Impressions of China: Ambassador of Chinese descent keen to introduce a reliable, hopeful China to the Caribbean
Published: Mar 02, 2023 07:46 PM
Anyin Choo, Ambassador of Guyana to China Photo: Hu Yuwei/GT

Anyin Choo, Ambassador of Guyana to China Photo: Hu Yuwei/GT

Anyin Choo, Ambassador of Guyana to China, wore a red cheongsam and read a Chinese poem in fluent Putonghua with her young daughter in a video to express her New Year wishes to Chinese friends. The poem written in the Song dynasty (960-1279) shows how people usher in the Chinese New Year with the sound of firecrackers and an atmosphere full of warmth, hope and happiness. With those words, Choo also summarized her wonderful life in China.

Over the last few decades, as a diplomat of Chinese descent, Choo has witnessed the unchanging core of China's civilization as well as its rapid urban development and economic growth.

Looking back to the important stages of her life in China, Choo said her ties with China, and understanding of the Chinese culture, have grown ever deeper through witnessing remarkable events, from the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic Games, to the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, and to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. 

Having grown up under the influence of her parents' stories about China, Choo came to visit her ancestral home in South China's Guangzhou in 1988, and later chose to study in Beijing for her bachelor's degree. 

After graduation, she joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guyana and was posted to China as a diplomat twice. The secrets of China's leap were gradually unveiled to her.

On July 27, 2022, a lavish ceremony was held at Guyana's Embassy in Beijing to celebrate 50 years since Guyana established diplomatic relations with China, becoming the first English-speaking country in the Caribbean to do so. Choo dazzled many in attendance at the function with a beautiful Cantonese song.

Recently, referring to that Cantonese song again, Choo told the Global Times reporter that she loves Cantonese culture very much and misses moments of studying in China.

Choo studied Chinese at the Beijing Language and Culture University for four years in 1996, which was one of the happiest times in her life.

Looking back at China in 1996, she marveled at the speed with which it had built up so many high-rise buildings, and at how China had pioneered technology in so many ways.

Now Choo is a beneficiary and enthusiast of e-commerce, online shopping, and mobile payment convenience in China. "I'm so used to shopping on my phone that I don't even remember where my wallet is," she said, adding that she was looking forward to the introduction of China's digital currency.

"In Guyana, people have only started to move away from actual paper money to debit and credit cards. But in China now, you've gone ahead of that. You just realize all your business transactions can be made via mobile phone, which is very convenient. China has gone ahead of that in terms of technology, and this was even reflected over the last three years when China has adopted very innovative ways to protect people in the country from the pandemic and to maintain exchanges via various virtual platforms," Choo told the Global Times.

She also thumbed up China's efforts made in maintaining biodiversity in recent years. She has visited more than 20 cities in China and likes Yunnan the most because it is similar to Guyana in its climate, flora, and fauna. 

Scenery of Guyana Photo: VCG

Scenery of Guyana Photo: VCG

People-oriented philosophy a cornerstone

Choo said that the Chinese government derives its own governance system and complimentary economic policies, which have worked for the Chinese people, from China's own unique situation.

China has been very innovative and wise in creating its governance and economic systems, which have been responsible for the fast-tracked economic growth experienced by China, according to the ambassador. 

In just 40 years, China has achieved remarkable economic development that took other countries more than 100 years to achieve, Choo stressed. 

"And so there are a lot of lessons to be learned. What the Chinese government has done over the years is that it has formalized and implemented systems and policies in keeping with the needs of the people and the development of its country. The Chinese government has consistently updated, reviewed, and tried to perfect some of the policy decisions and actually make them work for the people of China," said the ambassador.

Cooperation benefits friends far away

Choo highlighted the greatest achievements of the China-Guyana friendship, including people-to-people exchanges and engagements, which have led to mutual understanding and respect, and have served as a strong foundation for the expansion and strengthening of bilateral relations.

She was also impressed by how China's increasing investments in recent years have contributed to growth in trade, employment, and socio-economic development in Guyana. They have also supported Guyana's trajectory on fast-track economic growth with unprecedented double-digit growth rates in the last three years against the backdrop of a global pandemic.

As of June 30, 2022, the China Harbour and Engineering Corporation (CHEC) had completed all major works at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), where an expansion project had been underway for almost a decade.

The envoy said the project upgrades Guyana's international airport, a major transport hub, which further propels local economic boom.

Moreover, with preferential loan funds provided by the Chinese government, the renovation of the East Coast Demerara Road was completed in 2020 through joint efforts by both countries. 

The road's renovation was the culmination of Guyanese people's hopes of seeing traffic congestion ease between the eastern coast and the capital.

Choo said Guyanese people have largely benefited from such projects under the Belt and Road Initiatives (BRI). She expects more cooperation between the two countries outside the traditional sectors such as in agriculture which is a major pillar of local economic activity. 

Over the last three years, although the epidemic had pressed the "pause button" on people exchanges, China-Guyana medical and health cooperation has never ceased.

The ambassador appreciated that China extended a helping hand to the developing world and provided much need access and support through the provision of vaccines and personal protective equipment. 

The anti-epidemic cooperation is a microcosm of the symbiotic relationship between medicine and health, and this bond has been maintained for decades. Since 1993, Guyana has consistently received a Chinese medical brigade which has contributed significantly to the improvement of public healthcare in the country.

"This year, we will celebrate the 30th anniversary of receiving the first Chinese medical team in Guyana. Over the last three decades, our doctors in healthcare sector have been able to work side by side with Chinese doctors to improve their skills," Choo said in delight. 

"This is a very sterling partnership under the BRI that both of our nations have been able to benefit from," Choo added.

The ambassador is excited about the opportunities to come with China's reopening of its borders.  

In a gesture to the reporter with open arms, Choo warmly welcomed Chinese tourists to visit Guyana. She expects more Chinese tourists to visit the Caribbean nation to enjoy the locally made rum and colorful festivals that Guyana is known for.

 "As a matter of fact, Guyana has been named the number one Best of Ecotourism destination in the world for the last three years. So we cannot wait to offer our Chinese tourists a super, different experience," said Choo.