Young Africans visit China to foster mutual exchange

By Wu Jin and Liu Guorong
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, August 31, 2019
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African delegates learn how to play a traditional Chinese stringed musical instrument during the ongoing Fourth China-Africa Youth Festival lasting from Aug. 27 to Sept. 4, 2019, in both Beijing and Guangdong province. [Photo by Wu Jin /]

Sohane Mounib a student from National School of Architecture, Morocco, was amazed by the traditional Chinese music played with strings and chimes that he heard on August 27, at the China Soong Ching Ling Science and Culture Center for Young People in Beijing.

This was his first formal engagement on his maiden visit to the country.

"The Chinese music is very soft, relaxed and very calm," Mounib said after listening to a piece played with a string instrument called "Zheng" in Chinese.

The performance, led by a professional Chinese musician in attempt to charm the young African visitors like Mounib, was staged in front of a presentation of digital slides delineating the elegance of plum flowers blooming in the cold, and a snow-clad land - symbolizing the spirit of independence and tenacity deeply appreciated by Chinese intellectuals regardless of their ages throughout time.

According to Mounib, a member of a visiting group of nearly 100 young African delegates visiting China to join the fourth China-Africa Youth Festival lasting from August 27 to September 4, he had been long interested in Chinese culture, regarding it as profound and well-preserved.

"I learn some names about Chinese instruments and it is very nice. I will definitely share my experience with (my family and friends)," he said.

Jiang Cheng, a ceramic artist working at the China Soong Ching Ling Science and Culture Center for Young People, teaches some African delegates how Chinese decorate their pottery products during the ongoing Fourth China-Africa Youth Festival lasting from Aug. 27 to Sept. 4, 2019, in both Beijing and Guangdong province. [Photo by Wu Jin /]

In another workshop of the Center, Jiang Cheng, a ceramic artist working for the Center, taught some delegates how Chinese decorate their pottery products.

Choosing an image of a piglet, this year's zodiac animal of the Chinese lunar calendar, Jiang, a graduate from the art school of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne, communicated with the African youths in fluent English.

"Art can open a window for them to realize more fully Chinese culture," she told in an interview. 

"Even though they chose thick lines to depict it, which is different from the thin lines that many Chinese artists prefer, they thought [the piglet] is lovely. Culture and art enable peoples to find their commonalities," she added.

Resonating with the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) established almost two decades ago, the Youth Festival is dedicated to fostering the friendship and mutual understanding between the two sides among younger generations.

"The Festival, an image brand of the Forum, provides an essential platform for Chinese and African youths to enhance communication, deepen understanding, learn from each other and consolidate friendship," Chen Xiaodong, the Assistant Foreign Minister of China, said while delivering a keynote speech at the opening ceremony.

"This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Over the past seven decades, China and Africa have shared similar courses, committed themselves to common missions, advanced together with concerted efforts and cared and helped each other when necessary," he said, adding that young people from both sides were now playing critical roles in inheriting and passing down the precious relationship.

Rahamtalla Mohamed Osman Elnor, the African Union's (AU) Representative to China, said, "Challenges of poverty, inequality and underdevelopment are [still] affecting young people [in Africa]."

He said, the youth of Africa, whose population is expected to reach 450 million by 2050, need China's support in terms of mutual exchange, vocational training and capacity building so as to achieve AU's 2063 Agenda and the sustainable development causes.

Aristide Lyanne Flossy, a delegate to the Festival and also the Liaison Officer of Seychelles National Youth Council, urged China and Seychelles to join hands in coping with the impending threat caused by climate change.

"One major issue on my head is the erosion coral," said Flossy, "because we depend on the fish, and the fishes depend on the corals, so we talking about what to eat if all the fish die out."

According to Flossy, with limited manpower and resources, coral erosion and sporadic tsunamis are putting their lives at great risk. Therefore, she hoped China and Africa could cooperate to think out effective techniques through joint researches to protect the archipelagos from being damaged by climate change.

Wang Jiarui, Chairperson of the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation (CSCLF), said: "Since China's development cannot be achieved without Africa, and Africa needs China to fulfill its own rejuvenation plan, the friendship being formed between China and Africa are invaluable."

African delegates experience Chinese tea art during the ongoing Fourth China-Africa Youth Festival lasting from Aug. 27 to Sept. 4, 2019, in both Beijing and Guangdong province. [Photo by Wu Jin /]

The 10-day-long Festival, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and undertaken by the CSCLF and the Government of Guangdong Province, is being hosted both in Beijing and Guangdong. During their trip, the delegates are supposed to take a close look at China's natural sceneries, cultural hubs and business centers, in addition to the forums and dialogues with their Chinese counterparts.

The promotion of mutual exchange of the young people between Africa and China has been accentuated since the Beijing Summit of the FOCAC held in September last year.

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