1. Political relations
The People's Republic of China and the Republic of Sierra Leone established diplomatic relations on July 29, 1971. Bilateral relations between the two countries have ever since achieved a smooth development.
Major visits to Sierra Leone paid by Chinese leaders and senior officials are as follows: Vice Chairman Ji Pengfei of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (December 1978), Vice Premier Tian Jiyun (November 1984) and Vice Chairman Liao Hansheng of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (November 1985).
Major visits to China paid by Sierra Leonean leaders include: President Siaka Stevens (November 1973, April-May 1981 and March 1985), William N. S. Conteh, Speaker of the Parliament (October 1984 and November 1987), President Joseph Saidu Momoh (February 1986 and July 1990), Vice President Salia Jusu Sheriff (October 1989), Mohamed Lamin Kamara, Secretary of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (February 1993), Valentine E. Melvin Strasser, Chairman of the National Provisional Ruling Council (October 1994), Vice President Albert J. E. Demby (October-November 1996), Sama Banya, Secretary of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (October-November 1998), President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah (May-June 1999) and Sheku M. F. Kutubu, Speaker of the Parliament (August 1999).
2. Trade relations and economic and technical cooperation
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, China has helped Sierra Leone to complete numerous projects, such as station for popularizing rice-cultivation techniques, road bridges, National Stadium, sugar complex, office building, hydropower station, power transmission and substation projects, civil housing. Projects still under construction are maintenance of governmental office building, army's headquarter office building, and agricultural technological cooperation, etc.
Sino-Sierra Leone cooperation of mutual benefit started from 1984. The Fujian-Africa Fishing Company of China signed fishing cooperation contracts with the Okeky Agent Company of Sierra Leone. The Company of International Cooperation on Agriculture, Husbandry and Fishery of China also signed some contracts of mutual benefit with Sierra Leone. Sino-Sierra Leone joint ventures and China-funded ventures have started their business in Sierra Leone since 1985.
In July 1971, the Chinese Government signed a trade and payment agreement with the Sierra Leonean Government. In September 1989, the two Governments signed a trade agreement. China's main exports to Sierra Leone are mechanical and electrical products, textiles and other light industrial goods, cultural and educational materials, hardware, articles for daily use, etc. China's main imports from Sierra Leone are coffee and cacao beans. The trade volume between the two countries reached US$ 14.57 million in 2002, among which China's export volume totaled US$14.41 million, and import US$0.16 billion.
3. Exchanges and cooperation in the fields of culture, education and health
China and Sierra Leone signed a cultural agreement in April 1981 and since then, the cultural delegations from the two countries have exchanged many visits.
China began to accept Sierra Leonean students from 1976. Up to the end of 2002, China had received altogether 203 students from Sierra Leone. In 1976, China sent 8 students to study English in the Fourah Bay College of Sierra Leone.
From March 1973 to May 1994, China had sent in all 10 medical teams to Sierra Leone for work. The Chinese medical teams returned back because of war-caused chaotic situation in Sierra Leone. Since December 2002, China has begun to re-dispatch its medical team to Sierra Leone. At present, there are two Chinese medical personnel working in the African country.
In March 1984, Hefei, the capital city of East China's Anhui Province, established a sister-city relationship with Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone.
4. Important agreements and documents
On July 29, 1971, the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone signed the Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations. Its full text reads as follows:
"The Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone, in accordance with the interests and wishes of the people of the two countries, decide to establish diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level as from today.
The Chinese Government and people firmly support the Government and people of the Republic of Sierra Leone in their struggle against imperialism, colonialism and neo-colonialism and in their efforts to safeguard national independence and state sovereignty.
The Government of Sierra Leone recognizes the Government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legitimate government representing the entire China.
The two Governments agree to develop diplomatic relations, friendship and cooperation between the two countries on the basis of the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence."
(Chinese Foreign Ministry October 10, 2006)