SISU alumnus LIU GUijin '65
LIU is China's first special representative on African affairs and former Chinese ambassador to South Africa
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01 July 2021 | By Hongyu, Bianji (People's Daily) | Copyedited by GU Yiqing
Congratulations! The alumnus of Shanghai International Studies University (SISU), LIU Guijin '65, China's first special representative on African affairs and former Chinese ambassador to South Africa is awarded July 1 Medal, the highest honor in the Communist Party of China (CPC) for his outstanding contribution to promoting China-Africa relations.
July 1 Medal recipient Liu Guijin devoted to enhancing Sino-Africa diplomatic relations
"From the first time that I set foot on African soil, I became sentimentally attached to the continent and its fertile land. Since then, I have dedicated my whole life to diplomatic work in African countries," revealed Liu Guijin, a veteran diplomat who served as China's first special envoy on African affairs.
Liu was recently awarded the July 1 Medal, which was established by the CPC Central Committee as the highest honor in the Party, for his commitment to promoting Sino-African diplomatic relations.
When asked about what impressed him most during his diplomatic experiences in Africa, Liu cited his contact with two South African leaders.
Liu recalled that back in 2002 after Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first democratically elected president, talked with his Chinese counterpart over the telephone, the former expressed his special feelings for the Chinese revolution -- when Mandela was imprisoned in Robben Island, he folded a cigarette pack into the Five-starred Red Flag and celebrated China's National Day in his own way.
Liu also remembered that Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa, made an impromptu stop at a bookstore during his state visit to China, the first time this had been seen in a foreign leader’s visit to China, and bought over a dozen Chinese books. Mbeki explained that he wanted to deepen his understanding of China through reading these books.
From Liu's perspective, Mandela regarded China's liberation as an inspiration for the struggle of oppressed people, while Mbeki saw China's development as the hope of the people of Africa and the world as a whole.
It is precisely because of the redoubled efforts of the older generation of revolutionaries and leaders that the China-Africa friendship is so deeply rooted in the hearts of the people, noted Liu.
As former Special Representative of the Chinese Government on African Affairs, Liu disclosed that China's foreign policies were widely recognized by African countries.
"This is because China is not seeking geopolitical interests like other countries. The appointment of the special representative also demonstrates China's attitude of not interfering in other countries' internal affairs, its support for the mediation efforts of the African Union and the United Nations, and advocating the promotion of a peaceful settlement of the Darfur issue on the premise of non-interference in the internal affairs of Sudan,” Liu explained.
Furthermore, as for Liu, the brilliant achievements made in China's diplomacy over the past 70 years are inseparable from China's consistent pursuit of an independent foreign policy of peace. In addition, while implementing these basic policies and principles, China's diplomacy has also made adjustments to keep pace with changes of situation.
Since the reform and opening up, countless great achievements have been made in China's diplomatic work, and China has a more vital role to play in international affairs, which is also related to China's internal affairs, Liu believed.
"Diplomacy is an extension of internal affairs, since weak countries do not have diplomacy. China is gradually becoming stronger, and there is more to be done in diplomacy," said the former ambassador.