Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Yang Youming says China has been playing an important role in human capacity building by providing a number of training opportunities to Zambian citizens in the last three years.

And Ambassador Youming says China has become the prime destination for overseas students of its wide diversity in cultural and technological facilities.

Speaking to journalists at the Chinese Embassy when he received 11 Zambian students who have been in China for a one year music and dance studies, Ambassador Youming boasted that his country had taken second position of largest students sponsor from the United States of America (USA).

“In recent years, the Chinese government has provided about 800 government scholarships to Zambian students every year, with the number of students accepted under various Chinese scholarship programmes amounting to about 150 in 2017. The Chinese side has also been playing an increased role in human capacity building of Zambia and has provided a large number of training opportunities every year. During the past three years, over 1,500 Zambians including government officials, technical staff, scholars, businessmen and journalists have received training from China,” Ambassador Youming said.

“China has become the prime destination for students from the world over to study because of its wide diversity in culture and technology, we have taken over the second position from America and now it’s only France which is ahead of us and I am hoping that very soon we will be the largest sponsor of students from overseas studying in our country.”

Youming disclosed that the 11 students had been admitted to Nanjing University of Arts with the help of Chinese and Zambian First Ladies Prof Peng Liyuan and Esther Lungu respectively.

“I am pleased to welcome the 11 Zambians students who were studying singing and dancing in China with the help of the Chinese First Lady Prof Peng Liyuan. Prof Liyuan is a renowned Chinese contemporary folk singer and performing artiste, who became the first person ever to obtain a Master degree in traditional folk music in China. Out of her love and care to the Zambian young art, Zambia’s First Lady, Mrs Esther Lungu who had gone to China at the invitation of the Chinese President, His Excellency Mr Xi Jinping to attend the annual conference of Boao Forum for Asia, requested her Chinese Counterpart to give some Zambian young talents opportunities to be trained in China. And before long, Prof Peng wrote back with a positive reply and as a result, these students were given an opportunity to go to China to study music,” he said.

“All the efforts made by the two First ladies reflect high importance attached by the leaders of both countries in the promotion of cultural and people-to-people exchanges and corporation. In recent years, the corporation in the field of education between China and Zambia has borne rich fruits and China has become the top destination for Zambian students to study overseas.”

Youming expressed confidence that the upcoming 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) would map out the new development strategy for the great rejuvenation of China and strengthen that country’s relationship with Zambia.

“In the coming October, the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) will be held in Beijing and we firmly believe that it will be a great success as it will also map out the new development strategy and inject more momentum for the great rejuvenation of that country. Next month will also mark the 53rd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Zambia. I am sure that as we enter the new era, with our joint efforts, there will be brighter and broader prospects for the traditional friendly corporation in all areas between China and Zambia,” said Youming.

And student representative Reuben Sakala thanked the Chinese government adding that China had made headway in infrastructure development thereby positioning itself as a world leader.

“We initially went to China for non academic programmes but because the University was very impressed with our performance, they offered us scholarships to do a master’s degree in music. I am proud to tell you that the Chinese government has done a lot for us and these people are actually not what they seem to be, they are very friendly people and they helped us so much in learning the language until we finally started feeling comfortable being around them. It was so impressive to see how China has made headways in terms of infrastructure development. You could clearly see the transition from the old China to the current one from the pictures in museums and believe me, development is not a myth it can happen even here in Zambia,” said Sakala.