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Opening Remarks at the Seminar on Xi Jinping Thought & Xi Jinping: the Governance of China (II) Book Review by H.E. Amb. Lin Songtian


5 December 2017, Pretoria

Your Excellency Honorable Minister Faith Muthambi, Minister of Public Service and Administration,

Distinguished Academic Experts and Scholars from China and South Africa,

Excellencies, Ambassadors and High Commissioners,

Senior Officials from the South African Government,

Friends from both the Chinese and South African Research Institutes, Think Tanks and Media,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning!

First of all, I warmly welcome all of you to the Seminar on Xi Jinping Thought and Xi Jinping: the Governance of China II Book Review.

In October this year, the Communist Party of China (CPC) successfully held its 19th National Congress in Beijing. The Congress elected a new generation of the central leadership with General Secretary Xi Jinping at its core. This Congress set out a host of new ideas, new thinking, new blueprint and new strategy for China's development. Essentially, the Congress unveiled overall plans for China's development, its domestic and foreign policies, as well as party building for the period from now till the middle of this century. As one of the most important outcomes, the Congress has comprehensively reviewed the new thinking, new ideas, new strategy and new measures adopted by the Party Central Committee under the leadership of General Secretary Xi Jinping in a wide range of areas concerning governance of the government, party, military, and diplomacy that have been proven as effective and immensely popular over the past five years, and then systematically and succinctly summarized and encapsulated them as Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, which has been written into the Party Constitution of the CPC as the guiding philosophy and the basic policy to unite and lead the CPC and the Chinese people to achieve a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and to realize the Chinese Dream of the national rejuvenation. Xi Jinping Thought is a major theoretical innovation and the latest achievement in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context. It is Marxism in the Chinese context of the 21st century. And it is the action guide for China's foreign policy to promote a better world and a community with a shared future for mankind.

The book Xi Jinping: the Governance of China II offers a record of how the CPC Central Committee, with General Secretary Xi Jinping at its core, led nationwide efforts in developing socialism with Chinese characteristics, highlighting the evolution and achievements of Xi Jinping Thought. The volume also displays China's wisdom and solutions for building a community with a shared future for mankind and for boosting peace and development. The two books and the Report delivered by General Secretary Xi Jinping at the 19th CPC National Congress together provide the most systematic and authoritative reading for both Chinese and foreign readers to understand and get the gist of Xi Jinping Thought, to find out what a new era China will enter, and how to realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation, and to comprehensively understand China's past, present and future.

Therefore, it is highly relevant and significant to hold the seminar here today. This seminar gives us a great opportunity to exchange ideas, increase mutual understanding, strengthen unity and cooperation, and work together to build a better China, better South Africa, better Africa, and better China-South Africa and China-Africa relations.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Xi Jinping Thought is extremely rich and profound. It constitutes a complete theoretical system that covers a wide range of subjects including reform, development and stability, domestic and foreign policies, national defense, and all aspects of governance of the Party, the state, and the military. Xi Jinping Thought addresses, from both the theoretical and practical perspective, the fundamental issues of what kind of socialism with Chinese characteristics China should uphold and develop in the new era, and how that is going to be achieved, including its overarching goal, master plan, overall strategy, and the development direction, approach, drive, strategic steps, external conditions, and political guarantees, which are summarized as the 8 "makes clear" and the 14 basic principles. Among these, there are three defining features of Xi Jinping Thought as follow:

First, it emphasizes the importance of upholding and strengthening overall Party leadership, and ensuring that the Party exercises effective self-supervision and practices strict governance in every respect. General Secretary Xi stressed that, the key to the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the Party, and a great cause calls for strong leadership of the Party. The Party shall exercise overall leadership and coordinate the efforts of all involved. Xi Jinping Thought asks Party members to consolidate and further build the great ideal of Communism and a shared philosophy of socialism with Chinese characteristics, uphold the authority of the Central Committee and its centralized, unified leadership, and closely follow the political position, orientation, principles and path of the Central Committee both in thinking and action. It stresses that enforcing strict Party discipline is a never-ending struggle and constant efforts are needed to strengthen the governance and leadership ability of the Party, and make the Party stronger, so that it always remains at the core to unite and lead the whole of the Chinese people.

Second, it commits to people-centered approach. General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that, the original aspiration and the mission of Chinese Communists is to seek happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation. As a party of the people, for the people and by the people, the CPC is always committed to a people-centered approach. The Party must put the interest of the people first, serve people whole-heartedly as its fundamental purpose, regards people's aspiration to live a better life as its own goal, and put into practice the Party's mass line in all aspects of governance, work hard to meet the people's ever-growing needs for a better life, promote social fairness and justice, and realize well-rounded human development and social progress.

Currently, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core is leading the Chinese people to secure a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020, to win the battle against poverty, and to leave no one behind among the entire 1.4-billion Chinese population on the path towards common prosperity. Such a political commitment embodies the people-centered approach of Xi Jinping Thought and the fundamental feature of socialism which means all development achievements must be shared by all instead of a few. This is the fundamental difference between socialism and capitalism which only cares about a small group of vested interests and where the rich become richer, and the poor get poorer.

Third, it emphasizes to closely combine building a beautiful China and building a beautiful world, and the commitment to building a community with a shared future for mankind featuring an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity. General Secretary Xi Jinping said, to make new and greater contributions to the mankind is the CPC's abiding mission. The dream of the Chinese people is closely connected with the dreams of the peoples of other countries. We must closely combine building a beautiful China and a beautiful world so as to realize win-win cooperation for common development. China will continue to uphold the principle of peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit and advance its fundamental foreign policy goal of preserving world peace and promoting common development. China pursues a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice, and win-win cooperation. China will always promote world peace, contribute to world development, and uphold the international order. We will continue to promote Belt and Road international cooperation based on the principle of planning together, building together, and sharing together. More efforts will be made to promote policy coordination, infrastructure connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration, and people-to-people friendship so as to build a new platform for international cooperation, create new driving force for common development, and promote building a community with a shared future and a better future for humanity. These are not only the core ideas of the Major-Country Diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, but also our highest objective and pursuit.

Over the past five years, General Secretary Xi Jinping has indeed put forward a holistic important proposals and initiatives, such as building new type of international relations, the Belt and Road, and a community with a shared future for mankind. These initiatives have explored a new development path of planning, building and sharing together to achieve win-win cooperation for common development, charted the course for a better future of the mankind, and contributed Chinese wisdom and solutions to the world, which crystallizes the philosophy and a strong sense of responsibility on the part of General Secretary Xi Jinping and the CPC.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

China and Africa have always been a community of a shared future through thick and thin and a community of shared interest, mutual benefit, and win-win results. We always believe that as the largest developing country and the continent with the largest number of developing countries, China and Africa are the new growth poles to drive the world economy and offer new hope and power for the sustainable development of the world. To help Africa realize durable peace and sustainable development is conducive to increasing the overall strength of all developing countries, realizing a more fair and just international order, and promoting world peace and prosperity. It serves the interests of the whole world, especially of the developing countries.

President Xi Jinping has time and again instructed us to follow the principles of sincerity, practical results, affinity and good faith, and uphold the values of friendship, justice and shared interests in conducting China's relations with Africa. The essence of his idea is to closely combine China's development with the self-sustainable development of African countries so as to achieve win-win cooperation for common development. In December 2015, during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Johannesburg Summit, President Xi and other African leaders jointly opened up a new era of China-Africa win-win cooperation for common development. At the Summit, President Xi announced the China-Africa Ten Major Cooperation Plans and 60 billion US dollars of funding to support Africa in facilitating its industrialization and agricultural modernization process. Today, we are happy to see many major infrastructure projects across the African continent financed and built by China and many more are underway or to be implemented. China has taken actions. We call upon developed countries to follow China to care more and invest more in Africa's peace and development, and make joint efforts to build a better future for Africa.

Currently, China-South Africa comprehensive strategic partnership maintains robust development momentum and is in its best historical period. As two major emerging powers, China and South Africa are co-chairs of FOCAC and are both important members of the BRICS, G20, UN and other multilateral institutions. United, we are playing increasingly important roles in promoting world peace and development and promoting the establishment of a more fair and reasonable international order so as to uphold the shared interests of China, South Africa and other developing countries.

For China-South Africa and China-Africa relations, we are blessed with three unique advantages of political mutual trust, economic complementarity, and friendship between our two peoples. These advantages, coupled with our need for each other and our respective complementary strengths, give us rare historical opportunities for development cooperation. Next year will be a big year for all of us. China will embark upon the full implementation of the blueprint mapped out at the 19th CPC National Congress, bringing the world new opportunities and new momentum. FOCAC may convene a summit in China. China and South Africa are going to celebrate the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations. And South Africa will host the BRICS Summit. China will join efforts with South Africa and Africa to avail these opportunities to make new plans for development cooperation, synergize development strategies, roll out new blueprint, and fully deepen China-South Africa and China-Africa unity and cooperation. We will make our utmost to translate our political mutual trust and friendship into concrete actions, and translate our comparative and complementary strengths into more tangible results to benefit our peoples so as to present the peoples of China, South Africa, and Africa with an even brighter future.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Before I conclude my remarks, I wish to express my sincere appreciation to the Honorable Minister Faith Muthambi who spared time out of her hectic schedule to join us and share her vision and insight. I would also like to sincerely thank Dr. Yazini April from the Human Sciences Research Council for her vision, knowledge and hard work which enable us to gather here today for the seminar and book review. As an exceptional China expert in South Africa, Dr. April closely follows China's development and is dedicated to China-South Africa and China-Africa friendship and common development. She has contributed many good ideas and proposals that are both operable and forward-thinking. She has also made a proposal with practical framework to establish a Research Center on Xi Jinping Thought, which has drawn my attention and deserves my great appreciation and support. Therefore, may I propose to give her a big applause.

My heartfelt appreciation also goes to the South African government officials and members of the Parliament, as well as academic experts, scholars, think tanks and media from both China and South Africa. Thank you all for your active participation and valuable contribution. I want to particularly thank H.E. Dr. Anil Sooklal, DDG of DIRCO, who just returned from China yesterday and all other DIRCO colleagues for the valuable support you have given us all along.

Last but not the least, I want to thank and welcome again the three Chinese panelists, who travelled from China for this event. They are: H.E. Ambassador Du Qiwen, Former Vice Foreign Minister; H.E. Mr. Huang Youyi, Chief Translator of the book Xi Jinping: the Governance of China, Volume 1 and Volume 2; and H.E. Mr. Liu Guijin, Former Special Representative of the Chinese Government on African Affairs and Former Chinese Ambassador to South Africa. They are all experts on the topics of our discussion and they all share the same love and passion as I do for China-South Africa and China-Africa friendship and cooperation.

I am confident that through this high-level exchange, the seminar will reach more consensus and contribute more wisdom to China-South Africa and China-Africa relations. To conclude, I wish today's seminar and book review a complete success!

Thank you!

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