University Vice-chancellors, primary and secondary school principals China visits to follow
The Chinese Embassy in South Africa will tomorrow 09 September 2019 take 31 student leaders mostly from the South African Students’ Congress (SASCO) to travel to China for a two-week summer camp and exchange program.
Addressing the Media at the Embassy in Tshwane/Pretoria on Sunday, September 8, 2019, Ambassador Lin Songtian, of China to South Africa said during the next two weeks in China, the delegation will visit Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, which are respectively China’s capital, economic hub and a pilot city for practicing socialism with Chinese characteristics. Geographically, they represent the North and South, and coastal areas of China.
The delegation will also visit Tsinghua University, one of China’s most prestigious universities, engage with students from top Chinese universities and student organizations, and visit the headquarters of the Confucius Institute.
“China itself is a new textbook of human development in our times and It is our sincere hope that during the two weeks visit, the delegation will experience China, have a better understanding of China’s past and present, traditions and modernity, and where China came from and where is China going,” Ambassador Songtian said.
Besides visiting Chinese universities and meet with Chinese students, there will also be a variety of field visits such as getting a first-hand experience of China’s high-speed railway, sharing bikes and mobile payment.
The student leaders will also experience two important Chinese festivals, one is the “Mid-Autumn Festival”, a very important traditional Chinese festival, and the other one is China’s “National Day”.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China with grand and large-scale celebrations. It is expected that the delegation will be greeted and embraced by the hospitality and friendliness, be shared with the harmony and happiness of the Chinese people.
‘It is our sincere hope that when they return to South Africa, they can share with their classmates and families what they have seen in China and tell the story of a real China, and serve as envoys of China-South Africa and China-Africa friendship,” the Ambassador said.
This is the first delegation of young student leaders to visit China following the decision of the Chinese President Xi Jinping, that he put forth during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing Summit, among the “Eight Major Initiatives” for China-Africa cooperation, one of them is to invite 2000 young Africans to visit China in the next three years.
The ambassador said however, this is not the last visit, “this is the new beginning for our two youth to exchange their visits and friendship, and more delegations will follow and exchange from our two countries”.
In addition to young student leaders, the Embassy will also invite and organize vice-chancellors from South African universities, and principals from primary and secondary schools to visit China this year.
“These three delegations are the first of their kinds in the history of China-South Africa relations because youth is the future of a country as well as the future of China-South Africa and China-Africa relations,” the ambassador said
Meanwhile, inviting young student leaders to visit China is also a pioneering step taken by China to promote people-to-people exchanges with South Africa.
“It is our strong belief that to invest in the youth and education is to invest in the future of our bilateral relations because the bilateral cooperation of youth and education exchanges has become an important part of the China-South Africa Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
“We sincerely hope that deepening bilateral exchanges and cooperation in such fields as education and youth will add new dimensions to our bilateral relations,” he said.
The 31 students who will travel to China tomorrow come from 20 public universities in South Africa, including the UNISA, UJ and the Universities of Western Cape, and KwaZulu Natal.
The Ambassador said SASCO was identified as a youth organization to source the youth leaders because It is the most influential national student organization in South Africa, and has branches in 26 universities across the country and serves as an important platform for cultivating future leaders.
He said both China and South Africa are good brothers and sisters and China has remained the largest trading partner of SA and has been one of the most important sources of investment and tourism of SA in 10 consecutive years as.
“But sorry to say that both of our two peoples, especially the youth of our two countries know each other so little.
We would like to share with them that China has changed, the world has changed and Africa has been rising. We have no choice but to keep our eyes close to what happens in the world, where the world is going and look at how we can get ready to meet the new changes and the new world.
“Seeing is believing, therefore, inviting student leaders from SASCO to visit China is of great significance and surely will enrich their visions and promote the mutual understanding, learning and friendship between the young students of our two countries,” Ambassador Songtian said.