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China and Africa in the New Era: A Partnership of Equals

China Daily | Updated: 2021-11-27 09:59

4. People-to-People and Cultural Exchanges

As an old Chinese saying goes, "State-to-state relations thrive when there is friendship between the peoples." China and African countries have embraced further exchanges in culture, media, science and technology, and think tanks, and facilitated dialogues among youth and women. These efforts have promoted people-to-people bonds and laid solid foundations for further developments.

・ Expanding exchanges and cooperation in the cultural sector and tourism. The two sides continue to sign implementation plans for intergovernmental agreements on signature programs such as the Year of China, the Year of Culture, Happy Spring Festival, Chinese and African Cultures in Focus, and Insight on China, further enhancing cultural exchanges and cooperation. As of December 2020, 346 such implementation plans had been inked and carried out. From 2013 to 2020, Chinese art troupes made 140 visits to Africa to hold performances. Since 2013, art troupes from 28 African countries have been invited to perform in China. Since 2016, China has held hundreds of cultural seminars for African countries, with nearly 1,500 African participants in total. Chinese cultural centers have been set up in Mauritius, Benin, Egypt, Nigeria, Tanzania and Morocco. The Chinese government has signed documents with counterparts in Tunisia, Kenya, Côte d'Ivoire, Senegal, Ethiopia and Mozambique on establishing Chinese cultural centers in these countries or their cultural centers in China. To date China has signed bilateral documents on cooperation in tourism with 31 African countries. It has listed 34 African countries as outbound group tour destinations for its citizens, and officially launched group tourism businesses for its people with 22 African countries.

・ Working on closer cooperation in the press, the media, and film and television. China and Africa continue to strengthen dialogue and exchanges on furthering news cooperation, managing cyberspace, and handling media relations. To this end, exchange events have been held such as the China-Africa Media Summit and the Forum on China-Africa Media Cooperation. Thirty African media outlets have joined the Belt and Road News Alliance, and 42 African countries have participated in the Belt and Road Media Community Summit Forum. China supports the development of the African radio, film and television industries. This can be seen from the effort to provide satellite TV reception to 10,000 African villages, and to support outdoor screening activities-the Caravan program-in rural areas and remote suburbs, covering more than 70 villages and regions in 12 countries. China and Africa encourage joint development and production of more works that tell stories about Africa and China-Africa friendship. Chinese companies provide program resources in 11 languages on more than 600 channels for 13 million African users. In recent years, China has carried out multilingual translations of about 200 outstanding Chinese audiovisual works for Africa and held Chinese film screenings and exhibitions in more than 10 African countries. Each year, a number of African films are screened at Chinese film festivals as well.

・ Encouraging academic exchanges and cooperation among think tanks. China and Africa support various forms of cooperation among academic research institutions, think tanks and universities in carrying out subject research, academic exchanges and publication of works. Support is given to sharing research and achievements, especially on topics such as state governance, development paths, industrial capacity cooperation, culture, and law. Both sides have also been working on enhancing research strengths. More than 80 think tanks and academic research institutions have participated in the China-Africa Joint Research and Exchange Plan. The Fifth Ministerial Conference of FOCAC held in 2012 proposed to implement the China-Africa Think Tanks 10+10 Partnership Plan for long-term paired cooperation. In April 2019, China-Africa Institute was established in Beijing.

・ Increasing nongovernmental exchanges. China and African countries have actively implemented the Proposals on China-Africa People-to-People Exchanges and Cooperation, the China-Africa People-to-People Friendship Action, the Silk Road Community Building Program, and the China-Africa People-to-People Friendship and Partnership Program. They support trade unions, other nongovernmental organizations and social groups in engaging in exchanges. Since 2011, the two sides have held six China-Africa People's Forums. In addition, five China-Africa Young Leaders Forums, four Asian-African Youth Festivals and three China-Africa Youth Galas have been held since 2012. The 1st China-Africa Future Leaders' Dialogue was held in 2021. As of 2020, the Chinese Government has dispatched 484 young volunteers to 16 African countries. It has established contacts and exchanges with more than 100 women's organizations in 53 African countries. Centers dedicated to friendly exchanges or training among women have been established in Mauritius, Lesotho, Djibouti, Zimbabwe and Sudan.

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