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The story the world should be told

Updated: 2013-03-08 11:51
By Liu Guangyuan ( China Daily)

The messenger who tells the tale should focus on multi-faceted engagement between africa, china

Four big Chinese media organizations have set up their African headquarters in Nairobi, contributing immensely to the China-Africa relationship and to Africa itself. China Daily Africa Weekly, which published its first issue in December, following the entry into Africa of other Chinese media outlets, could provide at least three services.

First, China Daily Africa Weekly could serve to improve China-Africa cooperation. Over the last 10 years, especially within the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, the China-Africa relationship has grown rapidly, particularly in economics, including trade. China's total direct investment in Africa was $15 billion by last June, about 30 times the figure 10 years ago. China has also become Africa's largest trade partner.

China-Africa cooperation has brought tangible benefits to both peoples, who have common bitter experiences and who share a common goal: development.

A Kenyan statesman told me once that Chinese companies had made remarkable contributions to Kenya's economic and social development, and that Chinese and Africans who have taken part in the noble cause have tremendously promoted the common development of Africa and China with their wisdom and diligence.

There are many moving stories about this cooperation that need to be told, and told widely. After all, the world has every reason to hear about this relationship that benefits all, and China Daily Africa Weekly can play a role in doing just that.

Second, China Daily Africa Weekly could serve to enhance cultural and people-to-people exchanges between China and Africa. Africa is the cradle of human civilization, with brilliant and colorful cultures and unique traditions, vividly portraying the beauty of mankind. Africans are wise, hard-working, optimistic and enterprising. China is also a nation with a civilization stretching back 5,000 years. China-Africa interaction and friendship date back over 600 years from the time Chinese navigator Zheng He visited Africa four times.

Culture and history have bound China and Africa together ever since. This bond has been tested by changing times and has grown stronger over the past 12 years. In 2011 about 1 million Chinese tourists visited Africa and 500,000 Africans toured China, and the figures continue to rise. However, because of the distance between China and Africa, mutual understanding between us is far from perfect.

We need to know more about each other through deeper and broader cultural and people-to-people exchanges. So China Daily Africa Weekly could take up the challenge of telling stories about China and stories about Africa to both peoples. I believe this can be achieved through stories about culture and customs, societies and lives, histories and realities, and pursuits and thoughts of the two peoples. In that way, Chinese and Africans can close the gap of mutual appreciation and understanding much better and faster.

Third, China Daily Africa Weekly could serve to speed up the momentum of Africa's peace and development.

Africa is a beautiful continent with infinite charm, great hope and a bright future. In recent years it has enjoyed a growing economy, improved infrastructure and better telecommunications, and the voices of its citizens have become increasingly united and stronger. I have been deeply impressed by the achievements that Africa has made.

The words hunger, disease, war and poverty are by no means synonymous with Africa. Objective and balanced coverage means that we should look at things in an all-round way. Media should know clearly that it is time to portray Africa for what it is by covering this great continent and its people with objective perspectives. It is my sincere hope that China Daily Africa Weekly will carry the true images and highlight the themes of the times and present Africa to the rest of the world as a land confidently marching toward progress and prosperity.

As one of the largest English-language media organizations in the world, China Daily is also good at searching for answers, confronting challenges, solving problems and pursuing innovation. I believe that only in this way will its services be more efficient and therefore more beneficial to China-Africa cooperation and friendship as well as the development of this continent.

I welcome more African media people to visit and cover China and encourage African media houses to set up branches in China. Let's make joint efforts and do our best to bring China-Kenya and China-Africa media exchanges and cooperation to new levels.

The author is China's ambassador to Kenya. The article is an excerpt from a speech he delivered at a launch reception for China Daily Africa Weekly in Nairobi.

(China Daily 03/08/2013 page8)

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