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SA – China PPEM

3 May 2017

Ms Qiaowen Zhang and Mr Kemogotsitse Bosielo are stellar examples of the people to people exchange between China and South Africa. Both shared their experiences of their respective stays in each other’s countries. Their remarks contained mutual feelings of admiration and respect for the people of one another’s countries.  They were addressing the officials of the Government of South Africa and China at the inaugural meeting of the People to People Exchange Mechanism (PPEM) in Pretoria on April 24 2017.

Photo: SA Minister of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane signing an agreement with the Chinese Vice Minister of Education Mr Tian Xuejun.
Standing behind are SA Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa with Vice Premier of the People’s Republic of China, Ms Liu Yandong. Picture byline: Jacoline Schoonee

The 200 strong, high profile Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier Ms. Liu Yandong appreciated Bosielo’s command of Mandarin which he learnt during his time in Beijing after completing his Masters in International Relations at Tsinghua University. This is the same institution from which President Xi Jin Ping, or Xi Dada, as he is affectionately known by the Chinese, graduated from.

Vice Premier Liu Yandong reflected on the beautiful season of April, the spirit of freedom and 100 years of the revolutionary Oliver Reginald Tambo, in her keynote speech.
Co–chair of the PPEM, South African Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa pointed out that South Africa joined five other countries that have a vigorous exchange mechanism with China. These include the USA, Russia, UK, France, Indonesia and now South Africa.

The growing bilateral trade, the setting up of cultural centres, the over 200 events involving 100 000 people, are an indication of a blossoming connection between South Africa and China.

Speakers made references to the BRICS bloc and complimentary cooperation on the multilateral fora as the world undergoes a profound shift towards an integrated development.

China will host the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing from 14 to 15 May 2017, which aims to discuss ways to boost cooperation, build cooperation platforms and share cooperation outcomes. The Forum will also explore ways to address problems facing global and regional economy, create fresh energy for pursuing interconnected development and make the Belt and Road Initiative deliver greater benefits to the people of all countries.  

Vice Minister Mr.Tian Xuejun for Education and former Ambassador to South Africa, pointed out the areas of cooperation that the delegation would engage in during this inaugural interaction.

Education and health were given priority for this meeting, but sport, youth, communications, technology and tourism, amongst others were fostered during this initial exchange.

"I love South Africa just the same as I love China. Now I have two homelands to love," said Qiaowen Zhang in her conclusion.

Kemogotsitse Bosielo, the young man from Rustenburg, had no doubt that, "China - South Africa PPEM is an excellent platform for Sino-South Africa cooperation which we, as youth, should take full advantage of to propel us towards this future we all dream of."

by K Bhana



October/November 2019











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