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Africa’s plug-in on China’s 14th Five-Year Plan

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An overview of traffic flow and construction on Section 2 of the Nairobi Expressway Project along Mombasa road. /Getty

Editor’s note: Stephen Ndegwa is a Nairobi-based communication expert, lecturer-scholar at the United States International University-Africa, author and international affairs columnist. The article reflects the author’s opinions, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

With the launch of the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035 during the plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee in Beijing last week, China has once again stamped its vision and commitment toward building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

Subsequently, China has entered the penultimate stage toward achieving developed country status through its overall 15-year roadmap toward modernization. Details of the blueprint are contained in a communiqué released on October 29 after the four-day meeting.

The major planks of the strategy encompass aspects like innovation and technology, industrialization, rural vitalization, real economy, a strong domestic market, environmental conservation through eco-friendly ways of work and life, and strengthening the country’s culture, education, talent, sports and health.

African economic experts are now identifying, suggesting and analyzing areas of mutuality and commonality between the continent’s development needs and China’s new path. Moreover, Africa now needs to rev up its pace of social and economic development in order to reap maximum benefits from China’s increased development momentum. As the biggest developing country, China’s unprecedented success has great lessons and inspiration for the largest developing region.

In an article, “Five-year plan holds promise for Africa”, senior associate fellow of the Nairobi-based China-Africa Center observed that the plenum “opens up opportunities for collaboration and cooperation with African countries in areas such as manufacturing, transportation, public health, agriculture and communication.”

Even in cases where there are no direct linkages between the two partners, the expert notes that the technological innovations touching on green energy can be part of the economic and technological cooperation, which would help to fill the continent’s energy gap. This can still be stretched further to show how the foregoing will help Africa achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

There are two levels which Africa can plug into China’s five-year program – bilateral and multilateral. Bilaterally, China has individualized partnerships with the majority of African countries, with each country on a different page depending on its current and unique development needs.

LIANYUNGANG, CHINA – OCTOBER 11, 2020 – An ocean rolling ship is at berth 68, ready to load more than 1,500 vehicles for export to Egypt. Lianyungang City, Jiangsu Province, China, October 11, 2020.- PHOTOGRAPH BY Costfoto / Barcroft Studios / Future Publishing (Photo credit should read Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)


An ocean rolling ship is at berth 68, ready to load more than 1,500 vehicles for export to Egypt, in Lianyungang City, east China’s Jiangsu Province, October 11, 2020. /Getty

Therefore, while some countries will give more weight to innovation to establish their fledgling digital economies, others might find rural vitalization as the best way to develop their agricultural based economies. Some countries have urgent infrastructural needs while others need to immediately plug into China’s established public health sector, especially now that the world is struggling to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the real deal is in the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), the collective partnership vehicle comprising 53 African countries that have established diplomatic relations with both China and the African Union Commission.

China’s blueprint basically resonates with the partnership areas of the 20-year-old FOCAC. These include agriculture and food security, industrialization, investment and enterprise, infrastructure, trade, finance, energy and natural resources, climate change, poverty reduction, public health, education and, peace and security. Further to the foregoing, plugging into China’s fifth plenum can help Africa satisfy its unmet development objectives and priorities in these key sectors.

The recent establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement drives Sino-Africa relations even closer. The continent can benefit from China’s strategy of giving more impetus to growing internal demand as a way of reducing reliance on international trade.

Africa also needs to become bolder and venture into non-traditional areas of cooperation, mainly in culture and governance. Although there are some ongoing cultural exchanges, there is need to deepen and extend this to aspects like language and the arts with the aim of creating more mutual understanding and appreciation between the two partners.

Politically speaking, Africa’s history places it in an ideal position to adopt a modern socialist system with African characteristics. This entails developing the interdependence between the individual and the State to help both achieve their potential. This could be the missing link in the continent’s full development as the current liberal democratic system in most of the countries has led to massive wastage of time and resources.

The launch of the 14th Five-Year Plan has also given hope to Africa of continuity beyond COVID-19. China is one of the few countries whose economy is back on track amid the devastation caused by the pandemic in many other countries whose economies have either stagnated or regressed. China would be ready to share the strategies that it applied to gird it from external shocks and use the misfortune as a catalyst for restoration and growth.

(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at opinions@cgtn.com.)

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How Does Xi Jinping Express Gratitude And Love to his Mother?

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As International Mother’s Day, an important occasion that falls on the second Sunday of May every year, will be celebrated on May 9 this year, the media started reporting moving stories about mothers and children.

Among the stories, Xi Jinping’s stands out as he is not only a son but also the president of China.

How does the president express gratitude and love to his mother? Xi’s way can be figured out when he stressed the importance of family bonds and family love and emphasized family education on many occasions.

Xi Jinping and his mother Qi Xin. /CCTV

Pass down family tradition

When President Xi delivered his first New Year address in 2013, photos placed on his bookshelves caught the online community’s attention, especially the image of him walking hand in hand with his mother.

Xi is a filial son. He chats with his mother Qi Xin, and takes a walk with her whenever he has time.

While meeting with representatives to the first National Conference of Model Families in December 2016, Xi told a story about family education. The conference was the first of its kind to honor model families selected nationwide. A total of 300 model families were honored.

“When I was a child, my mother gave me a picture-story book series-’The Legend of Yue Fei.’ One of its more than 10 volumes shows Yue Fei’s mother tattooing four characters saying ‘serve the country with the utmost loyalty’ across his back,” Xi said, adding that the story of Yue Fei, a well-known ancient military figure fighting against invasion, deeply impressed him.

Self-discipline

Qi led a simple life, which became a tradition for the family. No matter how painstaking to take care of the family while working, she never compromised her work. Her lifestyle and the family atmosphere guided Xi’s values.

“A person who failed to be incorruptible and self-disciplined will become a person with no guts. Keep in mind that honesty is a blessing and greed is a curse while establishing a correct view of power, status, and interests,” Qi once wrote in a letter to Xi, reminding him of self-discipline. Xi has incorporated these beliefs into his ideology and governance practices.

Calling corruption the “biggest” risk to the Party’s governance, Xi has stressed there is “no alternative” but to fight corruption against all odds and called for rigorous self-discipline within the Party.

While going after corrupt officials, including both high-ranking “tigers” to lower-level “flies” on the domestic front, Beijing has also carried out such operations as “Sky Net” and “Fox Hunt” to hunt down venal officials who have fled abroad.

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Shanghai Double Five Shopping Festival to Further Boost Consumption

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The Shanghai Double Five shopping festival, part of an event that runs through the month to spur consumption, kicked off in Shanghai on the first day of the May Day Holiday.

The shopping festival, similar to the popular Double Eleven shopping festival, is jointly organized by the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), China Media Group (CMG), and the Shanghai Municipal Government.

The festival was launched in May last year by the Shanghai Municipal Government, aiming to boost consumption through e-commerce platforms. E-commerce giant Alibaba and startup Pinduoduo and other brands joined last year’s event.

The National Consumption Promotion Month, starting May 1, will last the entire month, featuring a series of activities promoting consumption across the country.

China’s consumer market has gradually recovered since this year. The newly-launched consumption promotion month will further stimulate market vitality, release consumption potential, and better serve to build a new development pattern, Wang Wentao, Chinese Minister of Commerce, said at the opening ceremony of the festival in Shanghai on Sunday.

Strong consumption has remained a major driving force for China’s economic growth for many years, and the event effectively lifts consumer confidence amidst the haze of the pandemic, Shen Haixiong, vice minister of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and CMG president, said at the ceremony.

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Representatives From Xinjiang Refute Accusations of Forced Labor

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Workers and employers in garment and photovoltaic industries in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have hit back at foreign allegations of human rights abuses in their sectors during a press conference in Beijing Friday.

“I applied for the job after seeing an advert in my village three years ago. I signed the labor contract after I got employed. I’ve been working at the company for over three years. I learned computer skills and gained a basic knowledge of statistical analysis,” said Alida Turahmat, an employee of a garment manufacturing company in the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture in northern Xinjiang.

Alida added that her family’s life greatly improved after she got the job.

“My parents are farmers and their incomes aren’t very high. I can get my salary on time every month and my salary has increased from 2,000 yuan (about $310) to 4,500 yuan (about $695) per month. I can buy the stuff I like, and also pay for my parents’ living expenses,” Alida said.

The woman works in an industry which is coming under fire globally over allegations of “forced labor”, which couldn’t be further from the truth, according to local officials.

“The claims of so-called ‘forced labor’ are false. Employment and labor rights of all ethnic groups are protected by law,” said Xu Guixiang, spokesperson for the Xinjiang regional government, adding that such allegations are aimed at undermining Xinjiang’s contributions to the global supply chain.

Representatives from industry associations also said that labor rights protection is at the heart of all industries in Xinjiang.

“In Xinjiang, enterprises sign labor contracts with their employees, provide them with salaries, good working and living environment. They also provide halal food for ethnic minority employees,” said Yao Yuzhen, president of the Council for Promotion of International Trade in Xinjiang. “Each enterprise has established the labor union to protect the legitimate rights and interests of all employees, including those of ethnic minorities.”

The United States announced an import ban on all cotton and tomato products from Xinjiang earlier this year.

In addition to cotton and tomatoes, Xinjiang’s photovoltaic industry is also being targeted. In March, America’s largest labor federation called on the Biden administration and Congress to stop imports of solar products from Xinjiang over “forced labor” allegations.

Representatives from that industry in Xinjiang said they’re angry over the accusations.

“Promoting the development of renewable energy, including photovoltaic, and promoting an energy revolution have become a consensus among all countries,” said He Ning, secretary of the Board and Director of Investor Relations of Xinjiang Daqo New Energy Company.

“China’s photovoltaic industry is not serving any single market, but the global market. We are not afraid of the unfair treatment. If you want to ‘extinguish’ Xinjiang’s photovoltaic industry, you need to ask whether the Chinese and global market agree,” said He.

Xinjiang regional government has responded to international claims by allowing local residents to speak for themselves.

Farmers, workers and former trainees from vocational training centers are getting opportunities to tell their stories and present a true image of the region.

Officials said they are happy for unprejudiced foreign reporters and representatives of overseas companies to experience the region for themselves.

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