Celebrating the 71st Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China

29 September 2020

The embassy of the People's Repubilc of China in South Africa hosted a virtual reception to celebrate the 71st Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China.

Photo: Ambassador-designate of China, Mr Chen Xiaodong

The program included remarks by newly arrived Ambassador-designate of China, Mr Chen Xiaodong and South African Minister of Public Enterprises, Mr. Pravin Jamnadas Gordhan. Messages of congratulations from many South African friends of China as well as Chinese living and working in South Africa were flighted. The program also included the embassy staff performing the Jerusalema, cultural Chinese dance, tai-chi, calligraphy and cooking demonstrations.  

Ambassador-designate Chen Xiaodong previously served as Assistant Foreign Minister covering Africa, where he made many trips to South Africa and other African countries and saw the fast and all-round progress of China-South Africa and China-Africa relations.

The virtual reception was a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and Chen said that our world is changing in profound ways, compounded by a pandemic unseen in a century. "Mankind faces severe challenges and difficult choices in 2020."

China was the first country affected by the virus and "thanks to China’s solid national strength built in the past 71 years, especially since reform and opening up, we achieved major strategic results in our battle against the pandemic. This heroic struggle fully reflected China’s national character, strength and sense of responsibility," Chen said.

Assistance by China was granted to many countries in their fight against the pandemic and included the dispatch of medical expert teams as well as provision of medical supplies. China made 283 shipments of medical supplies to over 150 countries and four international organizations. China provided and exported supplies to more than 200 countries and regions.
Speaking about bilateral relations Chen said that China-South Africa relations have made great leaps over the past 22 years. President Xi Jinping made three state visits to South Africa, and co-chaired the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) with President Cyril Ramaphosa. The two leaders successfully exchanged visits in 2018. The two presidents met many times on bilateral and multilateral occasions and mapped out a blueprint for China-South Africa and China-Africa relations.

Two-way investment has been steadily increasing, said Chen, with China as South Africa’s largest trading partner for 11 years, and South Africa China’s largest trading partner in Africa for 10 years.
Cultural and people-to-people exchanges are also increasing with the Year of China and the Year of South Africa being held in each other’s countries for the first time.

"China is an emerging market with a population of 1.4 billion and the largest middle-income group in the world. The resilience and potential of China’s growth will provide huge opportunities for the economic recovery and development of South Africa and countries around the world," said Chen. The advancement of the Belt and Road will also facilitate post-pandemic recovery.

"This year marks the 20th anniversary of FOCAC. It is a momentous year in the history of China-Africa relations. Over the past two decades, especially since the Johannesburg and Beijing summits, the win-win cooperation between China and Africa has covered almost all African countries and delivered real benefits to our peoples. China is ready to work with Africa to chart the course for post-pandemic cooperation, and follow through on the outcomes of the FOCAC Beijing Summit and the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit."

The United Nations commemorates the 75th anniversary of its founding and President Xi proposed the UN "stand firm for justice, uphold the rule of law, promote cooperation and focus on real action."

Minister Gordhan empahsized the need for South Africa and China to work together in the recovery post-pandemic. He reflected on relations since 1998 and spoke of collaboration in science, technology, health, higher education, skills transfer, the digital economy and communications.

Chen committed to deepen friendship and mutual trust with South African colleagues, to expand cooperation in areas of pandemic response, trade and economy, and to strengthen people-to-people exchanges.

Read Ambassador-designate of China, Mr Chen Xiaodong's full remarks here.

A Pemjee