From October 16 to 22, the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) was convened in Beijing. H.E. Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee delivered a report to the congress on behalf of the 19th Central Committee. The congress elected a new Central Committee and the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI). President Xi was re-elected as the General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee. The international community closely followed this congress, leaders of many countries and major political parties and dignitaries have sent congratulatory messages to Beijing. On a special note, President Muhammadu Buhari congratulated General Secretary Xi Jinping’s re-election, which well reflected the friendship of the two leaders and the high level of our two countries’ relations.
Xi’s report summarised in a comprehensive way the work in the past five years and the great changes in China in the past ten years, which is also the first decade of the new era in China, and reviewed three major events of great immediate importance and profound historical significance for the cause of CPC and the Chinese people. What’s more important is that,the report drew a blueprint for China’s future development, which will surely bring new opportunities for the further growth of China-Africa and China-Nigeria relations.
Firstly, China’s experience and practice show that every country must choose a path based on its own national realities. Democracy is an ideal that has always been cherished by China and its people. Now, we have developed whole-process people’s democracy, made all-around progress in improving the institutions, standards, and procedures of our socialist democracy, and advanced socialist consultative democracy by way of extensive participation. What’s more, we have reinforced the foundations that undergird the people’s running of the country, injected fresh vitality into democracy at the community level. China’s experience proves that democracy should and can come in many forms.
Nigeria and China share many similar national situations, such as large population and diversified ethnic nationalities. Both countries belong to the developing world and are on the path to pursue national development. Meanwhile, both countries are also trying to develop their own native systems which could serve their people’s interest most. During my communications with political party leaders of Nigeria, they showed strong interest in acquiring China’s experience of governance. I strongly believe that China’s exercise of “whole-process people’s democracy” could provide reference for Nigeria and other African countries to develop their own political institution which would uphold democracy while maintaining national unity and common development of different ethnic nationalities.
Secondly, the report has set forth that building a community with a shared future and standing firm in protecting international fairness and justice will be China’s consistent aim. China is a strong proponent and consistent practitioner of true multilateralism. We have taken a clear-cut stance against hegemonism and power politics in all their forms, and have never wavered in our opposition to unilateralism, protectionism, and bullying of any kind. We have improved China’s overall diplomatic agenda and worked actively to build a global network of partnerships and foster a new type of international relations. China is much aware of its duty as a responsible major country, and actively participates in the reform and development of the global governance system.
In this regard, China, Nigeria, and the whole Africa have many goals in common. Back to the middle of last century, both of us had fought together against colonization and hegemony. Even till now, the interests of developing countries are yet to be fairly accommodated under the current international governance. Guided by the spirit of the report of 20th Congress of CPC, China will continue to work closely with African countries to build a more fair and just international governance system in which the voice of developing countries shall be heard, and their calls be answered.
Thirdly, China will pursue a more proactive strategy of opening up. We have worked to build a globally-oriented network of high-standard free trade areas and accelerated the development of pilot free trade zones and the Hainan Free Trade Port. As a collaborative endeavor, the Belt and Road Initiative has been welcomed by the international community both as a public good and a cooperation platform. China has become a major trading partner for more than 140 countries and regions including Nigeria. It leads the world in total volume of trade in goods, and becomes a major destination for global investment and a leading country in outbound investment. Through these efforts, we have advanced a broader agenda of opening up across more areas and in greater depth. As economic globalization is beset by recession and fragmentation, China has been providing a rare source of stability for a turbulent world.
In recent years, China-Africa win-win cooperation, by docking the Belt and Road Initiative and Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) action plans, has focused on economic growth and development, reduced poverty through human resource capacity development, and helped to maintain sustaining peace and security on the continent. Today, the outcomes of China-Africa cooperation are all over the African continent. The roads, railways, airports, ports, high-rise buildings, stadiums and other structures that China helped build are evidences that the all-round cooperation between China and Africa is yielding fantastic results.
The cooperation between China-Nigeria is also steadily growing. Last week, I participated in the ground-breaking ceremony of the new building of the ECOWAS Headquarters and the handover ceremony of the Nigerian Agricultural Technology Demonstration Center. Both of the above Abuja-located projects are aided and constructed by China and warmly welcomed by the ECOWAS member states and Nigerian Government. More than that, projects like Abuja-Kaduna railway, Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone, currency swap, satellite launching, and joint marine scientific exploration, are the first of its kind in Africa. With further implementation of the report of 20th National Congress of CPC, the future of pragmatic cooperation between our two countries will be even more promising.
Since the establishment of China-Nigeria diplomatic relations 51 years ago, the relationship between China and Nigeria have enjoyed a strong development on the basis of mutual respect, mutual trust and mutual support. As the 14th Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, I left no stone unturned to raise the bar of our bilateral relations. My strategy of China-Nigeria 5GIST GDP and initiative of Share the Chinese Harmony and Perform Nigeria-China Symphony have scaled up the two countries’ cooperation crossing from political sector to security field, from economic collaboration to people to people exchanges. The convening of the 20th National Congress of CPC further injected strong impetus to our bilateral ties. Guided by its spirit, we will continue to work with Nigeria to further enhance political trust, deepen practical cooperation, strengthen people-to-people exchanges, enhance multilateral collaboration, and accelerate the implementation of the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative. Holding dear humanity’s shared values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy, and freedom, we’ll together build a brighter future for China-Nigeria relations and a better world for humanity.
Jianchun is the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria