Guo Shaochun, Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe
Yesterday was the 73rd anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. In the past 73 years, the Chinese people pulled together and worked hard under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
Over the course of just a few decades, China has completed a journey that took developed countries several hundred years, and has created the two miracles of rapid economic development and long-term social stability. In 2021, China’s GDP reached 17.7 trillion USD, almost 1,700 times that of the early days of the PRC, accounting for more than 18 percent of the global economy and contributing an estimated 25 percent to world economic growth. In the first half of this year, China has bucked the trend and maintained 2.5% positive growth.
After 73 years of effort, China has completed the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects with over 800 million people out of poverty, put in place the largest Social security system covering 1.36 billion people, and largest health care system covering nearly 1 billion people. These efforts greatly contribute to the global cause of poverty reduction and human rights progress and inject strong impetus into the realization of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, China has embarked on the new journey toward the second centenary goal of fully building a great modern socialist country. China’s national rejuvenation has become a historical inevitability.
Growing from a poor and weak country into the world’s second largest economy, China has achieved the tremendous transformation from standing up and growing prosperous to becoming strong. What’s the key of China’s success?
First, China has always stayed committed to the path of independent and peaceful development. China unswervingly follows the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, which conforms to China’s national conditions and the trend of the times and has been proven correct by facts. It is a sure path to realize a better life for Chinese people and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Second, China upholds the firm leadership of the Communist Party of China. The CPC’s membership has expanded to over 95 million from just over 50 when it was founded. It has grown into the largest governing party in the world with the earnest hearted support of the Chinese people. In 2021, as many as 91 percent of Chinese interviewed by Edelman, a top global public relations consultancy firm, said they trust their government.
Guided by advanced ideology and theory and supported by the people, the CPC is firm in determination and demonstrates great courage in undertaking self-reform. In this lies the means for the CPC to lead the people in overcoming all difficulties.
Third, China always puts people first. The CPC and the Chinese government wholeheartedly serve the people and practice a people-centered philosophy of development to achieve well-rounded human development and common prosperity for all. They have never represented any individual interest group, power group, or privileged stratum.
Fourth, China has always kept a global perspective and held high the banner of peace, development and win-win cooperation and pursued an independent foreign policy of peace. China has always stayed committed to the path of independent and peaceful development and forging a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind. On the new journey of the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation, China will make new contributions to mankind’s well-being and continue to share new opportunities with the world as it achieves new development.
China and Zimbabwe are good friends, good brothers and good partners with a shared future and a long tradition of mutual assistance in times of need. China strongly supported Zimbabwe’s struggle for national liberation and after independence, China continues to support Zimbabwe, standing up to oppose interference by external forces and unilateral and illegal sanctions.
The highlight being that China vetoed the proposed resolution to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe at the UN Security Council in 2008, which was the first time China exercised veto power at the Security Council for an African country. In the aftermath of Cyclone Idai and the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, China has taken swift action to mobilize resources and provide massive assistance to Zimbabwean people to help them overcome difficulties.
On the other hand, Zimbabwe firmly upholds fairness and justice of the international society, adheres to the One-China principle, firmly supports China’s efforts to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and has given China valuable support on many occasions. We have always worked jointly to oppose hegemony, power politics and unilateralism while upholding international fairness and justice.
Under the strategic guidance of the state leaders of the two countries and following the principles of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith, China has been supporting Zimbabwe to realize its national development. Our two countries have enjoyed ever-growing excellent relations and sound bilateral cooperation across the board.
On intergovernmental cooperation, projects such as the National Pharmaceutical Warehouse, the 1 000 borehole project, and the New Parliament Building were completed with China’s aid. The Kariba South Hydro Power Station expansion, Hwange Thermal Power Station expansion, Victoria Falls International Airport upgrading, expansion and upgrading of the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport and NetOne broadband construction were implemented with China’s financing support. These projects have improved infrastructures that are urgently needed by Zimbabwe for promoting economic development and people’s livelihood.
Meanwhile, China has donated millions of doses of Covid-19 vaccines and sent multiple batches of Medical Teams and Agricultural Experts Groups to Zimbabwe.
The Protocol of Phytosanitary Requirements for Export of Zimbabwean Fresh Citrus to China signed last year is one of the policy supports by China in promoting export of Zimbabwe’s agricultural products. It aims to establish “green lanes” for Zimbabwean agricultural products into the Chinese market, marking a breakthrough of China’s policy supports in assisting Zimbabwe’s economic development.
China encourages more well-established and capable Chinese companies to invest in Zimbabwe. We are glad to see that Chinese private investments are becoming a vital force to promote Zimbabwe’s economy. Some of them are revitalizing the resources that were long idled, some are actively investing in tobacco planting and export, crop farming, building materials manufacturing, freight logistics and so on. The investments are introducing Zimbabwe’s high-quality products into international markets, bringing considerable forex earnings and tax revenues, tens of thousands of job opportunities and technology transfers and promote Zimbabwe’s competitiveness in the global economy.
With our joint efforts, the bilateral trade between China and Zimbabwe has continued to grow. In the first half of 2022, the bilateral trade volume reached US$973 million with an increase of 56,6 percent, of which China imported US$504 million from Zimbabwe and exported US$469 million to Zimbabwe, up 103.2 percent and 25.6 percent respectively. Given that the Covid-19 pandemic continues to severely impact the global economy, such achievements are remarkable and played a positive role in maintaining the vitality of Zimbabwe’s economy.
Meanwhile, the people-to-people exchanges in the area of education and culture have kept expanding while cooperation in political parties and parliaments promoted in recent years. The win-win cooperation between China and Zimbabwe is boasting great potential and broad prospects.
The people of our two countries have always supported each other on the basis of our traditional friendship. Chinese communities here regard Zimbabwe as their “second home”. While investing in local economy, they live in harmony and share weal and woe with the Zimbabwean people. They actively fulfill their social responsibilities by building schools, roads, clinics and wells for local communities, supporting underprivileged students and helping vulnerable groups.
Zimbabwean people have embraced Chinese investment by participating in job fairs for Chinese companies and sharing their working experiences with their friends and family. Traditional leaders, local councillors and communities have been protecting the development of Chinese companies and speak up for them when they are unfairly treated. All these are the truest portrayal of China-Zimbabwe friendship. No slander or smear can undermine the traditional friendship between our two countries.
I would like to reiterate, China-Zimbabwe cooperation will always give top priority to supporting Zimbabwe’s economic and social development, to improve its capacity of self-generated development.
Our cooperation will adhere to recipient-driven approaches, respect the independent choices of Zimbabwean government and people, and never attach any political strings or economic coercive requirements. It is always Zimbabwe that makes decisions on what, when and where to build.
Our cooperation will follow the principles of openness and transparency. Every project will always be in the open and the benefits will always be tangible.
Our cooperation will stay open and inclusive. We welcome more countries and international institutions to participate in the economic development of Zimbabwe, especially in improving Zimbabwe’s infrastructure and people’s livelihood. To this end, China stays open to trilateral and multilateral cooperation with international society.
In a few days, the Communist Party of China will convene its 20th National Congress, which will chart the great course for the next phase of China’s development. We will ground our efforts in the new development stage, follow the new development philosophy, foster a new development paradigm and strive to achieve high-quality development. China will continue to pursue opening-up against higher standards and develop new systems for a higher-level open economy.
China will continue to implement the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping, to build a community with a shared future for mankind. China will be committed to implement the Belt and Road Initiative and the Nine Programs for China-Africa cooperation.
The handover of the New Parliament Building, National Pharmaceutical Warehouse and 500 boreholes will soon be witnessed. We are also seeing good progress in the Hwange thermal power station expansion and NetOne Phase III project. More China-aid Covid-19 vaccines will be delivered very soon. We are going to welcome another batch of Chinese Agricultural Experts to Zimbabwe and continue to build agricultural demonstration villages. Another 300 boreholes, Phase 11 of High-Performance Computing Centre, Anti-Narcotics Laboratory and other China-aid projects will be commissioned. Bilateral cooperation in the scope of agriculture, clean energy and high technology will be discussed.
China and Zimbabwe are both at a critical stage of national development and rejuvenation. China will continually and sincerely support Zimbabwe to achieve the Vision 2030 and greater progress in economic and social development. I believe, by working together brick by brick and stone upon stone, the comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership between China and Zimbabwe will definitely reach a new height.