“Home grown solutions”, a colonised tragic past, eventual liberation, the healing of self inflicted wounds, to a people centred development. You would be forgiven for thinking this an opening to the story of Rwanda, under the Rwanda Patriotic Front led national unity government. But, you would be wide of the mark.
“I’ll love you, dear, I’ll love you till China and Africa meet and the river jumps over the mountain and the salmon sing in the street”, so wrote the poet W.H. Auden, who died in 1973. Rivers have yet to improve their high jumping technique, and salmon yet to grow legs, but, as for the meeting between Africa and China, were Auden still here, he may well be inspired to revise the poem.
This October 1st, will be seventy years since Mao Zedong, whom the world came to know simply as Chairman Mao, led his “People’s Army” to defeat the nationalist forces, in what had been a bitterly fought civil war, and declare today’s People’s Republic of China.
To mark the day, China is gearing up to what is almost certainly likely to be an anniversary celebration to rival all anniversary celebrations, which will be marked by Chinese people both in China, and the Chinese Diaspora worldwide. The most eye catching part of the celebratory events will be what is arguably the world’s largest military parade, the thoroughly modern successor to Chairman Mao’s peasant People’s Army, over two million strong.
KTRadio’s Rwanda Beyond The Headlines, talked to Wang Jia Xin, Economic and Commercial Counsellor at the Chinese Embassy in Kigali. In a wide ranging discussion that traces the trajectory of China’s development from a colonised, impoverished nation to today’s second largest economy in the world, nudging at America, in first position, we get a glimpse of what drives modern China.
We get some insight in China’s relations with Africa generally, and Rwanda in particular. Is it, as is often suggested all about resources extraction to power China’s hyper economic development?
“We have a lot in common” says Wang Jia Xin of his country’s relations with Rwanda, “the miraculous recovery from the 1994 genocide for instance, similar to own suffering in China”.
China’s subjugation under colonialism is rarely remarked upon, perhaps because it seems to have so completely triumphed over that particular part of its part, while Africa continues to labour under the effects of its own colonisation.
Perhaps consciousness of its own history under colonisation explains China’s steadfast refusal, much criticised by the West, to interfere in the political affairs of African nations.
You can hear the interview with Wang Jia Xin on Sunday evening, 8pm, KTRadio 96.7fm, and on podcast on Ktradio.rw, English Programmes.