2015 marks a milestone in the history of China-South Africa and China-Africa relations and the Year of China in South Africa is, no doubt, a highlight in this year. As a flagship project in China-South Africa people-to-people and cultural exchanges, the Year of China in South Africa stands out in the history with over 200 events and more than 100,000 people's participation, which has not only left beautiful memories to the Chinese, South African and African people, but also taken China-South Africa and China-Africa relations to a new height.
The Year of China enjoys a splendid start, numerous highlights and a perfect end, making a vertical axis of the development of China-South Africa relations. The opening ceremony of the Year of China was held in Pretoria in March, 2015 and both President Xi and President Zuma sent congratulatory messages. Before the opening ceremony, a series of events have already warmed up the Year of China.
The Year of China in South Africa has three remarkable stages, which respectively focused on "Chinese culture", China-SA mutual learning and exchanges as well as "China-Africa cooperation". During Joburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, witnessed by President Xi and President Zuma as well as over 30 African leaders, "China-Africa Moments" cultural performances reached the climax of the Year of China and marked a perfect end.
The Year of China has covered all the nine provinces in South Africa and is catered to the general public. Various forms of events have been carried out in all the major cities of South Africa. Meanwhile, the Year of China could also be seen in communities and towns. Many South African people, for the first time, have the opportunity to get to know Peking Opera, Chinese Characters and martial arts. The Chinese Embassy, companies and communities have all taken this opportunity to show their care to the people in need through donations, thus having further enhanced the meaning of the Year of China.
With the platform of the Year of China, both sides have held numerous substantive events in diverse forms, which were warmly responded by the local people. The events covered such areas as politics, economy and trade, finance, culture, education, technology, health, environment and wildlife protection, tourism, sports, parties, think tanks, media, women and youth. Friendly groups from China and South Africa took the lead to organize and participate in the Year of China events. Dozens of delegations from over ten Chinese provinces and cities had local, economic and trade and people-to-people exchanges in South Africa. Free State, Western Cape University and Naspers all chose to hold a China Week. Thanks to the Year of China, the exchanges and cooperation between China and South Africa have been more prosperous than ever before. In 2015, we celebrated the launch of the first locomotive jointly produced by the two countries, the commencement of Air China's first direct flight from Beijing to Joburg and the opening of Africa's first Renminbi clearance bank in South Africa. In 2015, China and South Africa held the first Forum of Cultural and Creative Industry; China became the guest country of DISCOP Africa for the first time; Liaoning Ballet and Jorburg Ballet together gave 20 performances to 15,000 audiences, which broke the box office record of Jorbug Ballet. In 2015, the book review the Governance of China was successfully held in South Africa; and a series of high-level forums and meetings were held in SA including the 2nd Ministerial Forum on China-Africa Health Cooperation, China-Africa Media Summit, China-Africa Think Tank Forum, China-Africa Entrepreneurs Forum, Huawei Safe City Summit, "One Road One Belt" and Africa's Prosperity Symposium, which further promoted China-Africa and China-South Africa exchanges and cooperation in relevant areas.
What a wonderful and fruitful Year of China in South Africa!