Remarks by H.E Cui Jianchun,
Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria at the Roundtable of
the theme “Build an Africa-China Community with a
Shared Future in the New Era: Nigeria’s Actions and
(14th December, 2021, China Cultural Centre)
Mr. Charles, Director of Centre for China |studies,
Representatives of Nigerian Governmental Institutions,
I am very delighted to attend this roundtable forum, upon the invitation by the Centre for China Studies in Nigeria. I want to thank Mr. Charles, the director of the Centre for his great efforts to make this happen.
As we all are aware that the Eight Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), held in Senegal at the end of last month, was a great success. The Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech, made new commitments on China-African pragmatic cooperation, and the conference itself also adopted several documents as its outcomes, all of which, in my view, would have a long-term benefits to African countries and China, especially Nigeria and China. Meanwhile, “Summit for Democracy” was held virtually last week which caused considerable discussion, debate, and division in the world and also stimulated many disputes that how democracy should be defined, who could define a country democratic or undemocratic, and so on. Regarding this, today I want to share my views.
The conference assessed the implementation of achievements of the previous session, discussed and finalized the plan for follow-up cooperation, and adopted four achievement papers, the most among all sessions. The success of the conference confirmed the strong will of China and Africa to work together to overcome difficulties and seek common development, and showed the huge potential and bright prospects of China-Africa cooperation.
First, the spirit off China-Africa friendship and cooperation has been greatly promoted. This spirit features sincere friendship and equality, win-win for mutual benefit and common development, fairness and justice, and progress with the times and openness and inclusiveness. This year marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of China-Africa diplomatic relations and the 50th anniversary of the establishment of China-Nigeria diplomatic relations. The spirit is a valuable treasure fostered by both sides through our struggles for national independence and liberation, an important attitude formed by both sides along our glorious march towards development, rejuvenation, unity and cooperation, and interpretation of our characteristics of friendship, equality, mutual benefit and justice, and an epochal example of a new model of international relations.
Second, China-Africa solidarity and mutual assistance has become a fine example of international cooperation against the pandemic. China has provided over 180 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to 53 African countries and the AU Commission. At the opening ceremony of the FOCAC Conference, President Xi Jinping announced another major initiative China will provide another one billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Africa, of which 600 million doses will be in the form of donations and the other 400 million will be jointly produced in Africa by Chinese and African companies. This is a powerful message of China and Africa working together to choose the “immunization gap”
Third, China-Africa cooperation in the new era has been enriched. In addition to the traditional fields of China-Africa cooperation, we will aim at the most urgent development needs of African countries, and will transform and upgrade China-Africa cooperation in such fields as health, people’s well-being, green development, digital economy, and capacity building, so as to create more cooperation highlights. President Xi Jinping announced that China will implement nine programs jointly with African countries, which is a strong declaration of China’s continued commitment to Africa and the sustained momentum of China-Africa cooperation.
Fourth, true multilateralism has been practiced by the two sides working together. China and Africa are important forces for securing world peace and development. We will continue to firmly support each other on issues of core interests and major concerns, jointly safeguard the international system with the United Nations at its core and the international order underpinned by international law, and enhance the representation and voice of developing countries in international affairs. The two sides will resolutely oppose any unilateral sanctions, any interference in other countries’ internal affairs and racial discrimination, and will promote the shared human values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom, to make greater contributions to safeguarding world equity and justice.
Fifth, a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era will be jointly built by China and Africa. China appreciates African countries’ support for the Global Development Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping, and will work with Africa to align the initiative with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s Agenda 2063. China is ready to march with Africa hand in hand on the path of development and rejuvenation, and jointly build a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era.
China is ready to work with Nigeria to implement the outcomes of the FOCAC.
First, whether a country is democratic depends on whether its people are truly the masters of the country. A basic criterion of democracy should be about the people, such as whether the people have the right to govern their country, whether their needs are met, and whether they have a sense of fulfillment and happiness. If the people are only awakened when casting their votes and sent back to hibernation when the voting is over, this is not a genuine democracy. China’s application of democratic principles follows an approach of “whole-process people’s democracy.” This democracy is not for the few or an interest group. It is for the majority and the whole Chinese people. All the 2.62 million deputies in the five levels of people’s congresses, from the National People’s Congress down to provinces, cities, countries, and townships, are elected by the people. The people in China participate extensively in state affairs, especially local-level governance, to exercise their constitutional rights. This democracy is not a show, or a formality. It truly makes the people happy, and improves their well-being. In the past decades, more than 800 million Chinese have been lifted out of extreme poverty, a miracle unseen anywhere in the world. China has also built the world’s largest social security system and healthcare system, covering more than 1.3 billion people.
Second, transplanted democracy does not work, and countries should not be lectured about how to build their own democracy. We in China often say that “language dialects change every ten miles, and folk customs differ every 100 miles”. Likewise, a one-size-fits-all model of democracy for the whole world does not exist, and there is no democratic system that can claim to be established path of other countries in its modernization drive. Similarly, China did not duplicate other countries’ models of democracy, but created its own. China’s new approach to democracy represents a significant contribution to international politics and human progress.
Third, democracy is not just about domestic governance; it should also be reflected in international relations. A truly democratic government will support democracy in international relations. It will not foster hegemony and division abroad while building good or bad democracy and unity at home. Using ideology to bring down other countries, and promote a geo-strategy for absolute security will lead to division and confrontation, and are obviously anti-democratic.
It is fairly to say issues related to Taiwan, the South China Sea, Xinjiang and Hong Kong are all China’s internal affairs, bearing on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The real status quo on the Taiwan question is: there is but one China in the world and Taiwan is part of China, and the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government fact of one-China is not to be challenged, the fact that both sides on the Taiwan Strait belong to one and the same China is not to be changed, and the process of the 1.4 billion Chinese people to advance China’s peaceful reunification is not to be held back.
As we can see, last Friday the Nicaraguan government made apolitical decision to “sever diplomatic relations” with Taiwan and restore diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. The one-China principle is the universal consensus of the international community and has become a recognized norm of international relations. I highly appreciated Nigerian government’s adherence to the one-China policy and take practical measures to resolve the issue of Taiwan institutions in Nigeria.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
At a time when the world faces once-in-a century changes and pandemic, solidarity and cooperation remain an unchanging theme and irreversible trend. The political consonance, economic cooperation, military and security collaboration, international affairs coordination and people communication between China and Nigeria is mutually beneficial and has brought tangible benefits to the two peoples. The year of 2021 is about to end, and in China we always say “New year, new hope”. I confidently believe that China and Nigeria will work closely in 2022 to elevate our relations to a new level.