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A-Z of South Africa’s Year of China

(People's Daily Online)  Sissy Zhang  2016-01-24 21:23


The University of Pretoria Youth Choir performs a traditional South African folk song at the Concert for the Grand Opening of the Year of China in South Africa on March 16.  (People’s Daily Online  Sissy Zhang)

 
China and South Africa have marked their growing exchange with events held over the past two years that celebrate each nation’s culture and heritage. In 2015, South Africa held the “Year of China,” which not only sought to enhance the strategic partnership between the countries, but also to promote mutual understanding and friendship with large-scale cultural and social events.

As 2015 being the “Year of China” in South Africa, here are key words of the top events and exchanges between the two nations over the past year.

Abundance
More than 200 abundant events and activities were scheduled in 2015 throughout all nine provinces and major cities in South Africa. The events addressed politics, economics and trade, culture, education and technology.

Ballet
A total of 21 ballet dancers from the Liaoning Ballet of China joined their counterparts from South Africa’s Joburg Ballet, as well as Cuba and the US, to deliver an unprecedented production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake in Johannesburg. The group of Chinese dancers not only reciprocated the Joburg Ballet's visit to China for the “Year of South Africa” in 2014, but their number symbolizes South Africa’s 21 years of democracy.

Dancers of the Joburg Ballet of South Africa and the Liaoning Ballet of China perform in the premiere of their 21 joint-performances of Swan Lake, in Johannesburg, South Africa on April 17. (People’s Daily Online  Sissy Zhang)
 

Children
Caring for future generations, a number of activities were held with the participation of children from both countries. To mark International Children’s Day, local Chinese communities donated 2.2 million rand for the China House at Baphumelele Orphanage in Cape Town to accommodate orphans in the township.
A total of 60 children from Shanghai visited South Africa for art performances and cultural exchange with students from Crawford College.
Over 300 South African students from 24 Gauteng Department of Education schools participated in the "China in My Eyes" essay contest.

Children look around in the newly opened China House donated by Chinese community, at Baphumelele Orphanage, Cape Town on June 1st, 2015.  (People’s Daily Online   Sissy Zhang)
 

Destination of Investment
Booming trade and investment between China and Africa have epitomized their dynamic bilateral cooperation since the inception of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation 15 years ago.
According to statistics, China has been South Africa's largest trading partner for six consecutive years and South Africa is China's No.1 trading partner on the African continent. South Africa is also China's largest investment destination in Africa.

Entrepreneurs
A variety of networking events and forum were held for entrepreneurs from both countries, including China-Africa Business Forum, Energy Industry Cooperation Seminar and the Sino-SA Industrial Capacity Cooperation Forum.

 
China-Africa Entrepreneurs Forum in Johannesburg on August 26th  (People’s Daily Online  Sissy Zhang)


South Africa - China Business Summit in Johannesburg on July 16th  (People’s Daily Online Sissy Zhang)

Flights
Air China successfully re-launched direct flights between Johannesburg and Beijing in October, with three flights a week between the two capitals, transporting 311 passengers each way.

Generating Nuclear Cooperation
According to South Africa’s National Nuclear Regulator, it has signed a technical cooperation agreement with China in mid-November. The deal includes “licensing procedures, vendor inspections, inspector training, and joint inspections and technical support”.

Home products
Being one of the biggest sourcing platforms of Chinese products in Southern Africa, China Homelife & Machinex in September brought over 100 major Chinese suppliers of home products to connect with importers, traders and buyers seeking OEM products at competitive prices.

Industrialization
China’s Industrial Capacity Cooperation initiative encourages Chinese businesses to invest in Africa by bringing over technology, job opportunities, foreign investment and tax revenue as a way not only to benefit local residents, but to transform Africa's abundant natural and human resources into real development.

Joint Arbitration Centre
South Africa and China are to open a joint arbitration center in Johannesburg. According to the Arbitration Foundation of Southern Africa, the creation of the China Africa Joint Arbitration Centre Johannesburg will help establish South Africa on the world’s international arbitration stage.

Kung-Fu
A three-month kungfu training course was launched for the Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department in July, the first exchange of its kind. Seven EMPD officers were also invited to the China National Police University in September to participate in a three-week course in criminal investigation.

Language
The Gauteng Department of Education signed an agreement in April with China’s Jiangsu Provincial Education Department to work together to offer Mandarin in Gauteng schools, among other educational programs. According to an announcement from South Africa’s education ministry in the same month, the country’s public schools will begin offering Mandarin as an optional second language next year,

Manufacturing
Chinese investment in South Africa is shifting from the mining sector to manufacturing in recent years, so as to help South Africa speed up its industrialization process.

New level
The FOCAC Summit will elevate the Africa-China relationship to a new level that would have a beneficial impact and give impetus to Africa's developmental agenda.

Orchestra
Hundreds of musicians from the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra traveled to South Africa to perform with local artists in celebration of the Grand Opening of the Year of China in South Africa at the State Theatre in Pretoria in March.

 
Hundreds of musicians of Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra, one of the top orchestras in China, traveled all the way from China to SA to give out the performance. (People’s Daily Online   Sissy Zhang)


People-to-People
Holding Year of China is a multifaceted exchange event in social and cultural fields between the two countries. The series of activities included cultural promotion, art shows, trade exhibitions and fairs, academic research and educational exchanges.

Quality Wine
Due to its excellent quality, South African wine is having a particularly good year in China, seeing its market share double to 4 percent in the first half of 2015.

RMB Clearance
The Bank of China Johannesburg Branch was designated a Renminbi (RMB) Clearing Bank in South Africa in July, the first of its kind in Africa. This bears testimony to the financial and the trade cooperation that exists between China and Africa. From January to May 2015, Bank of China’s RMB clearing business volume has reached an unprecedented 1.2 trillion yuan; which translates to a year-on- year growth of 30.4 percent.

Summit
In December, South Africa will play host to the second summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), a first for the African continent, during which the Year of China will be wrapped up.

TV cooperation
China, a “country of honor” at this year’s DISCOP Africa, sent a delegation of more than 20 media companies to promote TV series, documentaries, cartoons and entertainment programs. Six of them signed agreements with six African television companies, which means more Chinese television programs are going to be dubbed and shown on the African continent in the near future.

Unlock Opportunities
The FOCAC platform provides an opportunity to further stimulate growth and unlock new opportunities between China and Africa on trade and other matters.

Visual Arts
A diversity of arts exhibitions were held throughout the year. The Chinese Characters Exhibition showcased authentic works of top Chinese calligraphers. Cross-Culture Exhibition displayed around 40 pieces of art works by 12 artists from the two countries, some of which were produced by local South African artists based on their experiences in China, showing different artistic and aesthetic perceptions of life in China from an African perspective.

 
South African and Chinese Cross-Culture Exhibition in Johannesburg in June  (People’s Daily Online  Sissy Zhang)

Win-win cooperation
The FOCAC Summit in December is to be held under the theme: "Africa-China Progressing Together: Win-Win Cooperation for Common Development”.

Xi’s Second State Visit to South Africa
Chinese President Xi Jinping and South African President Jacob Zuma have exchanged state visits and met on many occasions. Before the FOCAC Summit, Xi will pay his second state visit to South Africa. Xi’s first state visit to South Africa was on March 25, 2013, before the fifth BRICS summit held in the port city of Durban.

Year of China & Year of South Africa
Celebrating the country years came from the important consensus reached by presidents Xi and Zuma in person during Xi's state visit to South Africa in 2013. It’s a pioneering move in the history of exchanges between China and South Africa, as well as China and Africa.

Zuma’s visit to China
Zuma concluded a working visit to China in September, during which he participated in an event in Beijing that marked the 70th Anniversary of the Global War Against Fascism and Chinese Victory Against Japanese Aggression.



(The story was originally published on Business Day on December, 2nd, 2015.)