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Speech at the Opening of Exhibition "The TAZARA: A Monument of Friendship for 40 Years" By Chinese Ambassador to Zambia, H.E. Mr. Yang Youming

(From Chinese Embassy in Zambia)

2017/11/06

Your Excellency, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, the First President of the Republic of Zambia,
Hon. Sylvia Chalikosa, Minister in the Office of the Vice-President, representing Her Honourable Inonge Wina, Vice President of the Republic of Zambia, Guest of Honour,
Freedom Fighters,
Honourable Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and other senior government officials,
Your Excellencies Ambassadors and High Commissioners,
Representatives of Chinese companies and Chinese community in Zambia,
Friends from the media,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon!

I am very happy to be here with all the distinguished guests to mark the opening of the Exhibition "The TAZARA: A Monument of Friendship for 40 Years". I believe this is a very special occasion for each and everyone of us today. We are extremely honoured to have His Excellency, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, the First President of the Republic of Zambia and his Freedom Fighters with us. First of all, please allow me, on behalf of all the Chinese nationals here, to extend to them our highest respect and heartfelt gratitude! I also wish to express my sincere welcome to all the distinguished guests for being with us today.

TAZARA is a great railway of friendship. His Excellency, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, has been a special participant and witness of the evolution of this great friendship. His Excellency Dr. Kenneth Kaunda and President Nirere of Tanzania, together with Chairman Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou Enlai, jointly made the historical decision to build TAZARA and sowed the seed of friendship between China and Africa. China, though facing its own economic difficulties at the time, provided about one billion RMB Yuan of interest free loan for the construction of TAZARA, an equivalent of well over 10 billion US Dollars at the present price. TAZARA remains even today China's largest overseas aid project. China sent 56,000 experts, engineers and technicians for the construction of the railway project. They worked shoulder by shoulder with their Zambian and Tanzanian counterparts, overcoming all the hardships, difficulties and risks, and successfully completed the railway. China, Zambia and Tanzania all lost their own outstanding sons and daughters in the construction of the railway and over 60 of them were Chinese nationals. For over 40 years, China has also trained hundreds of technicians and managing staff for both Zambia and Tanzania and provided continuous technical support through the years. TAZARA therefore is a blood-cemented monument of friendship between China-Zambia and China-Africa. TAZARA is forever a Railway of Friendship.

TAZARA is a great railway of freedom. The railway covers 1,860.5km from Kapiri Mposhi to Dar Es Salaam. Upon its completion, it provided the urgently needed and most important link to the port for the newly-born independent Zambia, and made its important contribution for Zambia to break through the blockade of colonialism and apartheid, and to support the national liberation movements in the Southern African region. At the same time, as a backbone railway of the African rail network, as well as a major artery railway for Eastern Africa and connecting Eastern Africa and Mid-Southern Africa, TAZARA has played a key role in the economic development of Zambia, Tanzania and the neighboring countries as well as for the people's exchanges in the region. It greatly boosted the confidence of the African people for their independence and self-reliance. TAZARA therefore is truly the "Great Uhuru (Freedom)" Railway.

TAZARA is also a great railway of hope. Currently the national governments of China, Zambia and Tanzania have reached consensus on the main direction for the revival of TAZARA. It is our belief that through the joint efforts of the three countries, TAZARA, after its revival, will usher in a new era for the railway, and bring new impetus to the industrialization and agricultural modernization of Zambia, Tanzania and other neighboring countries. It will without any doubt become a Railway of Cooperation and Prosperity.

Your Excellency, Hon. Ministers, Ladies and gentlemen,

TAZARA bears the lasting memory of China-Zambia and China-Africa friendship, it also carries our peoples' beautiful expectations for the future. We decided to hold this exhibition to commemorate the 40 years of TAZARA and our initiative received the full support from Lusaka National Museum. We worked hard together for months and now it is finally here for the viewers. I wish to thank the Museum most sincerely for the great amount of efforts it has made in putting together this exhibition. Everybody can see that there are plenty of rare and valuable pictures and the exhibits at the exhibition. Among the exhibits, you will discover the "Embassy Treasures"-- two huge portrait paintings, one of Chairman Mao Zedong, and another of H.E. Dr. Kenneth Kaunda. My special thanks go to China Civil in Zambia, for their all-out assistance for the preparation. And to our surprise during the preparation, the Lusaka workshop of TAZARA was rediscovered. It is now occupied by a Chinese company. They have kept what they inherited from the time of the construction of TAZARA and provided many material objects for this Exhibition. To this we are enormously grateful.

Your Excellency, Hon. Ministers, Ladies and gentlemen,

To commemorate TAZARA is to commemorate the spirit of TAZARA, which is the spirit of China-Africa unity and joint endeavour, which is the spirit of being fearless to any difficulties or risks, which is the spirit of selfless dedication, and which is the spirit of mutually beneficial cooperation. The spirit has been displayed by TAZARA, witnessed by the First Republican President His Excellency Dr. Kenneth Kaunda and his Freedom Fighters, and proved by the ever deepening of China-Zambia and China-Africa comprehensive friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation for over half a century. Just weeks ago on Sept. 30, my colleagues from the Embassy, and representatives from Chinese companies and Chinese community in Zambia and I myself, visited the Leopard Hills Cemetery in Lusaka. We paid our tribute to the Chinese heroes who sacrificed their lives for TAZARA, to remember and salute to their enormous contribution. We promised them in front of their burial sites that we will be guided by the TAZARA spirit, to work hard and earnestly, to make our best creative efforts, to build on the mansion of China-Zambia and China-Africa friendship.

The TAZARA spirit will always encourage us on our journey. A few days ago, the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was successfully concluded in Beijing, with a blue print for China's future and indeed the future of the world. China is committed to the development of a community with a shared future for mankind. In the context of China-Africa relationship, China will continue to abide by the principle of sincerity, honesty, affinity, and good faith, to fully implement the belt-road initiative and the cooperation plans under the framewok of FOCAC, and to further promote China-Zambia and China-Africa relationship into a new era of development. With new contents and new energy being injected into the TAZARA spirit in this new era, we are happy to see that there are huge opportunities for the development of China-Zambia comprehensive cooperation in the future. I do believe that under the guidance of the TAZARA spirit, the China-Zambia, China-Tanzania and China-Africa mutually beneficial cooperation will definitely yield greater achievements in the years to come.

Thank you!

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