THE Guizhou Art Troupe recently dazzled patrons at ‘Manthabiseng Convention Centre during the recent celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the founding of People’s Republic of China.
The occasion also coincided with the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Lesotho.
Among the guests were Deputy Prime minister, Monyane Moleleki, Minister of Trade and Industry Habofanoe Lehana, Senate President Mamonaheng Mokitimi, Speaker of the National Assembly Sephiri Motanyane and his deputy Teboho Lehloenya.
The Guizhou Art Troupe was the fourth Chinese art ensemble to visit Lesotho in as many years for celebrations of this nature, starting with the marking of Lesotho’s independence golden jubilee in 2016. The group displayed amazing acrobatics and also performed folk songs from their region.
Chinese Ambassador to Lesotho, Lei Kezhong, described the art troupes’ visits as a gesture aimed at “promoting cultural and people to people exchanges”.
“These are the basis of our friendship and cooperation. As a Chinese saying goes, ‘the friendship of two countries depends on the amity between their people’,” Ambassador Kezhong said.
China gained independence in October 1949, assuming the name People’s Republic of China. This ended the civil war between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Nationalist Party, which had broken out after the World War II.
Ambassador Kezhong said his country’s socialism has entered a new era.
“China will continue to march forward with confidence and through hard work, to materialise the new development concept featuring innovation, coordination, greenness, openness and shared benefits as well as to realise the Chinese dream of great national rejuvenation. China’s success is attributed to the firm leadership of the CPC and the unity of the Chinese people.
“China is embracing the world wholeheartedly with the policy of opening up. This is through the hosting of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, China International Import Expo, the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). China is actively engaging with all partners of the world including Africa to seek joint development and to forge a bright future though win-win cooperation.
“As president Xi Jinping has pointed out, China will not close its door, on the contrary, it will open wider to the outside world,” Ambassador Kezhong said.
In 1994, China resumed its diplomatic relations with Lesotho and since then, the two countries have enjoyed development benefits. These include the posting of 13 Chinese medical doctors to Lesotho annually since 1996, Confucius Classroom at Machabeng College, food aid and the construction of various buildings and roads.
“Both sides shall continue to maintain the exchange of high level of visits and close contacts at different levels, so as to continue to strengthen our mutual understanding and political trust.
“Secondly, both sides shall dovetail the eight initiatives of the FOCAC Beijing Summit and the Belt and Road Initiative with the National Strategic Development Programme (NSDP) of Lesotho to ensure continuous pragmatic cooperation.
“Looking ahead, we have enough confidence in the future of China-Lesotho relations. Meanwhile, we should also explore new areas and new ways of cooperation to maintain vitality of our relations. As the Sesotho saying goes, ‘Kopano ke matla (unity is power)’, in China we also have a saying, ‘Unity makes strength’,” Mr Kezhong said.
For his part, Mr Lehana, who acted on behalf of his Foreign Affairs counterpart Lesego Makgothi, said Lesotho had a devoted development partner in China.
“The Chinese cultural troupe’s performance exposes us to the rich history of the Chinese people. Over the years, our bilateral cooperation has grown, deepened and matured to cover new areas that include capacity building, infrastructure development, food security, health, defence, tourism, culture and diplomacy.
“We are grateful to inform you that significant strides have been made towards implementing projects that are under the framework of FOCAC.
“In China, Lesotho found not only a friend but a devoted partner in development. China and Africa have continuously been cooperating in different areas such as diplomacy, peace, security and trade. As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of this great country and its people, we hope that China will continue to walk the path with Africa in realising the African Union Agenda 2063 which advocates for the total industrialisation of the African continent
“China has become an increasingly important driving force for the global economic agenda. We as Lesotho pledge our full commitment to further consolidate our relations with China in the years to come,” Mr Lehana said.