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China inspires S. Africans' anti-apartheid fight: Mandela


   JOHANNESBURG, June 28 (Xinhuanet) -- South Africa's veteran freedom fighter Nelson Mandela said here Monday that the Chinese people's fight for national independence decades ago had inspired South Africans and now the two countries should further improve bilateral ties.

   Mandela said during his meeting with visiting Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong that former Chinese leaders such as Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and Zhu De, as well as the Chinese people had given great support to the South Africans' fights for independence and against apartheid rule.

   The South African people would never forget that victory of the revolution in China, marked by the founding of the People's Republic of China in October 1949, had imposed important influence on struggles of the South Africans, he said.

   Mandela pushed the establishment of diplomatic relations with China in January 1998, about one and a half year before he retired as the first black president in South Africa's history.

   He said the South African people cherish good relations with China and hope bilateral ties will be further improved.

   Zeng, who is on a four-day visit to South Africa, extended warm greetings to Mandela, who turns 86 next month, on behalf of the Chinese President Hu Jintao and former president Jiang Zemin.

   Zeng said the Chinese people admired Mandela for his leading role in the long and arduous struggle for freedom and equality for the South African people.

   The friendship forged by the old-generation leaders would be further enhanced by the Chinese and South African governments and the peoples in the new century, he said. Enditem

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