Sat, Jun 09, 2018 - Page 8 News List

Africa is a Chinese success story

By Frank Ching

However, after the Tiananmen Square Massacre of June 4, 1989, Western nations boycotted China.

Then-Chinese minister of foreign affairs Qian Qichen (錢其琛), who successfully broke through the diplomatic isolation, said in his memoirs: “The first head of state, the first head of government and the first foreign minister to visit China after the political turmoil of 1989 all came from Africa.”

So important was Africa to China that Qian — who was promoted to vice premier and to the Chinese Communist Party’s politburo while continuing to serve as foreign minister, a feat that has not been equaled — in the early 1990s started the practice of going to Africa on his first overseas trip every year, a tradition that continues to this day, regardless of who is minister.

In January, Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi visited four African nations — Rwanda, Angola, Gabon, and Sao Tome and Principe. The last only broke relations with Taiwan last year.

FOCAC also supports educational exchanges, sending teachers to Africa and providing support for Africans to study in China.

Africans studying in China now surpass those studying in the US and the UK.

The leaders of several African nations were educated in China. These include Democratic Republic of the Congo President Joseph Kabila, Ehtiopian President Mulatu Teshome and Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Given such a record, it is difficult not to agree that Africa is a Chinese success story.

Frank Ching opened the Wall Street Journal bureau in Beijing in 1979. Before that, he was with the New York Times in New York for 10 years.

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