An African scholar once commented on the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), saying, “Chinese have taught us that a candle does not lose its brightness by lighting other candles, but it makes the world brighter.” I was deeply impressed by the thought-provoking words.
Mankind has created splendid civilizations over the past several thousand years. However, wars and conflicts have never ceased. They have, together with various natural calamities as well as diseases and plagues, inflicted untold sufferings on us mankind. Today, we the human beings are connected as never before, but we also face global challenges unprecedented in terms of number, dimension and severity. This presents mankind with two choices. One is vicious competition or even armed conflict for power and self-interest. The other is for us to go along with the tide of the times and rise to challenges through global collaboration. Apparently, the Communist Party of China (CPC) has unswervingly chosen the latter. At its 19th National Congress, the CPC drew up a blueprint for China’s development from now through the middle of this century and reaffirmed China’s genuine desire to work together with the rest of the world to build a community with a shared future for mankind.
The CPC strives for both the well-being of the Chinese people and human progress. It is the largest political party in the world and will stay true to the following commitments:
First, it will continue to uphold global peace and tranquility. The CPC was born while the country was ravaged by intense upheavals 100 years ago. Having gone through such ordeal, the Chinese communists know only too well how precious peace is and are resolved to uphold peace. China remains committed to promoting peace, development, cooperation and delivering win-win outcomes, and will continue to pursue peaceful development. In full practice of the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, China has dispatched over 40,000 peacekeepers on a cumulative basis, making it a major troop and funding contributor to UN peacekeeping operations. China will continue to actively engage in the reform and development of the global governance system so as to make the international political and economic order more just and equitable. No matter what stage of development it reaches, China will never seek hegemony or engage in expansion.
Second, it will continue to promote common development for all. As a party that has its origin in the people and has grown in strength with the support of the people, the CPC is committed to bettering the lives of both the Chinese people and people of all other nations. Over the years, China has provided a huge amount of grants and concessional loans as well as technical, personnel and intellectual assistance to other developing countries including Africa. It has launched numerous projects in these countries to support their economic and social development and improvement of the lives of their people. In the face of COVID-19, China has been offering vaccines to other countries as a concrete step to deliver on President Xi Jinping’s pledge to make vaccines a global public good. China has provided and is providing vaccine assistance to 69 countries, and has exported and is exporting vaccines to 43 countries. The numbers are still increasing. Several days ago, President Xi Jinping solemnly declared to the world that China has scored a “complete victory” eradicating absolute poverty, which makes historic contributions to poverty elimination and peaceful development across the world, at the critical moment of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC. Over the same period, China has contributed more than 70 percent of global poverty reduction. Furthermore, guided by the vision that “all the people under the heaven are of one family”, China has joined the Alliance for Poverty at UN as a founding member and has set up the China-UN Peace and Development Fund and the South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund. Solid progress have been made in cooperation projects under such frameworks as the Pilot Project of Poverty Reduction Cooperation in East Asia and the China-Africa Poverty Reduction and People’s Welfare Plan. In Africa, China has helped establish 24 agricultural technology demonstration centers, benefiting more than 500,000 local people.
Third, it will continue to promote mutual enrichment among civilizations. As a Chinese saying goes, a stone taken from another mountain may serve as a tool to polish the local jade. Diversity spurs interaction among civilizations, which in turn promotes mutual learning and their further development. The CPC values the importance of developing a global perspective for itself, and holds that civilizations only vary from each other, just as human beings are different only in terms of skin color and the language used. No civilization is superior over others. The CPC advocates that it is imperative to promote exchanges and mutual learning among countries, nations and cultures around the world, and strengthen popular support for jointly building a community with a shared future. China has been expanding the channels of exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations, which have gradually covered various fields of social life. For example, China’s accession to the World Trade Organization, its successful hosting of the Olympic Games in Beijing and the World Expo in Shanghai. Its cooperation with other countries in the fields of science and technology, education, culture, health and people-to-people exchanges has been flourishing.
To quote an ancient Chinese saying, “men should have the virtues of Benevolence, righteousness, self-consecration, fidelity,and unwearied in doing good”. China, which is getting closer to the center of the world stage, contributes to the world with Chinese solutions and Chinese values. However, I want to emphasize that we do not want to “import” models from other countries, nor do we want to “export” the Chinese model, still less will we ask other countries to copy the Chinese practice. China, the world’s largest developing country, and Africa, the continent with the largest number of developing countries, have long formed a community with a shared future. I have been working in Africa for more than 10 years and have been more and more impressed by the fact that we share a common stake, in deed. China will work with Africa to achieve our shared goal of building a closer China-Africa community with a shared future and turn it into a pacesetter for building such a community for mankind.
In ancient times, our ancestors, merchants and envoys alike, traveled back and forth along the overland and maritime Silk Roads, building a bridge of friendship between China and other countries. Today, the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China is shared by the world, expanding our dreams for a better future. Both China and Somalia live in the global village. While the sound of Zheng He’s fleet, which arrived twice in Mogadishu over 600 years ago, still seams to reverberate, Somalia has joined the Belt And Road Initiative since 2018—I firmly believe that the chapter of friendship and cooperation of our two countries will be continuously renewed in the new era.
By: Qin jian, Chinese Ambassador to SomaliaShare