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Background: A long history of friendship between China and Tanzania

Source:CCTV Published: 2013-3-25 15:43:18

China and Tanzania have enjoyed a long and friendly relationship during the past decades. One notable highpoint is the 1800-kilometer-long Tanzania-to-Zambia Railway, which was built with the help of China. President Xi Jinping's choice of Tanzania as the second destination in his first official foreign visit signifies the importance of bilateral relations with the east African country.

When asked whether China is pursuing a neo-colonial policy in Africa, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete said: Africa needs a market for its products. Africa needs technology for its development. China is ready to provide all that. "What is wrong with that?"

And China is not just ready. The close ties between the two countries are rooted in history.

Tanzania, like some other African countries, took the socialist path shortly after obtaining independence in the 1960s.

Back then, socialist China was trying hard to re-enter the UN.

Meanwhile, newly-independent Zambia had a hard time exporting bronze from its mines.

China decided to help build the 1800 kilometer-long Tanzania-Zambia Railway in the 1970s, so that Zambia could export bronze through Tanzania.

But it came at a hefty price. At the time, China was suffering economic difficulties. And during the arduous task of railway building, over 64 Chinese workers paid with their lives.

In 1971, China was finally re-admitted to the UN. Among the African countries that supported this motion, Tanzania played an active role.

Today, the two countries' still maintain close ties.

Of the five East African Community member states, Tanzania continues to attract the most Chinese investment, with 3 billion US dollars flowing into its mining sector in 2011.

And their co-operation covers a wide range.

Outside this hospital in Tanzania, the line is always long. People around the country come to see a team of Chinese doctors.

"They are very smily and very very nice."

"I love them. We work together."

This medical team is well-known for solving eye problems. So far, up to 500 patients have been helped.

Medical care here is poor, and frequent power shortages often threaten the success of operations.

But these doctors are determined to carry out their mission---continuing to strengthen already robust relations between China and Tanzania.

Posted in: Diplomacy, Africa