Wang Yi addresses the Group of Friends of the Global Development Initiative

China’s proposal for a Global Development Initiative (GDI) has made considerable progress since it was proposed by President Xi Jinping at the meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2021. Thirty-five countries joined China to formally launch the Group of Friends of the GDI on January 20th. Addressing a High-Level Virtual Meeting of the Group on May 9th, Foreign Minister Wang Yi was able to report that so far more than 100 countries have expressed support for the initiative and 53 have joined the Group of Friends. He put forward four key areas where all parties could work together to deliver concrete results, namely: re-energising global cooperation on the 2030 Global Agenda; creating a favourable environment to accelerate global development; fostering an equal and balanced global development partnership; enabling the UN system to play the central and guiding role.

China, the Foreign Minister continued, would enhance consultation and hold a future high-level meeting to promote global development; increase input into development along with support for South-South cooperation; establish a pool of shared projects, to which proposals would be welcome; and prepare a Global Development Report to promote international exchanges based on respecting countries’ explorations of their own development paths.

Besides high-ranking officials from participating countries, the meeting also heard an address from UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

The following report of Wang Yi’s speech was originally carried on the website of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

On May 9, 2022, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended and addressed the opening ceremony of the High-Level Virtual Meeting of the Group of Friends of the Global Development Initiative (GDI) in Beijing via video link.

Wang Yi said, we meet at a time when the world is beset by global changes and a pandemic both unseen in a century. World economic recovery is facing headwinds. North-South gap keeps widening. Development cooperation is losing steam. And the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is facing unprecedented challenges. Last September, President Xi Jinping proposed the GDI at the UN General Assembly. The purpose is to galvanize worldwide attention to development, strengthen global development partnership, promote international development cooperation, and lend fresh impetus to the realization of the 2030 SDGs.

Wang Yi said that since the very beginning, the GDI has been warmly received by the international community. More than 100 countries expressed support, and as many as 53 countries have joined the Group of Friends. This fully shows that the GDI responds to the call of the times, meets the needs of various countries, and reflects the trend of the world as well as the aspiration of the people. The GDI is committed to building political consensus on accelerating development, building a common platform for development cooperation, promoting exchanges and mutual learning of development experience, and enhancing international synergy for coordinated development. China proposes that all parties work together in four key areas for the GDI to deliver concrete results.

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Common prosperity in action in Anhui Province

In this video made for CGTN by Michael Dunford, Visiting Professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (and Friends of Socialist China advisory group member), we get a glimpse of common prosperity in action, as Michael travels to a village at Tuohu Lake, in the northeast of Anhui Province. With the aim of revitalizing the village and promoting high-quality sustainable development, the village cooperative has worked with the local authorities to improve the water system and to adopt traditional, environmentally-friendly agricultural practices. Combined with technologies such as an internet-of-things monitoring system and e-commerce, the villagers have been able to significantly improve their standard of living whilst simultaneously contributing to biodiversity and environmental protection.

Panel discussion on the Belt and Road in Latin America

Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez joined Manolo De Los Santos, Executive Director of the People’s Forum, in a CODEPINK webinar about the expansion of the Belt and Road Initiative into Latin America and the Caribbean. Carlos and Manolo contrast the Belt and Road with the Washington Consensus, pointing out that Chinese economic engagement with Latin America is based on mutual respect and win-win relationships, as opposed to the domination and coercion that characterise the West’s approach. The Belt and Road Initiative offers an unprecedented opportunity for the countries of the region to upgrade their economies, to gain access to cutting edge technologies, to develop critically needed infrastructure, and to decarbonise their energy systems. In short, the relationship with China is helping the countries of the region to build a road out of underdevelopment.

Gyude Moore on the significance of China investments in Africa

In this informative speech, Gyude Moore – Senior Policy Fellow at the Center for Global Development and Liberia’s former Minister of Public Works – discusses the nature of the economic relationship between China and Africa. He draws on his personal experience of dealing with Chinese private and public investors to debunk the standard ‘debt trap’ myth that’s pervasive in the West, pointing out that China is extensively building infrastructure in Africa that’s essential for development and the improvement of living standards.

He notes that whereas the infrastructure built by colonisers was directed exclusively towards serving the economic needs of the European powers, the infrastructure being built by China is increasing connectedness between the different countries on the continent, allowing regional value chains to develop. Furthermore, Moore points out that China, as a developing country, tends to treat its African partners as equals rather than seeking to impose its authority in the way the imperialist countries are so used to doing.

China’s solidarity with Tonga and the islands of the Pacific

The eruption of an underwater volcano off the South Pacific island nation of Tonga has triggered a humanitarian crisis, cutting the country off from the outside world and damaging vital connectivity and infrastructure. This once again demonstrates the vulnerability of small island states in particular, faced with the challenges of overcoming centuries of colonial rule, developing their national economies and facing the existential threat of climate change. This useful article, which we reproduce from Global Times, notes that China has pledged all possible support and assistance to Tonga, both now and in the future. China, it further notes, is prepared to cooperate with all other countries in this endeavour and does not wish to see the South Pacific as an arena for any new Cold War. The island nations, it notes, “are not the backyard of the US and its allies”.

The massive eruption of an underwater volcano off Tonga, which triggered tsunami waves to hit the Pacific island nation and other locations in the Pacific, has become a focus of global headlines. 

Tonga is in need of emergency aid, and China said it is willing to help. On Sunday, Chinese Foreign Ministry said that China is ready to provide every possible support and assistance to Tonga. 

We hope those who see Tonga as a battlefield with China, such as the US and its allies, could work together with China to provide help to the Pacific island nation.

While the danger of the Tongan volcano erupting again remaining largely unknown, videos posted on social media and various news reports so far suggest that the eruption has caused serious damages to the island nation. For instance, Tonga’s submarine cable connectivity to the outside world has been offline since Saturday due to the earthquake caused by the volcanic eruption.

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Wang Yi’s Africa and Asia tour further debunks ‘debt trap’ conspiracy theory

This article by Stephen Ndegwa, first published in CGTN, discusses the ‘debt trap’ narrative in the context of Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s recent trip to several countries in Africa and Asia. Ndegwa notes that, although Western media and politicians often decry Chinese infrastructure loans as being exploitative, these accusations don’t stand up to scrutiny. Indeed, the debtor countries don’t share these criticisms and are highly appreciative of China’s support for their sovereign development.

One of the most popular rules of power says if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. Well, that could be so. But those who religiously apply this maxim, which purportedly emanated from Nazi Germany’s Joseph Goebbels, forget that it carries a rider. The lie can only be maintained for as long as the originator shields people from the truth.

This has been the case with the so-called debt trap, a phrase generally coined by Western countries that alleges that China ensnared developing countries with unserviceable debt to take over their national assets. China’s aim, so goes the lie, is to enable China to get a foothold in various strategic locations around the world.

Interestingly, even after the United States-led Western bloc’s warning that choices have consequences, China’s partners do not seem to be relenting in expanding and deepening their Sino cooperation. The stress-free partnership has given developing countries much-needed breathing space that has helped them make economic choices best suited to their needs, rather than experimenting with high-blown models that have no practicality.  

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Danny Haiphong: The West distorts the China-Africa relationship in order to justify its own imperialism

In this speech to a recent webinar entitled Africa/China Relations: Challenges of Cooperation and Development (organized jointly by the International Manifesto Group and the Group for Research and Initiative for the Liberation of Africa), Danny Haiphong explores the evolving win-win relationship between China and Africa, and exposes the West’s distortion of this relationship. The full webinar can be watched on YouTube.

Joint statement on democracy and common development

We are very pleased to republish this statement, coordinated by the International Department of the Communist Party of China, promoting a pluralistic approach to the issue of democracy and calling on the world’s countries to develop mutual understanding and cooperation rather than attempting to pursue hegemony and unilateralism.

The statement has been endorsed by 351 political parties, social organisations and think tanks from 140 countries and regions. Friends of Socialist China is proud to be among the signatories.

Joint Statement of World Political Parties, Social Organisations and Think Tanks on making Independent Efforts to Explore the Path Toward Democracy and Working Together to Promote Common Development

Democracy represents an important achievement of humanity in the advancement of political civilisation, and development an eternal pursuit throughout human history. People of different countries and regions, through their unremitting explorations, have brought about distinctively varied forms of democracy and development paths, presenting a magnificent spectacle of flourishing human civilisations. Political parties, as they are in a position to build, preserve and develop democracy, have been charged with the important mission to realise democracy and promote development. In view of the above, we, the 351 political parties, social organisations and think tanks from 140 countries and regions, issue a joint statement to the whole world as follows:

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Bertie Ahern: China’s infrastructure investment has been of major benefit to the people of Africa

In this short interview with CGTN in advance of the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern gives his opinions on China-Africa relations. He praises the growing role of FOCAC, points to the transformative impact of China’s infrastructure investment, and debunks the idea that China has laid a ‘debt trap’ for African countries; indeed he notes China’s leading role in debt relief for poor and indebted nations. Video embedded below.

Keynote speech by Xi Jinping at opening ceremony of 8th FOCAC ministerial conference

We are very pleased to publish the full text of President Xi Jinping’s important speech to today’s opening ceremony of the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. 

Noting that this year marks the 65th anniversary of the start of diplomatic relations between China and African countries, Xi notes that China and Africa have “forged unbreakable fraternity in our struggle against imperialism and colonialism”.

The Chinese President goes on to make four proposals, concerning fighting Covid-19, deepening practical cooperation, promoting green development and upholding equity and justice. 

He further notes that the two sides have jointly prepared the ‘China-Africa Cooperation Vision 2035’. Its first three-year plan features nine programmes, covering medical and health, poverty reduction and agricultural development, trade promotion, investment promotion, digital innovation, green development, capacity building, cultural and people-to-people exchange, and peace and security. 

Your Excellency President Macky Sall,

Distinguished Colleagues,

Dear Guests and Friends,

It is such a pleasure to attend the opening ceremony of the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). Let me first express sincere appreciation to President Sall and the government of Senegal for their excellent organization, and extend a warm welcome to the colleagues and guests attending the Conference.

This year marks the 65th anniversary of the start of diplomatic relations between China and African countries. Over the past 65 years, China and Africa have forged unbreakable fraternity in our struggle against imperialism and colonialism, and embarked on a distinct path of cooperation in our journey toward development and revitalization. Together, we have written a splendid chapter of mutual assistance amidst complex changes, and set a shining example for building a new type of international relations.

Continue reading Keynote speech by Xi Jinping at opening ceremony of 8th FOCAC ministerial conference

China hails solidarity with Africa as cornerstone of its foreign policy

This article from CGTN provides a useful summary of the latest Chinese government White Paper on relations with Africa. China and Africa in the New Era: A Partnership of Equals was published by the State Council of the PRC on Friday, ahead of an important meeting of the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

China and Africa trust each other, and their friendship is rock solid, a white paper on cooperation with the continent issued by China’s State Council Information Office said on Friday.
The report, titled “China and Africa in the New Era: A Partnership of Equals,” said shared past experiences and similar aims and goals have brought China and Africa close together and they will always be a “community of shared future.” 
Developing solidarity and cooperation with African countries has been the cornerstone of China’s foreign policy, as well as a firm and longstanding strategy, it said.

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China, Africa to further boost ties

With the 8th ministerial meeting of the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) opening in Senegal on Monday, this useful article from China Daily highlights how friendship, solidarity and cooperation with Africa have been a cornerstone of Xi Jinping’s foreign policy since he became President of China in 2013. His first foreign trip as head of state, days after taking office, took him to Russia, Republic of Congo, Tanzania and South Africa.

Development of relations guided by principles of ‘amity, real results’

Days after he was elected China’s president in March 2013, Xi Jinping embarked on his first overseas trip as head of state. Three of the tour’s four destinations were African countries.

When making a speech at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, Xi said the trip was his sixth visit to the continent.

“When I visit Africa, I am always struck by two things,” Xi said. “One is its continuous progress. Each time I come to Africa, I am deeply impressed by new progress in development, which is most encouraging. The other is the warmth of the African people.”

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From poverty to prosperity, China’s century

This very interesting article by University of Glasgow professors Asit K Biswas and Cecilia Tortajada provides an overview of the extraordinary economic, political and scientific progress China has made since liberation – with a particular focus on the strategy of Reform and Opening Up – and analyses how this progress provides the foundations for achieving the country’s ambitious goals around sustainable development. The article was originally published in China Daily on 12 November 2021.

The speed, scale and span of the economic and social transformation of China during the past 40-odd years have been unprecedented in human history.

One hundred years ago, times were not good for China. Its 400 million people lived mainly in rural areas, mired in poverty. It was a nation ravaged by imperial mismanagement, foreign colonialism and civil wars.

On July 23 1921, 13 disillusioned Chinese young men and two representatives from the Communist International, met secretly in an inconspicuous house, 106 Rue Wantz, in Shanghai’s French Concession, which began the first national congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The police interrupted the meeting on July 30, and the Chinese members shifted their discussions to a tourist boat on the South Lake in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, to continue the first National Congress. The first congress marked the founding of the CPC.

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Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit expounds a vision of peace, cooperation and sustainable development

We are very pleased to print the text of President Xi Jinping’s speech, delivered by video link on October 30, to the G20 Summit in Rome. In his speech President Xi makes five key calls to the international community, namely to:

1. Work in solidarity to combat COVID-19
2. Cooperate to promote recovery
3. Embrace inclusiveness to achieve common development
4. Pursue innovation to tap growth potential
5. Promote harmonious coexistence to achieve green and sustainable development

Taken together, these five themes represent a comprehensive programme for humanity to overcome its present grave challenges and advance to a better future. It represents the antithesis of the new Cold War peddled by the various imperialist powers even whilst they also intensify an increasingly ill disguised contention between themselves. President Xi’s proposals constitute a programme around which the broadest united front of countries at various levels of development can coalesce and should be supported by all progressive forces.

Your Excellency Prime Minister Mario Draghi,
Dear Colleagues,

I wish to begin by sincerely thanking Italy, the G20 President, for the great efforts it has made in hosting this Summit.

Continue reading Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit expounds a vision of peace, cooperation and sustainable development

Bullet train for China-Laos railway arrives in Vientiane

We are pleased to republish this report in Xinhua marking the completion of a high-speed railway linking China and Laos. The railway is an example of China’s win-win approach to relations with foreign countries and its support for sovereign development.

The streamlined “China-standard” bullet train, or electric multiple unit (EMU) train, for the China-Laos railway arrived at the newly built China-Laos Railway Vientiane Station on Saturday.

The EMU train was officially delivered to the Laos-China Railway Co., Ltd., a joint venture based in the Lao capital Vientiane in charge of the railway’s construction and operation, at a handover ceremony held in the station with the attendance of Chinese Ambassador to Laos Jiang Zaidong and Lao Minister of Public Works and Transport Viengsavath Siphandone.

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Eight years of progress on the Belt and Road Initiative

This infographic from China Daily provides a powerful summary of the impressive progress that has been made over the last eight years as part of the Belt and Road Initiative. Alongside the many infrastructure projects, the graphic also notes the emergence of a ‘green silk road’ and a ‘health silk road’, the latter including multiple joint vaccine production arrangements.