(17 March, 2016)
Respected Mr. Bernard Otabil, General Manager of GNA,
Respected Secretary General and friends from Ghana-China Friendship Association,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,
Good morning! It's my great pleasure to celebrate the inauguration of the China-Africa Desk at GNA with you all. Let me begin by extending my deep gratitude to the staff members of GNA, especially the General Manager, Chief Editor and the China-Africa desk team, for your hard working on reporting China's stories and your firm commitment of upholding the banner of China-Africa friendship.
I have been in Accra for almost two years and have made a lot of friends in media. I understand what an important role the media can play in enhancing mutual cognition between Chinese people and Ghanaian people and African people at large. I cannot remember for how many times Ghanaian friends will come to tell me about what they see in China during their first trip. "Oh China is so great" "Incredible China" "I never expect China is like this" "We need to learn from China", all these are the words echoing in my mind.
But there is also counterpart story. When my parents, my husband and son, my sister and her daughter came to visit me in Accra last year, all of them told me that Ghana is much better than their imagination. I also heard a story by a Nigerian girl, who was deeply troubled by the image of her country when she stayed in the US.
In China we say judgment lags behind the changing situation. It is very common that despite some insightful and thought-provoking reports, the reports concerning China in Ghana generally speaking, are neither sufficient nor in-depth, sometimes even deviate from the truth, far from reflecting the whole picture of exciting happenings in China and its external relations. There are too many good stories in China-Ghana and China-Africa relations that are worthy of survey and publicity. We need to step up our efforts.
Today, I will share three stories with you.
My first story is about China's development. Under the circumstances of quite bleak global economic situation, people are always keen to learn whether China will continue to contribute to or will implicate the global growth. The Fourth Session of the 12th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and National People's Congress (NPC) were just closed yesterday. During the past two weeks, thousands of representatives of Chinese people from all walks of life had gathered in Beijing to discuss next 5-year development of China.
On 5th March 2016, Chinese Premier H.E. LI Keqiang delivered the Report on the Work of the Government at the NPC meeting. He pointed out that China's GDP reached 67.7 trillion yuan RMB (around 1.4 trillion USD) in 2015, representing an increase of 6.9% over the previous year-a growth rate faster than that of most other major economies. The service sector as a proportion of GDP rose to 50.5%, accounting for more than half for the first time. The contribution of consumption toward economic growth reached 66.4%. Business startups and innovations by the general public flourished, with the number of newly registered businesses rising by 21.6%, or an average of 12,000 new businesses per day. Personal per capita disposable income increased by 7.4% in real terms, overtaking the growth rate of the economy.
Right now, Chinese government is implementing the supply side reform. In doing so Chinese government is deepening reforms to streamline administration, improve regulation, and provide better services to ensure that the whole country's potential for starting business and making innovation is released, overcapacity is cut, costs are lowered, and business performance is improved so that the supply of goods and services will be enhanced. The government is also pushing for progress in SOE reform and energize the non-public sector. A wave of "Internet plus" is booming in China, mass entrepreneurship and innovation are getting more and more popular.
All of the statistic figures show that China's economy is warming up and achieving stability. Ghana's first President Dr. Kwame Nkrumah once said to the journalists, "we neither face east nor west, we face forward". For years Chinese people have always faced forward, looked forward as well as moved forward, surviving all the mistrust and lack of confidence by some external forces. So may we ask ourselves, as media that whether we should play a constructive role in spreading positive energy or we should further shatter people's confidence in the future?
My second story is about perception of China. Two months ago, a documentary called the Story of China with Michael Wood was broadcast on BBC Two. In this documentary, Dr. Michael Wood shows the audience China's splendid history and its influence on Chinese people. When he tells the stories of what China had experienced in the 20th century, the foreign invasions, internal wars and chaos, he stresses that nearly every 10 years, a big turmoil would torture Chinese people. During the Japanese invasion period (1931-1945), more than 18 million Chinese nationals were killed in war or died because of famine. He concludes that Chinese people have experienced too many difficulties, thus much valuing the peace and stability right now.
Honestly speaking, China-bashing is more popular in western media. It seems to me that western reporters have never visited China or they simply enjoy watching China through colored glasses. But this time, I would like to speak highly of Dr. Michael Wood. His documentary made me blurt out involuntarily -"That's China!" He hears the voice of the Chinese people, and understands what we are proud of and what we are worried about. This documentary also reveals that even in western countries the stereotyped and prejudiced stories of China are losing market. So may we ask ourselves that whether media in developing countries should set a high benchmark of code of conduct to enhance mutual understanding of peoples of the world or we should repeat other people's words like a parrot?
My third story is about China-Ghana friendship. In January 1964 Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai visited Ghana and established close relations with Ghana's founding father Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. There is a photograph at the Nkrumah Memorial Park which shows that Premier Zhou was playing table tennis with President Nkrumah at the Osu Castle.
There is also a story behind the table tennis. The first Chinese coach to Ghana as well as to Africa, Mr. Wang Chuanyao, was a member of the champion team of the 26th World Table Tennis Championships. In 1961, he was sent to coach Ghana National Table Tennis Team and next year Ghana National Team became the Champion of the West Africa region. After he went back to China, the table tennis he used was left to President Nkrumah and had the honor to witness the historical moment on China-Ghana friendship in 1964.
Within the 56 years of friendly relations between China and Ghana, there are numerous stories like this. So may we ask ourselves that whether we should discover and tell more such stories to our peoples or we should leave them in dust?
By conclusion, let me quote a sentence of Mr. LU Xun, a famous Chinese writer. He once said, "Originally there is no path in this world, but if more and more people walk in the same direction, the path appears." I firmly believe that the establishment of China-Africa Desk at GNA would call on more people to walk in the direction of promoting friendship and understanding, and the path will become wider and wider.