(16th November 2016, Wednesday)
Respected Chairman, Professor Joseph Ghartey Ampiah, Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast (UCC),
Respected Professor George K. T. Oduro, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the UCC,
Respected Mr. J. K. Nyan, Registrar of the UCC,
Chinese and Ghanaian Directors of the Confucius Institute at the UCC,
Faculty Members and Students,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very delighted to be in UCC again to present scholarship to 20 brilliant students who have excelled in learning Chinese language. Thank you all for being with me. My three congratulations, to the students who have achieved academic excellence, to the Chinese teachers who have been devoted to their work, and to the Vice Chancellor who has just assumed the important post. I wish that during your tenure more pillars of the society would be brought up by UCC.
I want to commend UCC for the perfect arrangements of the event today. I have taken notice that my photo is hung up on both sides of the hall. You can see this Chinese Ambassador to Ghana is really working hard, because she looks much older now compared with the young girl in that photo of 2014.
I also want to commend the Pro-Vice-Chancellor’s speech. Only that he knows too much about China-Ghana relations and he has talked a lot and spoiled my speech. So what should I say?
People present today are friends of China. As US has just concluded its general election and Ghana will witness its general election early next month, people may be asking what China is doing at this time.
I want to expound on three events that happened recently.
Almost two weeks ago, China launched its first heavy-lift Long March 5 carrier rocket, marking a new milestone in the country’s space industry. As the nation’s strongest and most technologically advanced launch vehicle, Long March 5 will enable China to put its future manned station into space and send unmanned probes to Mars.
Twenty-fives days ago, a grand gathering was held in Beijing to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Long March of the Chinese Red Army. The Long March is enlisted among “100 Events that Changed the World”. From October 1934 to October 1936, the Chinese Red Army soldiers left their bases and marched through raging rivers, snowy mountains and arid grasslands to break the siege of the Kuomingtang (Nationalist Party of China) forces and continue the fight against Japanese aggressors. Some of them marched as far as 12,500 kilometers, almost the same distance from Accra to Beijing. The surviving military force was less than 7000, down form 86,000 at the start of the Long March. “Compared to the Long March, Hannibal's crossing of the Alps was like a summer’s day stroll,” noted American journalist Edgar Snow in his book “Red Star Over China”. The epic Long March was truly a great expedition to uphold idealism and faith, overcome difficulties, and break new ground. It was a remarkable turning point for China’s liberation cause and the Communist Party of China (CPC). Chinese leaders have made frequent references to the Long March to boost people’s confidence when China faces grave challenges or to prevent people from being self-conceited as what we have achieved may only be the first step of the 10,000 mile Long March.
Between the two events above-mentioned, the Six Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee was concluded on 27th October. The plenum introduced a set of norms for the political life of Party members and revised an intra-Party supervision regulation.
China has registered rapid growth for more than 30 years but at the same time has also accumulated a number of structural problems, which call for an urgent and holistic reform. It is by no means easy to deepen the reform as the pains and costs of the reform bring about may have bred some opposing voices from within. What is more, the external factors are not always favorable. For the time being, the world economic recovery is sluggish and China has been made a scapegoat by some forces who simply don’t believe that China will embark on the path of sustainable development and speculate on China’s collapse from time to time.
CPC holds that better governance of the nation must start from stricter governance within the Party. As a ruling party with 88 million members governing a nation of more than 1.3 billion people, Party building is a very important mission for the CPC. Since the past 4 years, the Party has strengthened discipline, power restriction, accountability and inspection, keeping high profile on anti-corruption, investigate and prosecute every corruption case to strengthen the construction of anti-corruption system and mechanism. This is to make sure that all Party members will act in conformity and the entire country maintains solidarity so as to carry forth the spirit of the Long March to move forward on “a new Long March” to realize the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation.
A Ghanaian scholar who has been in China for 8 years echoes the Chinese leader in his recent article “China is on the way of new Long March”. He calls on the developing countries to draw on Chinese people’s perseverance, adaptability, longing for success and never giving up.
So with the ending of these three Long March stories, I almost come to the conclusion of my remarks. China and Ghana enjoy time-honored friendship and carry out extensive cooperation in various fields. Our cooperation in culture, education and people-to-people exchange are ever increasing. So far, China has set up 2 Confucius Institutes in Ghana, sent Chinese teachers to teach Chinese in 5 Ghanaian universities. More exchanges of visits have been conducted including former Vice-Chancellor of UCC Professor D.D. Kuupole and Honorable Minister for Education Professor Nanaa Jane Opoku-Agyeman. More tertiary institutions form partnership to jointly run classes. More Ghanaian students go to study in China and this year we have issued visas to over 1,200 Ghanaian students. China Ghana Graduates Association has also been set up.
As Chinese Ambassador, I am committed to a better China-Ghana relations and will make every effort to promote exchange and cooperation between our two countries. I encourage Ghanaian awardees today to continue sticking to the road of learning Chinese as this is also a kind of Long March that tests people’s faith and tenacity.