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Friendly exchanges between<br> China and Africa
2007-12-20

China and Africa are far apart by thousands of miles and separate by vast oceans, but the origin of the friendly exchanges between China and Africa can be tracked back to several thousand years ago.

 

As early as the second century BC, the Han Dynasty of China and Africa have begun to mutual understanding, indirectly exchange their specialty treasures. It is said that Keliaomotela, the Egypt Queen, wore the Royal Coat which made by 10% of China's silk in a century BC. Since Zhang Qian opened up the Silk Road form China to the Western Regions in the Han Dynasty, China's gold and silk sold to the southern shores of the Mediterranean. At the same time the Tang Dynasty not only began formal direct contacts with Arab empire ruling northern Africa, but also some of Chinese people have set foot on the Africa land in the south of Saharan. The image of black Africans began showing signs on the arts and culture of the Tang Dynasty, the articles and artist express the black Africans with extraordinary skills, courage and resourcefulness of a chivalrous heart, even Dunhuang murals also describes the black Africans image. Tang Dynasty had the frequent material exchanges with the north of Africa and the east coast of Africa, so the porcelain and coins of Tang Dynasty have been found in Egypt, Kenya, Zanzibar and other places. In the Song Dynasty sailing industry was developed and promoted the exchanges appeared not only in in the northern and eastern coastal regions, but also including Zimbabwe and other African inland areas. Song also published works and other records to spread the African culture.

 

In Yuan Dynasty the direct contacts with Africa has been increasing. Emperor had sending envoys to Madagascar for the different news and stories, China's well-known tourist WANG Dayange also reached to Zanzibar. Moroccans Battutah, who is one of the most famous tourists in the medieval time, also had visited Quanzhou, south China, Hangzhou and Guangzhou cities. The African map already was drew as a southward extension of the triangle by the geographer ZHU Si in the Yuan Dynasty early in the 14th century, moreover the African continent are still unclear on the Europeans’ drawing until the beginning of 15 century. In the great work History of Science and Technology of China, the british scientist Joseph Needham praised that this map of Africa made by ZHU Si was outstanding achievements.

 

Ming Dynasty is the most important historical period for the exchanges between China and Africa, and friendly relations have developed to the mutual visits by official representatives of both sides. The famous navigator Zheng He of Ming Dynasty leaded on several dozens of vessels ship fleet with large amounts of gold, silver, satin and porcelain visited Somalia and Kenya in East Africa along the port on behalf of the Chinese government. Today a northern Somalia entitled Zheng He Tuen village is to commemorate Zheng He. Several African countries also sent envoys to visit China. The King of East Africa Ma Lin kingdom (now in the territory of Kenya) was died on his visit in China as soon as he arrived in Fuzhou, so he was buried in Min County in Fujian with a posthumous title of Kangjing presented Chinese emperor. Ma Lin Kuo in 1415 also directly send envoys to send a giraffe called the unicorn as a symbol of friendship and auspicious. Ming imported ivory, rhinoceros horn, amber, and other valuable products from Africa, China's specialty silk, porcelain and lacquer ware, and other treasures also flowed to Africa.

 

Along with the birth of New China and independence of African countries, the people of China and African countries support each other. The friendly cooperative relations have gone through more than half a century and witnessed all-round development and consolidation.

 

In the national independence period of African people, the Chinese people stood firmly in the African side, provide the full support to the African peoples against imperialism and colonialism and for national independence struggles.

 

African countries and China cooperate closely in international affairs. The majority of African countries gave strong support to China on the resumption of China's legitimate seat in the United Nations, thwarting anti-China motion of human rights situation in China and Taiwan's participation in the UN, supporting China's accession to the WTO, China's bid to host the Olympic Games and a series of important issues. China also takes an active interest and support the peace and development in Africa, support African countries in the establishment of the African Union and the implementation of the "New Partnership for Africa's Development", and actively participate in the United Nations in peacekeeping operations in Africa.

 

China as a developing country still tries his best to help African countries to build factories, farms, water conservancy, energy, transportation, telecommunications, cultural and education, and other economic and social infrastructure, especially Tan Zambia railway is China's largest assistance project to Africa which was called Freedom Road by the Africans. Since 1963 the first medical team was dispatched to Algeria, China already had sent medical teams to 43 countries. For a long time, the Chinese government in the position to do so to assist African countries in building the 800 sets of the project, its scope involving farms, factories, hospitals, schools, power plants, government office buildings, sports arenas, railways and other infrastructure.

 

Up to November 2006, China had established diplomatic relations with the same in the 48 of53 African countries.

 

As early as the 1960s, the frequent high-level exchanges between China and Africa began. Premier Zhou Enlai had three of the visit Africa and laid a solid foundation for the development of Chian-African relations. In 1996 President Jiang Zemin's visit to Africa opened a new chapter in China-African friendly relations. Many heads of state and government of African countries also paid visits to China. These visits have enhanced the mutual understanding between China and Africa and promoted the China-African friendly cooperative relations.

 

In October 2000 at the China-Africa Cooperation Forum Ministerial Conference adopted the two historic documents, namely, China-Africa Cooperation Forum Beijing Declaration and China-Africa Economic and Social Development Cooperation Program. This forum set a new milestone in China-African friendly cooperation. In December 2003, the second session of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum Ministerial Conference held in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. The meeting adopted a overall plan for the next three years China-Africa Cooperation Forum - Addis Ababa Action Plan (2004-2006). In November 2006, China-Africa Cooperation Forum Beijing Summit and the Third Ministerial Conference held in Beijing, China and Africa jointly announced the establishment of a new China-African strategic partnership. The summit adopted China-Africa Cooperation Forum - Beijing Plan of Action (2007-2009). China pledges double the assistance scale to 2009 and strive increase the trade amount reached 100 billion US dollars to 2010.

 

Over the years, China and African economic and trade cooperation among the countries develop continually, especially the China-Africa Cooperation Forum in 2000 strong promoted to the all-round China-African economic and trade cooperation development, and has scored notable achievements.

 

China signed the Bilateral Trade Agreements with more than 40 African countries, signed a Bilateral Agreement to Encourage and Protect Investment with 23 African countries, and signed Agreement on Avoiding Double Taxation with 8 African countries, and signed the Joint Committee Agreement with 29 African countries

 

China also relieved a total of 10.9 billion yuan of debt among Africa 31 countries as well as provided duty-free treatment in 190 items of export commodities.

 
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