By Alfred Koroma
The Chinese Embassy in Sierra Leone has supported a one day training of journalists from different media institutions on professional media practice in the country.
The seminar which was organized by the Independent Media Commission (IMC) was tailored to professionally develop media standard and ethical media practitioners in the country.
Amb. Hu Zhangliang delivered the key note address in which he applauded the country’s media freedom and enlightened journalists on the essence of ethical and professional journalism, and lengthily elaborated on the Sierra Leone-China friendship.
In his speech, Amb. Hu said the media play an important role in the political, economic and social development of all countries as it shoulders the important mission of telling the truth, promoting public ethics and morality, building social consensus and upholding justice.
He commended the joint efforts of the Sierra Leonean government and people for abolishing the Seditious Libel Law and hosting the first national media investment conference, further applauding Sierra Leone raising its Press Freedom Index from 75th in the world to 46th, and increasing the number of national radio stations in the country.
The Sierra Leonean media institutions have made important contributions to the development of China-Sierra Leone friendship and cooperation. Most media in Sierra Leone have been reporting China and China-Sierra Leone cooperation in an objective and fair manner, Amb. Hu said, adding that the reporting enables Sierra Leoneans to get better understanding of China’s development path, experience and results yielded by the cooperation between the two nations.
China and Sierra Leone are time-honored reliable friends. Although the two countries have different national conditions and social systems, both countries are important members of the international community.
Last year marked 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the countries. Over the past 50 years, China and Sierra Leone have always maintained a close partnership featuring sincere friendship, equal treatment, mutual trust and mutual benefit.
Bilateral relations between Sierra Leone and China have made more progress under the strong leadership of H.E. President Xi Jinping and H.E. Julius Maada Bio, Amb. Hu said.
In 2018 alone, China helped Sierra Leone implement more than 20 projects.
At the beginning of this year, the Chinese side has also cooperated with the Sierra Leonean side in commencing the rehabilitation of the National Stadium, the Myohaung Officers Mess and Single Officers’ Quarters, commissions 4 Mobile Clinics and, hands over a batch of water bowsers, fire engines, and vehicles.
The two governments have also signed a new agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation. The close cooperation between China and Sierra Leone in international affairs has effectively contributed to the safeguarding of international justice and the common interests of developing countries, he said.
Amb. Hu Zhangliang classified China-Sierra Leone cooperation under four main features:
The first category he spoke on is ‘sincere friendship,’ saying that China has always been sincere in helping Sierra Leone achieve development and progress. Amidst this friendship, the Ambassador said has never sought to control or manipulate Sierra Leone, nor tried to interfere into its internal matters. China does not seek any geopolitical interests in its cooperation with Sierra Leone, he added.
HE Hu described the second feature as ‘visible outcome’ which can be seen everywhere bringing tangible benefits to Sierra Leoneans in infrastructure, mining exploration, health, human resources development, agricultural and fishery development.
He said the third one is ‘no political conditions attached’, elaborating that unlike some Western countries that often use aid, trade and investment as a threat to force other countries to do things against their will, China never imposes any conditions in her assistance and cooperation with Sierra Leone.
The Ambassador named the fourth feature as ‘credit-worthy’ in which he said China never “paints cakes” or makes “empty promises,” adding that every project China agrees to undertake for Sierra Leone is implemented with speed and completed with high quality.
Why Sierra Leone-China Cooperation is of such feature?
Sierra Leone-China cooperation is of such feature because China is also a developing country and has similar historical background to that of Sierra Leone. Also, China truly understands the ambition and expectation of Sierra Leone to develop and prosper.
Secondly, China upholds the policy of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith, and pursuing the greater good and shared interests in its diplomacy towards developing countries. China believes that the world is one family and advocates building a community of a shared future for mankind.
And Thirdly, Sierra Leone has always shown understanding and support to China on issues related to China’s core interests and major concerns, especially with regard to China’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and dignity. China highly appreciates this, the Amb. Hu said.
About China’s development
Last year marked the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC). It is the unswerving goal of the CPC in its century-long history to make people live a better life. In 2021, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with General Secretary Xi Jinping at its core, China has achieved its first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. Over the past few decades, more than 700 million people in China have been lifted out of poverty, contributing more than 70% to global poverty reduction.
In 1949 when the People’s Republic of China was founded, China’s GDP only accounted for less than 5% of the world’s total. Last year, although continuing to face the COVID-19 pandemic, China’s economy maintained rapid recovery and development, with its GDP reaching 17.7 trillion US dollars, an increase of 8.1% over the previous year and accounting for 18% of the world’s total. For a consecutive of ten years, China’s annual average contribution to global economic growth has stayed above 30 percent.
In 2022, China will adhere to the general principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability and try to register a 5.5% growth. In the first quarter of this year, China’s GDP has grown by 4.8%.
Although China’s economy is also facing many unfavorable factors and severe challenges, it is still resilient and full of potential and has wide room for maneuver. The long-term positive fundamentals will not change.
The Ambassador said China will continue to provide strong momentum for the stabilization and recovery of the world economy and provide broader market opportunities for other countries, adding that China will continue to expand high-level opening to the outside world, promote the steady development of international trade and investment, including high-quality construction of the “Belt and Road”, and firmly safeguarding the multilateral trading system.