A visit to remember
By Abubakar Harith  ·  2024-04-02  ·   Source: ChinAfrica


Abubakar Harith asks a question at a press conference on China’s foreign policy and foreign relations on the sidelines of the second session of the 14th National People’s Congress in Beijing, capital of China, on 7 March (COURTESY) 

I came to China on 1 March to cover the second session of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and the second session of 14th National People’s Congress, commonly known as Two Sessions, that opened on 5 March. 

During the meetings, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s press conference attracted special attention from both Chinese and foreign reporters. I had prepared a question as a representative from Africa for the foreign minister. 

On 7 March, I arrived at the Media Centre to attend the conference. I felt very lucky to have gotten a chance to ask my question, which was: “Recent years have witnessed Chinese senior officials’ regular visits to African countries, including Chinese foreign minister’s visit in January as a continuation of the decades-long tradition of the foreign minister beginning a year’s overseas trips with Africa. So, what will China do to consolidate its cooperation with African countries? As we all have noticed, senior officials of the US and other Western countries have paid frequent visits to Africa in recent years. How does China look at these trips, and is China concerned about the competition from the West in its relations with Africa?”  

In his answer, Wang said that the tradition has lasted for 34 years and is aimed at raising the sense of cooperation and building better diplomatic foundations, and that China will continue cooperation with African countries at all times. On the issue of high-level US and Western officials making their visits to Africa, Wang described it as a sign of diplomatic maturity, and said China is not worried about that issue and does not see it as competition. 

I think his response shows China is not interested in competition, and is rather looking forward to and believes in clean politics and mutually beneficial cooperation in all fields. It shows a willingness on part of China to give space to countries to make decisions about who to work with and which side to partner with. 

China always believes that a framework that is marked by cooperation, equality of nations, respect for international law, good governance and mutual benefit is the right framework for development, rather than using power to force other countries to choose a certain path.  

As a journalist from Tanzania, I have been in China twice in 2023 and 2024, and have visited many provinces and seen many things that moved me.  

I feel that China is a safe place to visit and people here are kind and cooperative. China respects other people’s culture and religion, and gives you freedom to believe in what you want. Chinese people like foreigners and love to share experiences. 

Chinese culture has gained popularity worldwide and the world wants to know more about Chinese history, how China has preserved its tradition and norms, and how it has promoted its culture including clothing, cuisine, and even lifestyles and family values. China’s move to open its doors to cooperation with other countries has fuelled China’s economic growth. The China Import and Export Expo, for example, has become one of the biggest platforms for international trade. 

China has also become a global model of poverty reduction. It has also fostered technological growth, modern agriculture, and trade with other nations regardless of the size or capabilities of a nation.  

I believe China and Africa in the future will be two of the world’s most important places for technological change, economic growth, and greater trade cooperation. China-Africa relations will be better and stronger. 

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