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A New Era Calling for New Ideas, New Visions, New Behaviors and New Actions
2019/04/12

--Speech by H.E. Ambassador Lin Songtian

at the Conferring Ceremony of the Degree Doctor Ingeneriae Honoris Causa

Upon President Xi Jinping by the University of Johannesburg

(UJ April 11, 2019)

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon!

Today the University of Johannesburg holds such a grand and solemn ceremony to confer the degree doctor ingeneriae honoris causa upon H.E. President Xi Jinping of China. I feel extremely honored and excited to accept this degree on President Xi Jinping's behalf, which is of special significance. On behalf of President Xi, I would like to extend my most sincere gratitude to Vice Chancellor Marwala and all the members of the Council and the Senate for making this great decision and to all the friends who have made today's event possible.

The University of Johannesburg is a well-known Pan-African university. With its progressive ideology and deep roots in Africa, the University of Johannesburg boasts strong comprehensive academic strength and an exceptional high level of teaching quality in such fields as engineering, humanities, business and law, and is committed to serving and supporting South Africa's innovation and development.

Vice Chancellor Professor Marwala is the first PhD degree holder in Artificial Intelligence in South Africa. Having read through the works of the successive leaders of the People's Republic of China, Vice Chancellor Marwala can elaborate on their core ideas and profound meanings. Having led delegations to China many times, Vice Chancellor Marwala has witnessed the great vitality and tremendous achievements of China's development.

Therefore, it is no accident that the Council and the Senate of this University made the decision to take the lead in the world to confer the degree Doctor ingeneriae honoris causa upon President Xi Jinping. Indeed, this decision is of great and far-reaching significance. It showcases the global perspective and foresight of the University of Johannesburg and fully demonstrates that the academia in South Africa understand and recognize President Xi Jinping's erudition, his vision of "people first", his spirit of selfless dedication, his devotion to caring for all peoples around the world, his extraordinary statecraft and successful achievement in leading the 1.4 billion Chinese people for a better life. It will surely encourage China and South Africa to share experiences in the Party and state governance and strengthen academic exchanges and cooperation.

A New Era calls for new ideas, new visions and new behaviors and actions. As the friends in South Africa said, any visionary people who has an objective and deep understanding of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and its successful practices in China will agree that President Xi Jinping is truly the leader of our times, leader of peoples, leader of development, leader of philosophy and leader of the world.

It is known that when President Xi Jinping assumed office six years ago, China was confronted with such serious challenges as environmental pollution and corruption caused by the rapid economic growth over the past 30-plus years, the weakening driving force for economic development and growing contradictions between the imbalanced and inadequate development and the increasing people's aspirations for a better life. Meanwhile, China was also facing daunting external risks and challenges including sluggish global economic recovery, the headwinds against globalization, surging geopolitical conflicts and the prevalence of hegemonism, populism and protectionism. Both China and the world have come to a crossroads.

In the face of such tough situations both at home and abroad, bearing in mind the notions in traditional Chinese culture that "harmony is the most precious" and "one should care for others when one is better off" and based on the successful practices in China's reform and opening-up, and with the vision and strong commitment that peoples of China and the world shall achieve win-win cooperation for common development, President Xi Jinping has proposed a series of strategic thinking, guiding principles, policy proposals and major measures and on both domestic and foreign affairs such as interconnected, inclusive, innovative and common development, and put forth Chinese propositions on and contributed Chinese wisdom to the two fundamental issues of where for China and the world to go and how to build a better China and world, responding to these two subjects of our times in a scientific and systematic manner. These important thoughts, policy proposals and guiding principles have been encapsulated into Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, which serves as the guidelines for China's practices both at home and abroad.

Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era is extremely rich, profound and full of wisdom, whose essence can be summarized as such a few key words: People First, Country Strong and Nation Rejuvenation, Party Disciplined.

Domestically, first, President Xi Jinping always put people first. He always regards people's aspirations for a better life as the goal of the Party and the government's endeavor, so as to strive for the goal that by the end of 2020, China will become a moderately prosperous society in all respects and lift all the 1.4 billion Chinese people out of poverty with no one left behind, and the people will enjoy not only prosperity but also blue sky and clean water again.

Second, President Xi Jinping commits himself to realizing the Chinese dream of country prosperity and nation rejuvenation. He has led and united all Chinese people to build a prosperous, democratic, civilized, harmonious and beautiful modern socialist country.

Third, President Xi Jinping has made sweeping efforts to see the Party self-governance exercised fully and with rigor, govern the state by rule of law in a comprehensive manner, so as to modernize the state governance system and capability. Having achieved the expected goal that all the Party members and government officials do not dare to, are unable to and have no desire to engage in any corruption, President Xi has successfully tackled the tough issue in the world of effectively preventing and combating corruption.

Externally, President Xi Jinping believes that only when the world is good will China become better. The Cold-War mentality such as the notion that one's gains must be at the expense of other's losses and the zero-sum game mindset is outdated. Confrontations will lead us nowhere and no winner will come out of the trade war. Win-win cooperation for common development is the only right choice.

Therefore, President Xi Jinping not only put forward the great vision that the international community shall jointly stay committed to building a community with a shared future for mankind, but also proposed Two Pathways to realize this great vision, First, to build a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation. Second, to advance the Belt and Road Initiative that follows the principle of Three Togethers, namely planning together, building together and sharing together and stays committed to Five Connectivities in policy, infrastructure, trade, finance and people-to-people exchanges, so as to achieve win-win cooperation for common development.

Such a Chinese proposal and Chinese proposition put forth by President Xi to build a better world are essentially different from those practised by the West.

First, the goals are different. President Xi instructs us to build roads and bridges connecting China with and open wider to the outside world for interconnected, inclusive, innovative and common development instead of erecting walls to pursue protectionism and putting their own interests first.

Second, the philosophies are different. President Xi advocates that we shall make the cake of peace and development bigger and pursue a new path of win-win cooperation for common development rather than the old path of seeking gains at the expense of other's losses.

Third, the pathways are different. President Xi advocates that China's rise and national rejuvenation shall be achieved through fair and reciprocal trade and investment instead of by war and colonization like the Western powers.

Fourth, the ways of thinking are different. President Xi maintains that we shall address problems and challenges through self-reform and improvement instead of shifting problems and responsibilities to others.

Ladies and gentlemen,

President Xi always instructs us to closely combine China's self-development with Africa's realization of self-sustainable development, so as to achieve win-win cooperation for common development.

In the last 5 years, President Xi has made 4 state visits to African countries and has co-chaired two FOCAC Summits, put forward China-Africa Ten Major Cooperative Plans and Eight Major Initiatives with a simple aim to support Africa's self-sustainable development, and joined hands with African leaders to usher in a new era of win-win cooperation for common development and build a closer community with a shared future for China and Africa.

South Africa is the only country in the world to which President Xi Jinping has paid three state visits. China is ready to be the most reliable cooperative partner of South Africa in your achieving socioeconomic transformation, and committed ourselves to supporting South Africa to become a locomotive and production base for Africa's industrialization and modernization, to achieve win-win cooperation for common development.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am glad to see that the graduates present here today are so vigorous and promising. You are the hope of your family, your people and your country. You are going to write a new chapter in your life with the knowledge you have learned. Hereby, I would like to extend my best wishes to you all. It is my sincere hope that you will become the backbones of national development and the envoys of China-South Africa friendship.

Now, the Fourth Industrial Revolution has come to us. I am happy to see that under the strong leadership of President Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa has ushered in A New Dawn for national renewal and China-South Africa relations have entered the golden time of harvest. The time has never been better for you to be graduated. The renewal of South Africa and deepening friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation between China and South Africa will provide you with a vast stage to achieve new and greater success.

Before my conclusion, on behalf of the Chinese government, I would like to announce a good news that we are ready to provide to the University of Johannesburg 25 full scholarships funded by the Chinese government for the school year 2019-2020. The excellent graduates present here today are welcome to enjoy the scholarship to China to pursue Master's or Doctor's degree.

Thank you all for your attention !

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