Interview to Independent Media by The Chinese Consul General in Johannesburg Tang Zhongdong
2022-06-26 00:19

Recently, The Chinese Consul General in Johannesburg Tang Zhongdong was interviewed by Independent Media on the background of the founding of the Communist Party of Chinaand its historical achievements, China's economic development, and China-South Africa relations. Part of the text of the interview was released on June 23. The full text is as follows:

Q: This year is the 101st anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC), please briefly introduce the founding background, nature and historical achievements of the CPC.

A: In 1921, a movement called the May Fourth Movement broke out in Beijing, under the background of the Chinese nation's unprecedented internal and external troubles and social crisis. Driven by this great every-Chinese-known historical Movement, the Communist Party of China (CPC) was founded in the process of combining Marxism with the Chinese workers' movement.

Last year July 1, all Chinese people celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC. In the past 100 years, the CPC has united and led all the Chinese people to accomplish and achieve four major events.

First, after 28 years struggle, the Party established a new China named the People's Republic of China in 1949, historically realizing national independence and people's liberation.

Second, the Party has united and led the people to complete the socialist revolution and construction, established a full set of basic socialist system within 2 decades.

Third, the Party has united and led the people to profoundly summarize historical experience during the socialist building after 1949, decided to implement reform and opening-up policy since 1978, and create, uphold, defend and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics. Under CPC’s leadership and Chinese people’s hardworking, China gradually transited from a very poor country in 1978 to the second largest economy of the world in 2010.

Fourth, since 2012, CPC has united and led Chinese people to enter into the new era. The Party has coordinated the Five-sphere Integrated Plan which is to make balanced progress in economic, political, social, cultural and ecologic fields, and the Four-pronged Comprehensive Strategies including building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, deepening reform, advancing the law-based governance, strengthening party self-governance, won the battle against elimination of extreme poverty in 2021 through many years effort, achieved decisive victory in combating the Covid-19. The target of realizing the moderately prosperous society in all respects has been achieved in 2021.

The Party is now leading the Chinese people to embark on a new journey to realize a modern socialist country by mid of this century which is the aim of the Chinese dream about the great rejuvenation of the nation.

The CPC is a political party that seeks happiness for the Chinese people as its original aspiration. The CPC actively contributes to world peace and development, aiming to build a community with a shared future for mankind.

In the second half of this year, the CPC will convene its 20th National Congress. The 20th National Congress is an important congress to be held to summarize the work of the past five years and draw up a blueprint for the future. So that will be a most important political event for the Party and the country in this year. My office will then deliver you or your company the English version of its main Report once available.

Q: Since the reform and opening up, China's economy has developed rapidly. Despite the Covid-19, China has eliminated extreme poverty in 2021 and made a good start in economy in 2022, and is on its way to achieve the second century goal. Please briefly introduce the process.

A: Despite the impact of the Covid-19, the CPC still achieved the goal of poverty eradication by 2021 as scheduled, fulfilling its solemn promise to the Chinese people. In February last year, Mr. Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, as well president of China, announced to the world that China had successfully eliminated extreme poverty and lifted almost 99 million people out of poverty life under the current standards. China has 10 years ahead met the poverty eradication target set in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19, facing a complex and ever-changing domestic and international environment, under the strong leadership of the CPC with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, whole regions and governments at levels have prioritized the health of the people, scientifically coordinated the prevention control of the pandemic and economic & social development, taken a number of measures to stabilize economy, market entities, employment, protect people's livelihood, expand domestic consumption and investment, achieved the economic growth of 8.1% in 2021 and 4.8% for first quarter of this year, got a stable and positive start in the year of 2022.

At present, China is marching towards the second century goal. General Secretary Xi Jinping emphasize that China has now reached the historical stage of solidly promoting common prosperity. To adapt to the change in the principal social contradiction of current society and meet the growing needs of the people for a better life, the Party must make the progress of common prosperity for all the people, focusing the efforts on seeking happiness for the people. Common prosperity is the essential requirement of socialism and an important feature of Chinese-style modernization. I’d like to repeat it again the common prosperity I am talking about is the prosperity of all people in their material and spiritual lives, not for a selected few, nor for neat and tidy egalitarianism.

However, China still faces the problem of unbalanced and insufficient development. There is a large gap between urban and rural areas. To realize common prosperity, different groups of people will and have to vary in degree and time. It is impossible to advance in parallel. It shall be a dynamic process.

Q: On 18th March this year, President Xi Jinping spoke with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on the phone. What far-reaching significance does this meeting have for the development of China-South Africa relations?

A: Although China and South Africa are geographically separated, the traditional link and friendship between our two countries has been continuous even backwards hundreds years. Both established an official diplomatic relationship in 1 Jan 1998. Although only a short period of 20 years, under the personal guidance of leaders of both countries, China-South Africa bilateral relation has made leaps forward to a comprehensive strategic partnership from the very common one in the beginning. The Comrades plus Brothers special friendship continues to develop in profound ways. This has brought tangible benefits to both peoples.

China has been South Africa’s largest trading partner for 13 consecutive years. Even under Covid-19, the trade of two countries still reached to a historical high of over 54 billion US dollars last year, up by over 50 percent. Of the sum, South Africa's exports to China caught over 33 billion US dollars, up by nearly 60 percent and shared a big surplus. South Africa is also one of the largest investment destinations for Chinese companies in Africa. According to incomplete statistics, by the end of 2021, China's investment in South Africa was over 25 billion US dollars and created over 400,000 local jobs.

On 18th March, President Xi Jinping had a phone call with President Ramaphosa to exchange in-depth views on deepening cooperation between the two countries in various fields, regional and international issues of mutual concern, and reached important consensuses which once again provided strategic guidance for the development of China-South Africa bilateral relations.

Standing at a new historical moment, the Chinese people are willing to work with South Africa people to explore development paths in compatible with national conditions of each other, push common prosperity, and forge a closer China-South Africa community with a shared future in the new era.

Q: The pandemic is still raging around the world, how will China play an active role in jointly fighting against Covid-19 and promoting practical economic cooperation between China and South Africa?

A: As a good brother, friend and partner of South Africa, China will continue to cooperate with South Africa in the fight against the pandemic and promote China-South Africa practical economic cooperation to a deeper level with higher quality and broader scope.

In June 2020, President Xi Jinping chaired the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19 and delivered a keynote speech, clearly putting forward important initiatives and solemnly announcing that China will continue to fully support practical initiatives for the fight against the pandemic in Africa. China and South Africa have been successfully cooperating in various areas such as virus detection, prevention and control, clinical diagnosis and treatment, vaccine research and production. At the same time, Chinese enterprises in South Africa are working hard to give stability to the production and supply chains here.

Chinese Embassy in South Africa and 3 Consulate General offices at Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban respectively will continue to implement the consensuses between two leaders.

In the next three years, China will totally import 100 billion US dollars worth of goods from South Africa, continue to encourage competent Chinese enterprises to invest in South Africa, making contribution for achieving President Ramaphosa’s investment proposals. Both sides will carry out collaboration on major infrastructure projects, expand further cooperation in 5G, digital economy, high-tech, e-commerce, smart cities, clean energy, vaccine production as well other new fields. I believe cooperation in tourism, education, culture and local communication will see a good rebound in post-COVID.

Looking back, China-South Africa cooperation has been fruitful. Looking ahead, China-South Africa cooperation has broad prospects. The continuous and in-depth development of bilateral relation will surely bring more benefits to both countries and people.