By Laiyin Yuan
Translator: Laiyin Yuan
Published on: 11/01/2014
Source: Xinhua News Agency
Original text (in Chinese): http://news.xinhuanet.com/sports/2014-11/02/c_127168295.htm
From the Asian Games, the Olympics, to the Youth Olympic Games, China has been attracting global attention with grand sports events. Sports also allows for grand diplomatic relationships. Can the path for “Ping Pong Diplomacy”1 that once worked for re-establishing China-U.S. relations work again for a more profound China-Africa friendship? Recently, diplomats and scholars from both sides had a wide-ranging discussion regarding this topic.
— Laiyin Yuan (Translator)
On November 1, the “Sports and Peace: the Perspectives of China and Africa” seminar was held at the Shahe campus of China Foreign Affairs University (CFAU), with many African diplomats and the university leaders participating in the discussions.
The Rwandan ambassador to China, Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga, noted the great importance of sports to human health, and that it can also bring peace to everyone. Sports not only promotes communication among people, but also deepens the friendship among countries. Amb. Kayonga also mentioned that, with the ongoing friendship between China and Africa, he was very grateful for the generous assistance that China provided for Africa, and he was also looking forward to more opportunities for communication like this.
Amb. Pascal Gasunzu, the Burundian ambassador to China, mentioned specifically that Burundian president Pierre Nkurunziza, is a sports fan who attaches great importance to relations with China, so he attended the recent Nanjing Youth Olympic Games. Sports is truly a bond of Sino-Africa friendship.
Amb. Lansina Boua Kone, Mali’s ambassador to China, said that sports were the best medicine and the reason for his current good health despite his age of 63 years old. He also lauded the international friendly held on June 29 this year between the Chinese and Malian men’s national soccer teams, believing that sports is a critical method to bringing peace.
Associate Professor Zhou Qingjie, who is also the Director of CFAU Sports and External Exchange Research Center, indicated that sports would further promote the vigorous development of Sino-African relations in all sectors. Diplomacy has a close relationship with sports, such as the famous “Ping Pong Diplomacy” that promoted the establishment of China-U.S. diplomatic relations. As a result, sports is an integral component and concrete symbol of peace. Bridging the gap between Chinese and African cultures, sports can truly unite Chinese and African perspectives.
Although Shahe’s weather was breezy and chilly, the weather could not cool down the passion of a friendly soccer game between the CFAU team and the African diplomatic delegation at Shahe campus. Amb. Pascal Gasunzu of Burundi and Amb. Daniel Owassa of Republic of Congo could not hold back their enthusiasm and also entered the field. At dusk, this all-day event ended with a 1:0 victory forthe African diplomat team.
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“Xinhua News Agency is the state press agency of the People’s Republic of China. Xinhua is a ministry- level department subordinate to the State Council. It operates 107 foreign bureaus worldwide, and maintains 31 bureaus in China—one for each province, plus a military bureau. Xinhua is the sole channel for the distribution of important news related to the Communist Party and Chinese central government.” (Wikipedia)
1. Ping-pong diplomacy refers to the exchange of table tennis (ping-pong) players between the United States and People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the early 1970s. The event marked a thaw in U.S.-China relations that paved the way to a visit to Beijing by President Richard Nixon.” (Wikipedia)↩