China launches press pro­gramme to im­prove ties with Caribbean

Stabroek News Sunday - - NEWS -

The Gov­ern­ment of China, through its China Public Di­plo­macy As­so­ci­a­tion (CPDA), has ini­ti­ated a China-Caribbean Press Pro­gramme as part of ef­forts to build bet­ter re­la­tions with the Caribbean Re­gion.

The pro­gramme, which was launched on Wed­nes­day at the China-Caribbean Press Cen­ter, lo­cated at the Bei­jing In­ter­na­tional Chi­nese Col­lege, wel­comed 10 jour­nal­ists from the Caribbean, who com­prised the first batch to for­mally par­tic­i­pate in the month-long ini­tia­tive in China. The of­fi­cial launch was also at­tended by high rank­ing of­fi­cials of the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment as well as sev­eral Caribbean am­bas­sadors.

Speak­ing at the event, Wu Xiao­jun, Coun­sel­lor of the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs Depart­ment, noted that in re­cent years China has been im­prov­ing re­la­tions with Caribbean states and ex­pand­ing its re­sult-ori­ented co­op­er­a­tion.

“Cur­rently, China is un­der­go­ing rapid de­vel­op­ment, thus pro­vid­ing great op­por­tu­ni­ties for bi­lat­eral de­vel­op­ment. Mu­tual understanding is the pre­req­ui­site for deep­ened co­op­er­a­tion, so we hope to show the real and vivid China to them in an all-round way. Me­dia pro­vides a unique win­dow on the world for the gen­eral public. So, I earnestly hope that you can fa­cil­i­tate our mu­tual understanding, recog­ni­tion and pro­vide the driv­ing force be­hind deep­en­ing co­op­er­a­tion,” he added.

These sen­ti­ments were echoed by Gong Jianzhong, Vi­cePres­i­dent of the CPDA, who noted that since the es­tab­lish­ment of the body, it has al­ways em­pha­sised ex­changes with Caribbean states and pro­moted peo­ple to peo­ple ex­changes and friend­ship through cul­ture and di­a­logue.

“I be­lieve you will fos­ter a fresh new understanding of China af­ter this pro­gramme. I hope that through your re­port, our Caribbean coun­ter­parts can know the au­then­tic and vivid China in a com­pre­hen­sive way,” he stated.

Mean­while, Guyana’s Am­bas­sador to China Bar­ney Kar­ran, who spoke to this news­pa­per af­ter the cer­e­mony, said the in­tro­duc­tion of the new pro­gramme is one that is prob­a­bly rooted in the ini­tia­tive an­nounced by President XI Xing Ping dur­ing his last visit to Latin Amer­ica, where he in­di­cated his gov­ern­ment’s in­ter­est in un­der­tak­ing ini­tia­tives that were go­ing to be of greater con­tact with jour­nal­ists from the Latin Amer­ica/Caribbean Re­gion and China.

“In terms of the spe­cific pro­gramme, I cer­tainly think there is a need for jour­nal­ists to be ex­posed to each other’s coun­try and re­gion be­cause this is an im­por­tant way of build­ing fa­mil­iar­ity, pro­mot­ing tol­er­ance and understanding. China is be­com­ing more and more a re­spected player in our re­spec­tive coun­tries, not only in eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion, but also in the pres­ence of na­tion­als, but the growth of re­tail trade, the pres­ence of peo­ple in the re­tail sec­tor, and even in tech­ni­cal areas be­cause of the num­ber of projects that are be­ing done,” Am­bas­sador Kar­ran shared.

“I think when you have this num­ber of so­ci­etal con­tacts, you have a lot per­spec­tives and is­sues that have to be dealt with that is very ben­e­fi­cial from that point of view for jour­nal­ists from the Caribbean to be present in China to get a bet­ter fa­mil­iar­ity and greater understanding, so that they can de­scribe to their au­di­ences in our coun­tries what they think China is about, and what [are] some of the pos­i­tives and not so pos­i­tives things we need to deal with,” Guyana’s Am­bas­sador added.

The pro­gramme, which com­menced on April 1st, will run un­til April 29th, and will see Caribbean jour­nal­ists from An­tigua and Bar­buda, Ba­hamas, Bar­ba­dos, Do­minica, Gre­nada, Guyana, Ja­maica, Suri­name, and Trinidad and Tobago, given the op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in lo­cal Chi­nese cul­ture, en­gage with Chi­nese me­dia work­ers, as well as gov­ern­ment agen­cies and of­fi­cials.

Ac­cord­ing to the Vi­cePres­i­dent of Bei­jing In­ter­na­tional Chi­nese Col­lege, Madame Gui

Fan, who also spoke at the launch, the school has un­der­taken China-In­ter­na­tional press cen­ter pro­grammes or­gan­ised by CDPA since 2014, and has en­rolled 146 in­ter­na­tional stu­dents from 67 coun­tries into the Man­darin lan­guage pro­gramme.

She noted that it has been through lan­guage study and ac­tiv­i­ties that they have learned more about de­vel­op­ment af­ter four decades of re­form and open­ing up.

“We have known more about the his­to­ries, eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, re­li­gious be­liefs, cul­tures and cus­toms of jour­nal­ists’ home coun­tries through daily in­ter­ac­tions. As the An­cient Chi­nese say­ing goes, ‘Amity be­tween peo­ple holds the key to sound re­la­tions be­tween states.’ You would feel Chi­nese peo­ple’s good­will and hospi­tal­ity in per­son here, de­spite cer­tain lan­guage bar­rier,” she said.

The jour­nal­ists with of­fi­cials of the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment, the China Public Di­plo­macy As­so­ci­a­tion and Caribbean am­bas­sadors, among oth­ers, at the launch of the pro­gramme last Wed­nes­day.

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