch leadership of the CPC, guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, the Chinese people will surely overcome all challenges coming our way, and China will surely embrace a brighter future of development. China stands ready to work with all countries around the world, combine efforts in building a community with a shared future and usher in an even better tomorrow for mankind!

Thank you for your attention.

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