On March 25, Chinese Ambassador to Ghana Lu Kun meets with Freddie Blay, Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, the ruling party of Ghana (COURTESY)
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The CPC is taking the centennial of its founding as an opportunity to strengthen dialogue and exchange with political parties around the world. In an exclusive interview with ChinAfrica, Chinese Ambassador to Ghana Lu Kun talks about party exchanges and the relationship between the two countries.
ChinAfrica: How do you see the role of political party exchanges in promoting the relationship between China and Ghana?
Lu Kun: Political parties play an important role in the political life of countries and are also an important force for the progress of human civilization. From my perspective, political party exchanges between China and Ghana have helped promote the bilateral ties in three aspects: deepening mutual political trust, promoting mutual assistance in development and enhancing mutual learning.
In recent years, exchanges between political parties of China and Ghana have been frequent. Xu Luping, then Vice Minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, and Leng Rong, member of the CPC Central Committee and former President of the Institute of Party History and Literature of the CPC Central Committee, led CPC delegations to Ghana successively, during which they had in-depth exchanges and dialogues with Ghanaian political parties and achieved important outcomes.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) of Ghana Freddie Blay and General Secretary John Boadu led delegations to attend high-level dialogues between the CPC and the world's political parties. Boadu also led an NPP delegation to China, during which he visited Hunan and Guangdong provinces. As far as I know, after that visit, many NPP members showed great interest in "Socialism with Chinese Characteristics" and began to explore a "development path with Ghanaian characteristics."
Recently, I had an in-depth exchange of views with Chairman Blay on Sino-Ghanaian relations as well as issues related to Xinjiang and Hong Kong. After the meeting, Chairman Blay praised the achievements of the CPC in governance in an interview and highly agreed with the achievements of the CPC in protecting human rights. He resolutely opposed foreign interference in China's internal affairs and expressed strong support to the CPC and the Chinese people.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, how have the two parties joined hands to fight the epidemic?
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the CPC and the NPP have shown solidarity and fought side by side. At the critical moment when the Chinese people were fighting the epidemic, Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Chairman Blay wrote to President Xi Jinping and the CPC respectively to express their sincere condolences and firm support. After the virus outbreak in Ghana, the CPC repeatedly donated anti-epidemic materials to Ghanaian political parties, sending a firm message of solidarity against the epidemic and building a community with a shared future.
Xi pointed out that the CPC is a party that strives for the happiness of the Chinese people and for the progress of mankind. No matter how the international situation changes, China will continue to strengthen material assistance, information exchange and experience sharing with Ghana, further mobilize the whole society to help fight the epidemic in Africa, and firmly take the forefront of international assistance to fight the epidemic in Ghana. Meanwhile, China will also provide vaccines to Ghana.
Under the leadership of the CPC, China has achieved a complete victory in the fight against poverty. How will China strengthen cooperation with Ghana and Africa at large in poverty reduction?
Lifting more than 850 million people out of poverty in just 40 years is a microcosm of China's overall progress in human rights, which has tremendous significance for both China and the world. The key to China's remarkable achievement lies in the strong leadership of the CPC. Especially since the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, China has adopted a policy with targeted anti-poverty measures.
In my opinion, China can promote anti-poverty cooperation with Ghana and other African countries in four aspects. First, we should continue the joint efforts in the fight against the pandemic and strive to eliminate the biggest poverty-causing factor at present. Second, China can introduce its experience in poverty reduction to Ghana and other African countries. Third, we should pursue win-win cooperation so as to create more favorable conditions for Ghana and other African countries to eradicate poverty. Fourth, we should jointly build the Belt and Road to promote the upgrading of industrial structure and explore space for economic growth.
How do you evaluate the bilateral relations between China and Ghana in the fields of politics, trade and economy, and people-to-people exchanges? What are your expectations for the future development of the bilateral ties?
I would like to use the word "navigator" to describe the China-Ghana relations.
Politically, our two countries are the navigators of China-Africa friendship. Ghana is one of the first sub-Saharan African countries to establish diplomatic ties with China. In September 2018, Ghanaian President Akufo-Addo paid a state visit to China and held talks with President Xi, drawing up a blueprint for the future development of China-Ghana relations, and in November 2019, Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan visited Ghana, injecting new impetus to the development of relations. After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, China and Ghana have been united in brotherhood and mutual support.
In terms of economy and trade, our two countries are leading China-Africa cooperation. China is the largest trading partner and source of investment for Ghana. In recent years, Chinese investments in airlines, power plants and ceramic factories have played an important role in creating jobs and promoting development in Ghana. In 2020, under the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the bilateral trade volume did not decrease but increased, reaching $8.497 billion, up 13.6 percent year on year. In the words of Ghanaian President Akufo-Addo, China-Ghana cooperation is a good example of China-Africa cooperation.
Regarding people-to-people contacts, our two countries are leaders in China-Africa exchanges. In recent years, about 900 Ghanaian students have been studying or training in China every year. At present, there are about 6,500 Ghanaians studying in China, the second-largest group from Africa. Many of the students in the two Confucius Institutes at the University of Ghana and the University of Cape Coast have achieved excellent results in the Chinese Bridge Competition. In addition, the art troupes from China have brought about a wave of "Chinese fever," including learning mandarin and martial arts in Ghana, etc.
Looking ahead, China is standing at the historical intersection of the two centenary goals, embarking on a new journey toward the second centenary goal of fully building a modern socialist country. Ghana is constantly advancing industrialization and information technology and is committed to improving the well-being of the people. China and Ghana share the same development philosophy and have strong willingness and potential for cooperation. I firmly believe that under the strategic leadership of the leaders of the two countries and the joint efforts of the two peoples, we will be able to turn the crisis of the epidemic into an opportunity for development and embark on a new journey of greater success for our bilateral relations and cooperation.
(Print Edition Title: Standing Together)
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