Drawing up the blueprint for China-Africa cooperation
By Ni Yanshuo
The book Xi Jinping: The Governance of China has aroused great interest among politicians and scholars and has been seen as an important source to learn about a real China.
At a webinar on the third volume of the book held on November 27, experts and scholars from China and South Africa shared their insights on the book.
The webinar, jointly organized by BEIJING REVIEW Africa Bureau, Press Club South Africa and Global Max Media Group, was hosted by Azra Fredericks, Senior Coordinator of the Press Club South Africa.
In his keynote speech, Cedric Thomas Frolick, South African National Assembly House Chairperson: Committees, pointed out that the core part of the third volume, which is also the core part of the philosophy of governance of China, is about putting people first.
Meeting people’s needs is the priority in the work of governments at various levels, which has also led to great progress in China’s development. This can be learned by African countries.
Frolick said China has realized its ambitious goal of eliminating absolute poverty throughout the country by the end of 2020, which means China has reached the poverty alleviation target set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule. He believes this is a great success of the governing philosophy of putting people first.
“What are the factors that support China’s development?” Frolick asked. “The answers can be found in this book, which provides a window for the global community to look into real China.”
Latest World Bank statistics show that about 670 million people worldwide are living in poverty, many of them in Africa.
Li Jianguo, Associate Editor in Chief of BEIJING REVIEW, enumerated his understanding of Xi’s philosophy of “People as the Masters of the Country.” In this volume, Xi points out that the people are the Party’s greatest strength in governance. “I think he must have in mind numerous ordinary people who help others and help themselves. Having long years of working experience at the community level, President Xi has always underlined the importance of putting people first - listening to their voices, tapping into their creativity, meeting their demands and improving their lives,” Li said.
Xi believes that “a stronger China-Africa community with a shared future” has greatly promoted China-Africa cooperation in various fields by closely connecting China and African countries together. On different occasions, he has called for supporting Africa’s development, and cooperating with African countries in areas such as poverty reduction, food security, innovation, infrastructure, and industrialization in ways compatible with their national conditions.
Anwar Adams, President of the Democratic Independent Party, noted that Xi Jinping: The Governance of China Volume III is not a book written just for China; rather, it is for the whole world. The practices and policies that Xi has laid out in the book can be applied to people’s daily life, organizations and companies. “I read several pages a day, and every time, I can get some points out of the book,” he said.
Adams quoted an excerpt from the book which says the renovation of rundown urban areas concerns the life and work of millions. “We cannot have cities with skyscrapers on the one side and slums on the other,” said Xi in the book. “This shows the core part of governance in China: people first,” he noted.
Wang Peng, Researcher at the Center for Chinese Foreign Strategy Studies of the Renmin University of China, thinks the book series fully illustrate China’s role in the world affairs, the guidelines for China’s cooperation with other countries, and the importance of cooperation mechanisms such as the Belt and Road Initiative.
“What impressed me most is that Xi said in the book that every country is equal, regardless of their size, population, and level of development. This is also the consensus of the international community,” he said. Based on this, Wang noted, China sticks to multilateralism, not unilateralism, so as to make globalization better.
Zhang Yanqiu, Deputy Dean of the Institute for a Community with Shared Future and Director of the Africa Communication Research Center at the Communication University of China, illustrated the importance of China-Africa win-win cooperation from the perspective of building a closer China-Africa community with shared future. In the third volume, Xi says, “Let us increase political and policy dialogue at various levels, enhance mutual understanding and support on issues bearing on our core interests and major concerns, and strengthen coordination on major international and regional issues.”
Zhang used three keywords to describe her understanding of a closer China-Africa community with shared future: shared challenges, shared efforts and shared values. She believes media play a key role in promoting mutual understanding between the people of China and Africa. In the face of misunderstandings, stereotypes and even fake news, China and Africa should strive to establish a cooperative mechanism to create a platform to clarify false or fake news and facilitate a smooth flow of information among stakeholders.
Sandy Naude, Board Member and Officer of the International News Media Association, noted that the rapid development of China is a comprehensive lesson in good governance that African countries are keen to learn from. There is something unique about China’s governance that enabled the country to accomplish speedy modernization in the last few decades. There is a commitment to seeking truth from facts, the scientific outlook on development and deep understanding of history-culture relationship.
“The book is vital for those who are interested in politics and would like to find out the governing philosophy and policies in China. It is also a good book to understand China’s solidarity with other nations. It reflects Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era,” she said.
The volume contains a compilation of 92 of Xi Jinping’s speeches and writings between October 18, 2017, and January 13, 2020, along with 41 photographs. It is divided into 19 sections by topic, with the articles in each section arranged in a chronological order.
The English edition of Xi Jinping: The Governance of China Volume III is available in mainstream brick-and-mortar and online bookstores in South Africa.