left corner left corner
China Daily Website  

Honeymoons must end, but enjoy them while you can

Updated: 2014-08-01 09:12
( China Daily Africa)

Honeymoons must end, but enjoy them while you can

Cyprian Nugah Doh says he benefited from the Chinese Dream. Previously a teacher in Africa, he is now studying for his master's degree in China. Provided to China Daily

Honeymoons must end, but enjoy them while you can

How China has brought me to the brink of realizing own dream

My honeymoon with China and Shenzhen began in 2011, and it is still not quite over.

That year the 26th World Universiade was held in the city, and it brought with it the Shenzhen Universiade Scholarship fund. This annual grant helps foreign students in China and Chinese students going to study or research abroad. I was among the lucky five foreign students to benefit from the fund that year, and the presentation ceremony took place during a meeting of the World University President's Forum.

In recent years, of course, China has captured the imagination of people everywhere with its stunning growth and opening up to the world.

President Xi Jinping's speech after he was elected by delegates of the 12th National People's Congress as China's top leader in March 2013 reminded people everywhere of the responsibility we all have towards our own countries.

The Chinese Dream is seen by many as a call for China to exert greater influence worldwide, and Xi refers to it as a form of national rejuvenation. Some see it as a banner that exhorts greater efforts to achieve economic prosperity, while others see it as the pursuit of individual dreams. The Chinese dream, compared with other dreams like the American Dream, is not an individual but a collective vision of achieving the revival of the great Chinese nation.

Honeymoons must end, but enjoy them while you can

A nation's dream is not realized, as Albert Einstein put it, by "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". To realize the Chinese dream, every individual needs to begin to realize his or her own dream.

But as an African from Cameroon, what is my Chinese Dream? Can I even dare to dream? China is contributing to Africa's development and is consolidating the foundations for industrialization. China benefits from trading with Africa and at the same time injects even more strength into the African economy.

As China pursues its dream, it has convinced Africa that its dream relates not only to China's rejuvenation, but can also benefit others, including Africans, and boost prosperity all around.

The way I see it, the Chinese Dream cannot be realized without a benevolent environment, and that dream will in turn add to peace and prosperity of the region and the world.

So the Chinese Dream is also part of the dream of many in the developing world who now have a great opportunity to grow their economies with China's help. Africa's adoption of the "looking East" policy is recognition of the importance of China among developing nations.

Just as my honeymoon with Shenzhen continues, so does that of China and Africa, but eventually the practicalities of a marriage will impose themselves, and both parties will need to start analyzing any social and cultural differences between them that could be the seeds of future problems.

But rather than drawing back from one another, China and Africa should redouble their efforts to grapple with anything that threatens to come between them.

Like many other Africans in China, I feel rejuvenated by the concept of the Chinese Dream. China has been willing and good enough to give opportunities to all those who have sought them, and I count myself among them. So what exactly has China given me and what lies ahead in my efforts to realize my Chinese Dream?

I have been truly blessed in my relationship with China. I was a teacher in Africa, and am now studying for a master's degree in international law at Shenzhen University Law School. My research interest is, not surprisingly, China-Africa relations.

Honeymoons must end, but enjoy them while you can

In practical terms, Chinese investors and anyone else interested in Africa need to be taught more about the continent. The culture and legal environment in Africa is one of the most diverse in the world and it is only by understanding this diversity that China and Africa can fully benefit from this relationship that is coming of age.

Research in China-Africa engagement has been critical to China's activities in Africa, but there are few who are proposing ways of how the two can work more closely together and how problems can be solved.

In keeping with the spirit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, I and those I work with are looking for ways to advance ties.

I and a Chinese student, Zhou Jinbo, have published a book on the subject, and he will go to South Africa to pursue his doctoral studies. Students and teachers alike have been heavily involved in translating and proofreading the book, and special thanks go to the teachers at Shenzhen University for their great support and encouragement, especially Professor Liu Yang, vice-dean of the College of International Exchange.

It has been under his supervision and guidance that I have been able to achieve so much. Under his direction, we are working to give more meaning to the China-Africa relationship.

All this is an answer to President Xi's call for young people to dare to dream, work hard, and work assiduously to fulfill the dream and contribute to the revitalization of a great nation. We believe that as we university students unite and work hard, as we have at Shenzhen University, that great dream is there for the realizing.

The author is studying for his master's degree in international law at Shenzhen University Law School.

(China Daily Africa Weekly 08/01/2014 page29)