“Currently, China-Africa relations are standing at a new historical starting point. China-Africa cooperation is the trend of the times and the wish of the people. In September this year, the Beijing Forum on the China-Africa Cooperation will be held in Beijing. The main theme is the “Belt and Road Initiative” I believe the summit will become a new height in China-Africa cooperation,” he said.
He said China and many Asia Pacific countries are linked by mountains and rivers and are friendly neighbours that share water, adding that China attaches great importance to developing friendly exchanges and mutual beneficial cooperation with countries in the region.
The CPDA VP said that since the establishment of the association, interactions with Asia-Pacific countries have been virtually uninterrupted.
“In the next ten months, the association has scheduled a rich and abundant programme for the 42 journalists from Africa and Asia-Pacific. You will participate in series of major events in China on internal affairs and foreign diplomacy,” he stated.
He revealed that the 42 journalists will have the opportunity to visit government departments, universities and enterprises and have extensive contacts with government officials, experts, scholars, and ordinary people.
He noted that the journalists will also visit places besides Beijing to experience the multiculturalism and development status of the Chinese society.
Speaking on behalf of the African journalists, Vincent Mbonihankuye from Burundi, recalled that the CAPC was established in 2014 by CPDA with the purpose of encouraging Chinese and foreign media to conduct pragmatic and friendly exchanges and to allow big news happening in China and related countries to be reported.
He said that in the next ten months, the journalists are looking forward to learning about the “real images of China” ranging from politics, economy, technology, culture, history and tradition.
“As professional journalists, we promise to tell the “true stories of China” based on what we have seen or experienced in person. By covering major political events in China, especially through the just concluded 2018 “Two Sessions”, we have noticed that China is by no means so-called “autocratic country” preached by certain western media,” he said.
He said some western media description of China are not true and on the contrary, “we feel that China is a civilised, democratic, open and going forward country”, noting that journalists have learnt about some aspect of China at the Remin University of China (RUC) and the Beijing International Chinese College (BICC).
He revealed that in the welcome letter from Chen Zhe, the CAPC Programme Coordinator, all members are expected to keep covering, as they did during the Two Sessions, future big events in China, including the upcoming Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2018 in Hainan, the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation to be held in September, the First China International Import Expo to be held in November, and the 40th anniversary of China’s Reform and Opening-up Policy.
Speaking on behalf of the Asia-Pacific, Greggy Eugenio from Philippine said he had once decided he would never come to China because of negative reports he had read on local and international news, and social media posts.
“In my country, they say Chinese are rude, annoying and snobbish. They also claimed that China is the source of fake appliances, gadgets, food and lot more. I will also never forget that in 2015, there was a massive campaign on the social media in banning all “made in China Products”. But the reality is, my President, Rodrigo Roa Duterte, convinced me about China,” he said.
He said he was now a proud participant of the media exchange programme, while at the same time being among 17 journalists doing a masters’ degree at Renmin University of China.
“I urge everyone to work hand-in-hand in creating a memorandum of understanding between the 42 countries’ participants and China in order to disseminate correct and factual news and to combat fake news that affects the credibility and reliability of the media,” he noted.