Chinese Embassy holds first session of “Face to Face with China” Platform

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The Chinese Embassy in Sierra Leone has ended its first session of “Face to Face with China” platform at its embassy in Freetown.

The Chinese Ambassador in Sierra Leone, H. E. Ambassador Wang Qing said he would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all our media friends for coming to the first session of “Face to Face with China” Platform. I would also like to thank Honorable Mohamed Swaray for attending today’s event; we are honored by your presence.

I arrived at the beginning of this year. In the past two months I met a lot of Sierra Leonean friends from all walks of lives. I have noticed that Sierra Leonean people are very interested in China, and are eager to know more about China. They want to know how a developing country with 1.4 billion people has risen to become the world’s second largest economy and eradicated absolute poverty in just a few decades.

They want to know what the code is behind China’s success and whether it can be replicated by African countries. They also want to know what the realities of China are in relation to the “democracy versus authoritarianism” narrative which is often peddled by some Western media. Of course, the best way to understand China is to go and see it for you.

But the reality is that the vast majority of people still rely on media reports to understand China. Therefore, we have launched the platform “Face to Face with China” to meet regularly with our media friends, to introduce the latest developments in China and China-Sierra Leone cooperation, and to release authoritative information. A true, multi-dimensional and panoramic view of China will be presented through your reports to the Sierra Leonean people.

Today is our first session and I would like to share with you some important perspectives on understanding China.

1. To understand China, you need to understand the Communist Party of China (CPC).

The CPC was born in the turmoil of war in 1921. Over the past century, the CPC has grown from a small party of 59 members to the world’s largest ruling party with more than 98 million members, leading China from being bullied and abused to national independence, from national incompleteness to rejuvenation, from poverty and weakness to prosperity and strength. The key to the success is that the CPC represents the overall interests of the Chinese people.

It upholds the fundamental purpose of wholeheartedly serving the people and practices a people-centered philosophy of development. Between 2003 and 2016, Harvard University conducted eight surveys in China, and published its findings in July 2020. According to the findings, over 90 percent of Chinese public are satisfied with the Chinese government.

It clearly shows that the leadership of the CPC is the choice of history and the choice of the people. Respect for China requires respect for the leading position of the CPC and the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics chosen by the Chinese people.

2. To understand China, you need to understand the Chinese Modernization.

Over the past two hundred years, the western modernization seems to be the only model for development. However, by copying the western modernization, many developing countries have not only failed to modernize, but also fell into a “strange circle” of stagnant economic development, severe social contradictions and continuous political instability. It is clear that the West is only a pioneer of modernization, but not a model for modernization, and not the only criterion for measuring other countries’ modernization.

Based on our decades of exploration and practice since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, especially since the launch of reform and opening up in 1978, as well as the new breakthroughs made in theory and practice over the past 10 years, we have succeeded in advancing and expanding Chinese modernization. Chinese modernization contains elements that are common to the modernization processes of all countries, but it is more characterized by features that are unique to the Chinese context. It is the modernization of a huge population, of common prosperity for all, of material and cultural-ethical advancement, of harmony between humanity and nature, and of peaceful development.

China has completed in a few decades the industrialization process that the developed countries have undertaken for hundreds of years, creating a miracle of rapid economic development and long-term social stability. The exploration and achievements of the Chinese people have proved that there is no one-size-fits-all model or standard of modernization in the world. Chinese modernization presents another picture of modernization, expands the channels for developing countries to achieve modernization, and provides a Chinese solution to aid the exploration of a better social system for humanity.

3. To understand China, you need to understand China’s national condition with a comprehensive and objective view.

Many Sierra Leonean friends are talking about China’s fighting against poverty. At the end of 2020, through 8 years of hard work, about 100 million Chinese people got rid of poverty and China achieved the goal of eliminating absolute poverty. This means China achieves the poverty reduction goal of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule. It is a milestone in the history of the Chinese nation and the history of humankind, making an important contribution to the cause of global poverty alleviation.

However, China is still a developing country. You may be puzzled, but it is true. China’s GDP is 18 trillion US dollars in 2022, but let’s not forget that China has a population of over 1.4 billion. Its GDP per capita is only about 12,000 US dollars, which is one-sixth of that of the US. As a major developing country, China is still facing a lot of severe challenges. For example, imbalances and inadequacies in development remain a prominent problem. There are still wide gaps in development and income distribution between urban and rural areas and between regions.

There are many bottlenecks hindering high-quality development, such as scientific and technological innovation. And this why President Xi Jinping, in his Report to the 20th National Congress of the CPC, stated that the problems we face today are considerably more complex, and resolving them has become much more difficult. Our future is bright, but we still have a long way to go.

4. To understand China, you need to understand how China sees the world.

The 20th CPC National Congress tells the world that China is committed to upholding world peace and promoting common development, and is dedicated to building a community with a shared future for mankind. China holds the view that human race is an integral community and planet Earth its homeland. In the face of common challenges, no person or country can remain insulated. The only way out is to work together.

So with this in mind, we adhere to an independent policy, always proceed from the fundamental interests of the people of China and the world, and decide its position and policy based on the merits of the matter itself. We insist on peaceful development. China is the only country among the five nuclear-weapon countries that promises not to use nuclear weapons first. We reject the idea of “a strong country must seek hegemony” and believe that “hegemony leads to decline”. No matter how far China develops, it will never seek hegemony.

We believe in win-win cooperation and common interests. China puts forward Global Development Initiative (GDI), which focuses on promoting stronger, greener, and healthier global development, expanding the cake of mutually beneficial cooperation and adhering to fairness, justice and extensive consultation. China is committed to enhancing the representation and voice of developing countries, promoting the democratization and rule of law of international relations, and jointly building a new type of international relations. We practice true multilateralism, resolutely opposes “small circles” and “new cold war,” and always maintains the international system with the United Nations as the core, the international order based on international law, and the basic norms of international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter .

Hon. Minister, Dear friends, ladies and gentlemen,

China and Sierra Leone have always been time-bonded friends and good brothers since the establishment of diplomatic relations 52 years ago. We treat each other as equals; cooperate for mutual benefit and common development. Our cooperation in human resources development, education, agriculture, health, energy, communications, infrastructure and other areas has achieved numerous tangible results. On the third day of my arrival, I witnessed the handover of the Foreign Service Academy Building built with Chinese aid gratis, which marks a new milestone in the close cooperation between our two countries. Meanwhile, Sierra Leone has been working closely with China on issues of common interests in the international arena.

We appreciate that Sierra Leone has stood firmly in adhering to the one-China principle and supporting China’s legitimate efforts to safeguard national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity. It is of no doubt that China and Sierra Leone are reliable friends to each other and we have a strong belief in creating a better world together.

As a newcomer, I have already felt the beautiful scenery and colorful culture of Sierra Leone, the warmth and friendliness of the Sierra Leonean people, the traditional friendship between China and Sierra Leone, and the great potential of our cooperation. I am confident that the friendly and cooperative relations between our two countries will continue to make new progress in the new era. I also hope that through your pens, cameras and microphones, our media friends will try your best to tell the people a real China and enhance mutual understanding, friendship and cooperation between China and Sierra Leone

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