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Remarks by Chinese Ambassador to Liberia H. E. Ren Yisheng at the Commencement Ceremony of the Bomi Community College
2022-09-27 23:50

(24 September 2022)

Chairman and members of the Board of Trustees of BCC,

Chairman and members of the Bomi Legislative Caucus,

Director General National Commission of Higher Education,

Heads of Institutions and Agencies,

The Bomi County Superintendent and local government officials,

Former Government Officials,

Commencement Speaker,

President and members of Consortium of community colleges/universities,

Officiating Prelate and Clergy,

Special Guests,

Doyen and Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Administration, Faculty, staff, student body ,

President and members of the BCC Alumni Association,

Members of the 10th Graduating Class,

Parents, guardians, sponsors, visiting friends,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning! Thank you for the opportunity to address this great event with a recorded video. I regret that I’m unable to join you physically. I recall with pleasure my visit to BCC last June when I attended the Induction Ceremony of President Gbatu.

Commencement marks the conclusion of a special course and the beginning of a new stage of life. I sincerely congratulate all members of the 10th Graduating Class of BCC for having successfully accomplished your school and wish you all the best in your future endeavors!

Today, I would like to talk about three issues.

First, on Chinas new progress and development

Over the past 101 years since its inception, the Communist Party of China(CPC) has led the Chinese people in winning the victories of revolution, socialist construction, reform and socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.

The reform and opening up which started in 1978 have fundamentally changed the face of China. Over the past 4 decades or so, China’s economic aggregate has increased by 33.5 times with an average growth rate of 9.5%. The Chinese people’s living standard has been significantly improved. Our per capita GDP has grown from US $156 in 1978 to more than US $12,000 today.

Over the past four decades, more than 770 million people have been lifted out of extreme poverty. As announced by President Xi Jinping in 2021, China has built a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way, and achieved the first centenary goal.

In the face of the sudden outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, China has adhered to the supremacy of the people and life, and taken the most comprehensive, strict and powerful prevention and control measures despite of huge economic and social costs, which effectively reversed the pandemic situation and safeguarded people's right to life and health. Meanwhile, China has taken the lead in resuming work and production, carrying out active international cooperation and maintained a strong economic growth momentum over the past three years. China’s GDP is expected to grow by around 5% this year.

The secret of China’s success story lies in, among others, the strong CPC leadership, the people-centered concept of development, persisting on the development path which best suits China’s national conditions, emancipating mindset, and enduring hardship.

Since the 18th National Congress held in 2012, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has led the country in further deepening our reform. Over the past decade, more than 1,600 reform plans have been implemented, in such areas as poverty eradication, coping with pollution and conserving the ecological environment, science and technology innovation, AI, etc.

The 20th CPC National Congress will be convened on October 16 in Beijing. The newly elected CPC central committee will lead the Chinese people to march towards the second centenary goal and build China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful by the middle of this century when we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

With the fast and healthy economic and social development, the Chinese people of all 56 ethnic groups, including those living in Xinjiang, Xizang (or Tibet) and Hong Kong, today are living a happy and content life. The rumors spread and lies fabricated by some Western politicians and media about so-called “genocide and forced labour” in Xinjiang and “human rights violations”in Hong Kong are nothing but an attempt to smear China and impede China’s progress and national rejuvenation.

Second, on China-Africa and China-Liberia friendly cooperation

In the face of changes unseen in a century and world turmoil and as a responsible major country, China has been striving for world peace and international security, contributing to global development, and aiming to build a community with shared future for mankind. In 2013, President Xi Jinping put forward the Belt & Road Initiative(BRI). By adhering to the principles of "consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits", BRI is intended to promote infrastructure construction and connectivity, strengthen the coordination of economic policies and the docking of development strategies, promote coordinated development, and achieve common prosperity.

Last year, President Xi put forward a Global Development Initiative (GDI) at the General Debate of the 76th UNGA, calling on the international community to pay attention to the urgent issues facing developing countries and jointly promote global development to a new stage of balance, coordination and inclusiveness. Last February, President Xi proposed a Global Security Initiative (GSI) at the Boao Forum for Asia 2022 annual session. Its essence is to forge a new security path of dialogue rather than confrontation, partnership rather than alliance, and win-win rather than zero-sum by taking the new security concept as the guide, mutual respect as the basic principle, the inseparability of security as the important principle, and the building of a security community as the long-term goal.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Similar historical encounters and common historical missions have closely linked China and Africa. By upholding the concept of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith and following the principle of pursuing the greater good and shared interests, China actively promotes the development of China-Africa comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, and safeguards the common interests of the vast developing countries. In recent years, China-Africa win-win cooperation, by docking the BRI and Forum on China-Africa Cooperation(FOCAC) action plans with African Union Agenda 2063, has focused on economic growth and development, reducing poverty through human resource capacity development, to ensure sustainable peace and security on the continent.

President Xi Jinping, when addressing the opening ceremony of the 8th Ministerial Conference of FOCAC held in Dakar, Senegal last November, made four proposals for building a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era, which include fighting COVID-19 with solidarity, deepening practical cooperation, promoting green development and upholding equity and justice. He also announced that China will work closely with African countries to implement Nine Programs which include medical and health, poverty reduction and agricultural development, trade promotion, investment promotion, digital innovation, green development, capacity building, cultural and people-to-people exchange, and peace and security.   

It should be emphasized that, unlike Western practices, China never attaches any political conditions to its loans and assistance to Africa. China pays close attention to debt sustainability of recipient countries, fully respects the wills of relevant governments. Among China's partners in Africa and elsewhere, no country is in debt crisis because of their cooperation with China. As announced by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in August, China will waive 23 interest-free loans for 17 African countries that had matured by the end of 2021.

Ladies and gentlemen,

China has been fully involved in Liberia’s postwar recovery, from providing support to the UN peacekeeping effort, to infrastructure development and human resource capacity development. Liberia has enacted the one-China principle into law which has laid a solid political foundation for the development of our bilateral relations.

In recent years, under the framework of the BRI advocated by President Xi Jinping and the "Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development"(PAPD) advocated by President George Manneh Weah, China-Liberia cooperation has achieved fruitful results in such areas as economy and trade, health care, infrastructure construction, food security, and human resource development. The Agricultural Technology Demonstration Center and the Bamboo and Rattan Weaving and Vegetable Planting Technology Project have graduated 2,500 and 900 trainees respectively. The China-aided technical assistance to maintaining SKD Sports Complex and LBS are ongoing well. At present, the two sides are actively implementing such development projects as the two Capital overpass bridges, the clinical diagnostic and treatment lab at the 14 Military Hospital, the fingerprint comparison lab, LBS expansion and upgrade, and Somalia-Sinkor Road and Bridge, and seek to expand cooperation in other fields which are important for Liberia’s development. The Chinese government, in implementing the Nine Programs of FOCAC, will apply a zero-tariff policy on 98% of imported goods from Liberia.

Since the outbreak of COVID pandemic in 2020, China has donated 6 batches(4 by government and 2 by charity organizations) of anti-epidemic materials including surgical masks, PPEs, infrared thermometers, ventilators, oxygen concentrators, ambulances and etc. to Liberia. The 15th batch of China Medical Team has recently arrived in Liberia and started its work at JFK Medical Center. In recent years, the Chinese government has provided food-aid up to 2,500 tons of rice to Liberia annually. Last year, the Chinese government spent two million US dollars to purchase food supplies through World Food Program and provided food rations to approximately 55,250 students and their families in Montserrado, Nimba, and Maryland counties, benefiting approximately 276,250 citizens. Earlier this year, the Chinese government, in collaboration with UNICEF, implemented an food- and nutrition-aid project in an amount of one million US dollars which has benefited pregnant women and new born babies of all 15 Liberian counties.

Third, on people-to-people exchanges and my advises to the students of BCC

People-to-people exchanges are an important means of deepening the understanding and friendship between our two peoples. Every year, China provides around 50 full government scholarships and around 200 short- and long-term training opportunities, including some master and doctorate degree scholarships, to Liberian students and trainees. As you are aware of, President Gbatu is a representative of outstanding beneficiaries who have been trained in China.

For the 2020-2023 years, we will send 190 Liberian recipients of government scholarship to different prestigious Chinese universities and colleges.

Every year, our embassy also provides Ambassador’s scholarships to more than 100 students of excellence from University of Liberia, Cuttington University and Tubman University. I’m pleased to announce that, this year we will for the first time provide Ambassador’s scholarships to students of excellence from BCC!

President Gbatu,

Ladies and gentlemen,

BCC is a relatively young higher education institution with only 17 years history, but it has made significant contribution to the development of Bomi and western region of Liberia by training a large number of outstanding students over the years. We laud the contribution of the college and pay tribute to the administration and instructional staff for your contributions. Last June, the embassy donated some computers, printers and books to the college. This time, we will donate some solar power lights and study desks to BCC and will continue to support your development.

Ladies and gentlemen,

“Bomi” means “light” in Gola language. Liberian young talents are also the light of the country. You represent the future of your nation and must give full play to your own advantages and maximize your wisdom to promote sound and rapid economic and social development of your country. In order to do so, BCC students should set up your goals and work hard to learn knowledge and skills, participate in social practices, endure hardships and adopt positive attitudes. Meanwhile, you are expected to become goodwill ambassadors and contribute to China-Liberia friendly and win-win cooperation. We are convinced that, with our joint efforts and contribution, China-Liberia friendship and cooperation will grow from strength to strength with a bright future.

Thank you for your attention!

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