PRETORIA — People-to-people exchanges between China and South Africa have blossomed alongside enhanced political mutual trust and closer economic cooperation, said visiting Vice-Premier Liu Yandong in Pretoria on April 24.
Speaking at the first meeting of the China-South Africa High Level People to People Exchange Mechanism (PPEM), Liu said that South Africa hosts more Chinese students, Confucius institutes and classrooms and has more sister provinces and cities with China than any other African country.
It is one of the most popular destinations in Africa for Chinese tourists and the first country on the African continent to include Chinese teaching in its national education system, she said.
Positive progress has also been made in the setting-up of cultural centers in each other’s countries, the building of scientific parks, exchanges of scientific personnel and joint research and development, said Liu.
The Year of South Africa was successfully held in China in 2014, as was the Year of China in South Africa in 2015. Both were jointly designated by President Xi Jinping and President Jacob Zuma as flagship programs and national level platforms for people-to-people exchanges.
The Year of China in South Africa set a record of over 200 events and the participation of about 100,000 people.
South Africa’s dance and wine is getting popular among the Chinese people, while China’s Peking Opera and martial arts have drawn more and more South African fans, she said.
Many young South Africans choose to work and live in China, she said, citing a documentary entitled South Africans in China, which vividly recorded the real life of 12 South Africans in China.
Released in 2015 in Beijing, the documentary showcased the friendly exchanges and bond between ordinary people of the two countries.
One of them is Byron Jacobs living in Beijing. He came to China to learn martial arts, became the best student of his Chinese teacher, and is now campaigning to include martial arts in Olympic competition.