Interview: “A Big Country Like China Needs Strong, Visionary Leadership”

His Excellency Martin Mpana, Cameroon’s Ambassador to China, analyses the re-election of Xi Jinping as General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and prospects for continuous fruitful bilateral cooperation ties between Cameroon and China during President Xi’s second term.



Chinese President, Xi Jinping was on October 25, 2017 re-elected General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China to serve a second five-year term. What impact will his second term have on relations with Cameroon and Africa in general?

It was a great moment in China’s political life. I was in China in 2012 when the 18th CPC national congress held and ushered in Xi Jinping to replace Hu Jintao as President. The 19th CPC national congress was well organized. Some 2,280 delegates with voting rights who were elected at grassroots met in Beijing and elected a new CPC Central Committee.

They examined the party’s activities in the past five years and came out with a roadmap for China in the 21st Century. The congress went well because we did not notice any problems. The country was peaceful and discussions went on peacefully as well. The preparatory meetings arrived at a general consensus on the direction in which China should go. This is very important because a big country like China with almost 1.4 billion people needs strong and visionary leadership.

What lessons can the world draw from what has just happened in China?

The first is to recognize that China has a roadmap, plan and vision. Speeches after speeches, and reports after reports showed that China has short, middle and long-term plans. They have already designed what China will look like in the middle of the 21st Century. The congress came at a very important moment in the life of China. Next year, the country will celebrate 40 years of reform and opening up.

The 70th anniversary of the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China will be celebrated in 2019. President Xi Jinping has committed to eradicate poverty in 2020 and transform China into a society of moderate prosperity. In 2021, China will mark the centenary of the creation of the Communist Party of China, CPC. All these events will shape the new image of China and certainly draw the world’s attention.

What kind of leadership is President Xi Jinping taking into his second term of office?

We noticed throughout the past five years that President Xi Jinping enjoyed the full support of his people. His fight against corruption was one of the key actions supported by the people. Chinese people know where they are coming from and where they are going to.

On the other hand, China strives for better internal and international governance. The One Belt, One Road Initiative is a good programme for the 21st Century world. This is a great initiative that connects Europe, Asia and Africa – three major continents with a joint population of about 5 billion people. This is huge! This initiative is opening up new opportunities for countries and regions in development as China strives to attain moderate prosperity. This is a very important goal.

The new Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee is almost entirely new. What is your take on this development?

Many other lessons can be drawn from China’s experience like having a healthy political environment. The congress was held on schedule like they always do – after every five years. New members were elected into the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. Out of the 7 members in the 18th Standing Committee of the Political Bureau, only President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang remained.

The five others – Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji and Han Zheng – were members of the Political Bureau of the 18th CPC congress. They have now been promoted to the Politburo Standing Committee, meaning that there have been great changes.  This is quite remarkable! In this way, people will not think that those who are elected are there for themselves.

President Paul Biya was amongst world leaders who congratulated the CPC on successfully holding its 19th national congress and President Xi Jinping for being re-elected as General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee …

President Xi Jinping acknowledged the messages of congratulations from world leaders, including President Paul Biya. China is Cameroon’s good friend and that of Africa in general. We are happy that President Xi Jinping will be on seat for five more years to pursue the strong cooperation ties with Cameroon.

I was not surprised that President Paul Biya took time to write a friendly and congratulatory message to President Xi Jinping on his re-election as General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Part. We look forward to strengthen the bonds of friendship and cooperation between Cameroon and China. As a continent, we are committed within the framework of China-Africa Cooperation Forum, FOCAC, to work together with China for the prosperity and development of Africa. I don’t think there will be any policy shift by China.

What should Cameroon do to derive more benefits from its cooperation ties with China?

I think we can learn much from the experience of China in terms of management, economic development and many other fields. I am glad the CPDM party collaborates with the Communist Party of China. We should take full advantage of all the opportunities China offers in order to benefit more profitably.

China has gained increasing clout in global affairs over the years. In what direction do you expect to see President Xi Jinping go in the next five years?

We count on China to put pressure for there to be some level of governance in the global system. The hegemony of a few countries sometimes works against the interests of the majority. Instigating wars instead of development is not the issue. China stands for peace and development; this is very important.

This is why China insists on building a community of common destiny. We must keep this in mind in the coming years as China unrolls its development programmes. We are reassured that all is well. We wish the new Chinese leadership all the best. We expect that early next year, the new government will be in place to implement the policies adopted.

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