My China experience of the two sessions

By Mmapula Molapong Source:Global Times Published: 2019/3/12 20:08:40

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

The two sessions have been an eye-opener for me. Getting to know how China's political, economic and social system works during my visit to the country has been such a great opportunity to get a feel of the environment I am going to live in for the next 10 months. Having lived in Africa for decades and coming to this fast-developing giant has its own wow moments. 

During the opening of the second session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) on March 3, I found myself in a very long queue of journalists leading to the Great Hall of the People. The security presence was heavy with sniffer dogs to help search cars going beyond the designated parking area. The Great Hall of the People is a like a fortress with immense security. The cold weather didn't make it any easier for me but did not take away my excitement. The smartly turned out delegates from all around the country added to the gravity and glamour of the event. I was welcomed into the Great Hall of the People by ushers who are also in charge of serving tea, water and hanging your coats.

Just before the session began, nattily dressed Chinese hostesses arrived on the podium, pouring tea in cups neatly lined up on tables. Their synchronized moves were a treat to watch and added to my wow moments.

My first major highlight from the two sessions was the bold statement made by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the lawsuit Huawei filed against the US government. He openly pledged government support for the company and encouraged it to take all necessary steps to seek justice. Even though speculation has it that the spat can damage China-US relations, this shows some level of government confidence in Chinese business.

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) also stood out for me because it is crucial to the development of a lot of African countries. My country in particular benefits from this initiative. China-Botswana relations are seen to be strengthening with the incumbent president visiting China last year, the first by a president of the nation after almost 12 years. 

I am a China Africa Press Centre (CAPC) training program participant, which points at is good bilateral relations. 

During my stay in Beijing, I would like to know more about BRI plans on Botswana. Since China says BRI is a win-win project, I want to know how the two countries stand to benefit. There were a lot of comments and questions on BRI being a debt trap for countries that have signed up for it. Wang debunked the claims.

Poverty alleviation is another important issue. Over 68 million Chinese people have been lifted out of poverty in the last five years. In the past 40 years China has managed to lift about 800 million out of extreme poverty. China should share more with other governments especially with countries that have signed up for the BRI on how they can also achieve success in the fight against poverty, which remains a huge problem in Africa and other developing countries around the world. 

Judging from the two sessions, China has made great progress. Even in the midst of growing tensions with the US, the nation has remained steady on the development path. China has done really well and other developing countries can take a leaf from China's continuous success story. 

With a GDP of over 90 trillion yuan ($13.7 trillion) and an increase of about 3 percent on foreign direct investment of about $135 billion over the year, China has created more than 13 million urban jobs, cutting down on taxes. China has done exceptionally well and managed to stand out among developing nations. 

The Chinese government has made many promises during the two sessions. Now we wait and see if China delivers.

The author is a Sunday Standard reporter and a participant of the 2019 CAPC program from Botswana.


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