New Promotion Film of China’s Guangzhou Unveiled

On the morning of March 28, 2017, a five-minute promo video of Guangzhou was premiered at the opening ceremony of 2017 Guangzhou Annual Investment Conference.

Guangzhou is the capital and most populous city of the province of Guangdong in southern China.

The video, titled “Guangzhou, Flower City in Bloom”, showcases an artistic, international and high-tech Guangzhou with beautiful environment and happy life.

According to a dispatch from Augustus Chen of Information Office of Guangzhou Municipality, the the story of the video is about a foreign man and a Chinese lady, knowing each other and falling in love in Guangzhou. From their perspective, the video shows the city’s legend & originality, color & warmth, growth & vitality. In this video, you can see traditional Guangzhou as well as modern Guangzhou.

Hailed as Flower City, flowers are certainly the highlight of the video, the city flower kapok, azalea along the street, flowers in the park, flower fair, and flower market.

Culture is also an important part being shown in the video. Kwon-glazed porcelain, Cantonese Embroidery, Cantonese Opera, herbal tea, fashion design, sculpture, and more are presented to show Guangzhou’s charm and character.

The main melody of background music is “Colorful Clouds Chasing The Moon” (in Chinese 彩云追月), a classic piece of Cantonese music. It is a new orchestration of Chinese and Western musical instruments, including flute, guitar, gong & drum and jazz drum.

Previous to this, the 30-second version of this promo video was displayed on the “China Screen” at New York Time Square from March 11 to 17, drawing coverage of about 400 foreign media, including USA Today, Yahoo, Deutsch Press Agency, ABC, NBC, and FOX. In only two days, the video was viewed for over 5 million times online, 200,000 times on Fackbook and Twitter, with numerous likes.

A New Zealand net friend Loh Siewling commented that Guangzhou’s changes over the past 20 years are incredible; the city’s airport used to be like a bus station, no highways nor skyscrapers could be seen in the city; now Guangzhou is like any other modern mega-cities in the world.

Netizen Doris King who liked the video said the the city is so beautiful and the buildings are amazing. Many overseas Chinese from Guangzhou also commented that they missed Cantonese morning tea a lot.

FLOWER FAIRS

Guangzhou has the nickname ‘Flower City’, thanks to its year-round warm weather which other parts of the country is denied of. The locals’ enthusiasm for flowers as decorations at home reaches its prime when the annual Flower Fairs is held just before the Chinese New Year.

Usually lasting for around a week and finishing late on the eve or a week after the Chinese New Year, the Flower Fairs are staged in all 8 districts of the city and reaches the climax right on the eve of the Chinese New Year. You should expect to see various types of flowers in rows, as well as the crazy crowd around them. People believe that flowers are symbols of prosperity, so at the turn of the year it’s extremely important to have the flowers with you to change the feng shui and hope for good luck for the coming year.

It is said that Guangzhou has held flower fairs for more than 500 years now and the locals truly believe the old saying, “No flower fairs, no New Year.” If you happen to be traveling to/in Guangzhou during the Chinese New Year times, go and experience it.

SHOPPING PARADISE

Being the center of the Pearl River Delta, also dubbed as “the world’s factory”, Guangzhou is a place where you can find everything at a very competitive price, for foreigners and local Chinese alike. There are quite a number of wholesale markets in the city, ranging from electronic products to clothes, shoes, accessories, bags and suitcases and many others. If you are not up for wholesale, it’s also a retail center! Shopping centers and streets provide loads of options at very attractive prices. Make sure you have a good budget control and are aware of your luggage limits for all your shopping in Guangzhou!

Located on the Pearl River about 120 km (75 mi) north-northwest of Hong Kong and 145 km (90 mi) north of Macau, Guangzhou was a major terminus of the maritime Silk Road and continues to serve as a major port and transportation hub.

Guangzhou is currently, the third most-populous city in mainland China, behind Beijing (2nd) and Shanghai (1st); holds sub-provincial administrative status; and is one of China’s five National Central Cities. In 2015 the city’s administrative area was estimated to have a population of 13,501,100 and forms part of one of the most populous metropolitan agglomerations on Earth. Some estimates place the population of the built-up area of the Pearl River Delta Mega City as high as 44 million without the Hong Kong SAR and 54 million including it. Guangzhou is identified as a Beta+ Global city. In recent years, there has been a rapidly increasing number of foreign residents and illegal immigrants from Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, as well as from Africa This has led to it being dubbed the “Capital of the Third World”. The migrant population from other provinces of China in Guangzhou was 40 percent of the city’s total population in 2008. Most of them are poor rural migrants, and they speak only non-Cantonese varieties of Chinese, such as Mandarin.

Guangzhou was long the only Chinese port permitted for most foreign traders. The city proper fell to the British and was opened by the First Opium War. It lost trade to other ports such as Hong Kong and Shanghai, but continued to serve as a major entrepôt. In modern commerce, Guangzhou is best known for its annual Canton Fair, the oldest and largest trade fair in China. For the three consecutive years 2013–2015, Forbes ranked Guangzhou as the best commercial city on the Chinese mainland.

 

FEATURE

China’s Increased Foreign Engagement; A Brighter Future for China-Liberia Relations in Poverty Reduction

By Fredrick P. W. Gaye, China-Africa Press Center (CAPC) Fellow 2016

 

In recent years, China has increased its friendship with other developing countries, with most of them in Africa. China’s cooperation with Africa focuses on reducing poverty through economic growth and development, to ensure peace and security on the continent.

As a result, the country has created and introduced various platforms in fostering this cooperation on a win-win situation.

The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) is an ambitious platform between the two sides to promote and improve economic growth and development through mutual understanding and benefits.

Under this platform, President Xi Jinping announced 60 billion United States dollars to support 10 plans in Africa. Several countries in Africa have seized the concepts and are working with the plans, according to the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit Followup meeting held in China in 2016.

The Belt and Road Initiative is another platform which has become the most popular public goods and the platform for international cooperation with the brightest prospects in the world, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Wednesday.

Foreign Minister Wang disclosed plans for more than 20 heads of state and government, over 50 leaders of international organizations, over 100 ministerial-level officials, as well as over 1,200 delegates from various countries and regions to participate in the Belt and Road forum for international cooperation in May in Beijing. This is a demonstration of China’s aim to keep all developing countries on par with development.

“The idea of the Belt and Road Initiative came from China but it belongs to the world with its benefits flowing to all countries,” Wang said.

While the trends of protectionism and unilateralism are rising, the Belt and Road Initiative has become the common cause of the world which will help re-balance the economic globalization by making it more universally-beneficial and inclusive, he said.

The forum in May will build consensus and connect development strategies of various countries. It will also examine cooperation in key areas and finalize major projects in infrastructure connectivity, trade and investment, financial support and people-to-people exchanges, he said. Under the people-to-people exchanges, journalists and other professionals have been going for exchange visits to China. China has increased scholarships to Liberia. Ambassador’s and enterprise scholarships programs are also benefiting many Liberians.

Medium and long term cooperation initiatives will be announced and long-term cooperation mechanisms explored to build a closer and more result-oriented network of partnerships, he said.

 

Future of China-Liberia Relations in Poverty Reduction

 

Before the resumption of diplomatic ties, China and Liberia had made significant progress in investment cooperation and China contributed tremendously in investments and aid to Liberia’s recovery programs. China-Liberia relations has been growing since the resumption of bilateral ties between the two sides, coupled with the signing of the One-China Policy by Liberia.

China has increased its investments in Liberia, witnessing several projects, major among which are the construction of the Jackson F. Doe Memorial Hospital in Nimba County, northeastern Liberia; construction of the Fendell University of Liberia new building outside Monrovia; renovation of the Samuel K. Doe Sports Stadium on the outskirt of Monrovia; a modern annex of the Monrovia Vocational Training Center (MVTC); ongoing construction of the Ministerial Complex in Monrovia; expansion of the Capitol Building; construction of a terminal at the Roberts International Airport (RIA); the rehabilitation and construction of roads.

It is more interesting that China promises to continue, even increase its support to Africa, and Liberia being a part, stands to benefit in lifting its citizens out of poverty. China’s diplomatic relations with other countries are mutually beneficial to both sides and so it stresses people-centered investments. Liberia is endowed with many natural resources and they can become blessing to the nation if they are properly managed in improving the citizens.

Furthermore, the Chinese Embassy in Monrovia has been increasing its partnership with the Liberian media in recent years. The partnership intended for Liberian journalists to know about China and educate their fellow citizens on China-Liberia relations and its benefits to their country.

China not to weaken support for Africa: FM

Speaking recently on the sidelines of China’s annual two sessions in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said there will be no weakening in China’s support for Africa no matter how the international situation or world economy may evolve. “China and Africa have a shared future and their cooperation is like mutual help between brothers,” Wang told a press conference.

According China had announced 60 billion U.S. dollars funding support for Africa at the summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in December 2015 held in South Africa’s Johannesburg, adding that China also rolled out 10 major plans to boost cooperation with Africa at the summit. The plans cover the areas of industrialization, agricultural modernization, infrastructure, financial services, green development, trade and investment facilitation, poverty reduction and public welfare, public health, people-to-people exchanges, and peace and security.

Wang said the outcomes of the Johannesburg summit are being implemented in a swift and all-round way, including railway projects in Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya, as well as a special economic zone in the Republic of Congo, an integrated port development project in Tanzania and a number of industrial parks across Africa.

Just as China was Africa’s most sincere friend in its quest for national independence and liberation, so China will be Africa’s most reliable partner in speeding up industrialization and agricultural modernization, and boosting its capacity for home-grown development, Wang added.

The latest promise reinvigorates China-Liberia friendship to foster sustainable development on a win-win situation. This will also attract more private Chinese investors to Liberia, in additional to the already growing bilateral projects.

Learning from China to Achieve Poverty Reduction in Liberia

There is a saying that, “You should know about the person that you are friendly with.” This goes to say that, while China-Liberia relations is gaining momentum like with other developing countries, it is important to always learn from China’s successes. What China has achieve in 30 years is something to serve as a lesson to any developing countries.  The World Bank and China had launched a knowledge hub to spread knowledge of China’s successes in reducing poverty both at home and in other countries.

By 2016, China had lifted more than 800 million of its citizens out of poverty following the economic reforms in 1978. The nation is aiming to eliminate poverty by by 2020, according to China’s five-year plan, which targets about 70 million remaining poor.

China is working hard to achieve this goal. President Xi Jinping had set specific goals to reach the target: lifting 10 million people out of poverty per year between 2016 and 2020 and providing a social safety net for the 20 million poor who are unable work. In order to accomplish this, China has taken up the challenge by attacking poverty on several fronts: by promoting tourism in poor but scenic areas, by helping poor households gain access to micro-credit loans, and by pairing work units and other institutions with poor villages to assist residents. The China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, a non-profit organization, has and continues to play a critical role in these areas and the Agricultural Development Bank of China (ADBC) is lending three trillion RMB (Renminbi) up to 2020 to develop rural areas, funding education, infrastructure and crop production.

China’s success with its home-grown methods of reducing poverty and increasing food production can help other developing countries including Liberia. Liberia relies heavily on agricultural products.

During my 10-month media fellowship in the People’s Republic of China in 2016, we (African journalists) visit Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in central China on June 12-14, 2016. It was observed that the Chinese Government is fighting poverty where poverty is, under its national plan. With the backing of the central government, regional officials are working tirelessly to raise thousands of citizens out of poverty. Inter-county ecological migration is the principal mode of settlement in the “12th Five-year Plan” period. The stability and sustained development of inter-county migration zones hold the key to success or failure of the overall migration project. As the capital of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Yinchuan is an important settlement under that plan. Three districts of Yinchuan-Xingqing District, Jinfeng District, and Xixia District alone settle 5444 households of migrants with a population of 22,800. Among them, there are 1387 households of ecological migrants consisting of a population of 5800, which makes up 15.4 % of the total migrants. There are 4057 households of labor migrants consisting of a total population of 17,000 which makes up 74.6 % of the total migrants. All of the migrants to these three districts come from Pengyang County in the mountainous region in the south of Ningxia. Families affected by poor-living land features including deserts and mountains are being relocated and provided modern housing units. One of the relocation sites visited is the Heshun New Village, in Liangtian Town, Jinfeng District. Located in the southern suburb of Yinchuan City, Ningxia Region, the village is one of the relocation sites listed in the 12th five-year plan of the region. Regional officials said, under the 12th five-year plan, more than 750 households or 3,000 villagers from Pengyang County are expected to be relocated to the village. According to them, from October 2011 to November 2013, 718 households or 3,086 villagers were relocated in Jinfeng District. Each household is provided a modern house of 54 square meter, a green house of mainly tomatoes and Chinese cucumbers, skills training and job opportunities. Beneficiaries are being trained in mechanized farming and other skills, thus replacing the traditional methods.

However, achieving such a goal depends on the key players and other stakeholders. President Xi Jinping continues to stress this important part of project implementation.

In his book: “UP AND OUT OF POVERTY,” President Xi says recognizing talent and using that talent wisely is a challenge that all leaders face. Under the topic” “The Importance of Selecting the Right People,” the Chinese leader narrated that, while working in Zhengding County in Hubei Province, the county CPC party committee suggested a strategy for the county; just as Fujian Province takes advantage of its “mountains and seas,” and Qinghai develops its “grasslands and forests,” Zhengding County should focus on “talent”.

Therefore, Liberian authorities should learn from this experience as President Xi’s emphasis is on capable people instead of selecting based on favoritism, if they must achieve the China’s dream.

Muslims Holiday Proposal Bill Termed: “Politically” Motivated For 2017 …Senator PYJ “War-Years” Hunt Patronage

 

By T. Michael Johnny 0886571899/0775820581

 

Nimba County Senator Prince Yormie Johnson’s alleged “political expedition” to lure Muslims into his path will be resisted despite proposal for the enactment of a bill intended to recognize Islamic Holy Month of Ramadan and Abraham Day as national holidays; scores of Muslim and Christian youth have hinted.

In an organized forum of Christians and Muslims on the pending 2017 general and presidential elections and the pronouncement of holidays for Muslims, discussants at an intellectual debate proffered diversified views on the pronouncement, which attracted hundreds of attendants and curious onlookers.

Senator Johnson, who recently established the Movement for Development and Reconstruction (MDR), has heightened hatred and championed opponents against the reelection of the Unity Party (UP) in 2017 and also implored verbal attacks on President Sirleaf and Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai.

Accordingly, the ex-leader of the breakaway Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) has in recent times launched scathing attack on the UP-led government describing President Sirleaf and Vice President Boakai as “Vampire 1 and Vampire 2” and his ambitious bill for the enactment of Muslim holidays is being heavily weighed.

However, during the heated debate, discussant Patrick Johnson, a Christian, said the pronouncement by Senator Johnson is intended to bait Muslims into his newly wedded political party, after parting relationship with the National Union of Democratic Progress (UNDP) where he snatched the third place spot in 2011.

He rationalized that the once feared rebel leader’s pronouncement for Muslim holidays is diametrically opposite to his expressed assertion, noting that the Nimba County lawmaker is a “political joker” in disguise whose beliefs are farfetched in genuine acceptability.

“While Christians do not oppose the legislation of Muslim holidays in the country, however, it would be foolhardy to denote that Senator Johnson is naturally in support of his expressed bill. The statement is intended to buy sentiments from the Muslim community,” said discussant Johnson.

In an affirmation and out- right debunk to Senator Johnson’s statement, another discussant, Alieu Sheriff, a Muslim scholar, accused Senator Johnson of “buying undue sympathy and recognition” at the expense of individuals (Muslims) who wished national holidays for the Islamic population in the country.

He accused Senator Johnson of  fermenting religious intolerance in Nimba County by marginalizing Muslims in crucial decision making in the county through his divide and rule administrative tactics.

“Although we the Muslims want holidays for our religious festivities such as Ramadan and Abraham Day, however, the attainment of our desire will be missed with Senator Johnson as proponent,” said Sheriff.

The scholarly Islamic youth stressed that Senator Johnson should commence his crusade for holiday for Muslims by uniting Christians and Muslims in Nimba County and the bitterness over the long running land dispute before craving for legislation.

However, although discussants reproached the sincerity of Senator Prince Johnson, however, they also opined that politics and religion should not feature prominently in the 2017 general and presidential elections because of the intricacies attached.

Recently, preposition 24, of the Constitutional Review Committee, which proposed that Liberia should become Christian State as opposed to secular State, was vehemently criticized by scores of Muslim leaders as well as segment of Christians.

BREXIT

It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old. Read more

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Covenant Life Bible School Begins 5-Day Conference

The Covenant Life Bible School (CLBS) located in Sinkor has begun a five-day conference under the theme: “Breaking the Chains of Lamination” with text taken from the book of Acts 12:1-7.

The five days conference, which commenced on August 10-14, 2015, is being held at the Redeemed Fellowship International in Monrovia.

Briefing journalists over the weekend, the Executive Director of CLBS, Rev. Sila S. Harris, said the conference is intended to assemble people from various counties to continuously inform them about God’s words and the importance of Christianity in the society.

Rev. Harris further revealed that the conference is also part of the Covenant Life Bible School year end academic certificate program season normally done by the church.

The CLBS Director said preachers from various churches within Monrovia and other parts of the country will form part of the preaching during the five day conference.

“At the end of the five days conference; we will also hold graduation for 29 students from the CLBS and they will be certificated as they have completed their studies,” said Rev. Harris

He said the number of graduating students should have been higher, but indicated that due to some unforeseen challenges, other students dropped from the studies.

Rev. Harris furthered that students are taught various courses during their six weeks program before test is being administered, which he said qualifies them to complete the training.

According to him, the training offers diplomat courses for students who leave their various churches to attend the training.

“People who leave their churches to attend the six weeks training program offered by CLBS comes through massive awareness exercise carried to various churches across the country to have their members attend the diplomat training program,” added Rev. Harris.

Meanwhile, Rev. Harris has encouraged participants of the training program to pay keen attention to the training in order to successfully benefit CLBS program.

 

“Gov’t Need To Invest In Agriculture”

By : Kelvin Teikah Kpakolo/kpakolok@gmail.com/0886190023/0770326443

The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bryant Agriculture Complex, Edwin Bryant, said it is about time the Government of Liberia invests more in the agriculture sector of the country, something he said will help build the economy of the country and provide more job opportunities for Liberians.

Bryant said  Liberia has one of the best soils in the world but the government is not making use  of the soil.

According to him, Liberia spends 200 million every budget year just on rice, something he also said is the cause of the backwardness of the country and hard rate of poverty in the country, indicating, “If this government can open every big rice farm to build the capacity of local farmers, educate them about international farming and other basic things they need to know, in the next three years to come, Liberians will start exporting rice and others produce around the world.”

Mr. Bryant also noted that he will be opening his Agriculture Complex soon in Grand Bassa County, adding, “In years to come, this complex will provide more job opportunities for Liberians around the country.”

 

Deal On Course! As ‘Dedicated Delegation’ Meets Boakai

Following their arrival in Monrovia last Friday and escorted at the Palm Spring Hotel in Congo Town by Liberian police, a delegation of Chinese companies yesterday met with Vice President Joseph N. Boakai at the Capitol Building.

A release from VP Boakai’s office issued yesterday said the Vice President hailed the relationship between Liberia and the Peoples Republic of China and spoke of the rising levels of economic cooperation that could bring the two peoples closer together and boost economic prosperity between the two nations.

Accordingly, Vice President Boakai said in recent times, he has seen a lot of cooperation between the two countries including the role of China in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus.

He reportedly spoke Wednesday when a thirteen- man Chinese business delegation, accompanied by Liberia’s Ambassador to China, McKinley Thomas and Chinese Ambassador to Liberia, Zhang Yue paid a courtesy call on him at his Capitol Building Office.

The delegation is said to include some of China’s top companies who said they were in the country to explore the possibility of investing in mining, power, engineering, fruit processing, and rail transport, solar and wind energy and mineral exploration, among others.

Vice President Boakai, the release noted, stressed that unless the natural resources of a country are exploited for the benefit of the people, the people will continue to live in poverty and noted that this is the largest Chinese business delegation he has hosted and hoped that something good can come out this visit. He admonished the two envoys and line ministries holding talks with the delegation to ensure that the visit yields the desired benefits for both Liberia and China.

The visit of the Chinese business delegation is said to be a forerunner to the visit of the Chinese Foreign Minister to Liberia in coming days.

On Monday, August 3, this paper reported the arrival of a ‘dedicated’ Chinese delegation in the country.

Credible information gathered recently in Monrovia from sources within government indicated tense progressive negotiations involving some officials of the Ellen-led regime and their Chinese counterparts, aimed at ensuring that a  Chinese company wins a bid to operate the Wologisi Mountain in Lofa County.

The In Profile was hinted that a seven-man Liberian delegation headed by Minister of State Without Portfolio, Sylvester Grigsby, recently visited China to strike the deal.

Accordingly, other members of the Liberian delegation included Jake Kabakollie from the National Oil Company of Liberia, the Deputy Chief of Office Staff to VP Boakai, the Special Assistant to VP Boakai, the Commander of the Executive Protective Services (EPS) assigned to VP Boakai, one Monbo from the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP), and one Gus who is said to be Economic Advisor to President Sirleaf.

Sources also claimed that if deal is sealed, the Chinese have promised US$5b investment package once they are awarded the bid to exploit the Wologisi Mountain.

The US$5b investment package is said to include a road infrastructure, a new airport and a newer 250 Megawatt Hydro in Liberia.

Granted another Chinese company wins a bid, this time for Mt. Wologisi, two Chinese companies will be noted for exploiting mountains in Liberia under the Unity Party-led government.

Currently, it is recalled that China Union is operating in Bong Mines, Lower Bong County, but its operations have often been threatened by intermittent go-slows due to alleged bad labor practices.

Meanwhile, the presence of the Chinese delegation in Monrovia suggests a return leg of negotiation on the deal as the delegation has reportedly been expected based on invitation from GOL’s chief negotiators.

This latest development regarding the Wologisi chase has created an uncertainty as to what happens to Jindal, an Indian giant steel company which President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf once led a huge Liberian Government   delegation and toured its facilities in India thus giving the company the impression to negotiate and to take over the exploitation of one of Liberia’s endowed mineral resources sites.

The deal  involving  the Chinese and top Liberian Government officials  is  being revealed  at the time 2017 presidential and legislative elections are less than three years away  to transition from one civil administration to another.