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Ambassador Ding tells Botswana a real China

 

On 31st March 2008, H.E.Ding Xiaowen, Chinese Ambassador to Botswana exclusively interviewed by Jerry Kai-Lewis, correspondent of "MMegi". Their talks were as follows:

JKL: When were diplomatic relations between Botswana and the People's Republic of China established?

Ambassador Ding Xiaowen: It was established in 1975. That's nine years after Botswana gained its independence.

JKL: Since then how much has China invested in Botswana?

ADX: When we talk about economic cooperation sometimes it's difficult to distinguish between trade and investment and talk about doing a small business and a big investment. But as far as I know there are a lot of small Chinese investments in this country. They set up shops here to provide automobile parts, construction materials, equipment and trucks. They've built a couple of huge textile industries here like Caratex and TouchRoad Textiles. And also now there are quite a few warehouses to store equipment and goods coming in and going out of Botswana. But these days we are talking about the big projects now, which is different from the traditional investments like the textile and warehouse industries. Now we talk about the cement plant which is to be built in the first half of this year in Mahalapye near the power station. This will be a $3 million investment. Also we talk about a glass plant which is much bigger. It will be a joint venture between BDC and China's private companies to build a very modern glass producing line. So far as I know, if that can be materialised this year, it would start production in two years. That will meet between one fourth to one third of the market demand in Africa. There will be a third one in South Africa. The one in Botswana will be the fourth. We're also talking about a potential five-star hotel here in Botswana. The investors are coming next month (April). And we're also talking about other investments in mining exploration. You know that when we talk about investment it's different from trade. Investment brings together management, technology, human resources, and of course that which is more important, job opportunities.

JKL: When talking about trade between Botswana and China is it good for both sides? How has trade benefited both sides?

ADX: Currently bilateral trade between Botswana and China is very small to China, but very big to Botswana. Last year, trade volume was $115.8 million. And Botswana's export to China was $26 million. Of course, China enjoys a huge surplus. But Botswana's export to China last year saw a 220% increase over the previous year, while China's export to Botswana was only 92%. So the trade is imbalanced, of course, in China's favour. But the increase speed for Botswana is much higher than that to Botswana. So that's good change. I hope that Botswana's export will increase even quicker and faster to where one day there will be a trade balance. China's import is mostly diamonds, indirectly in some ways, and some mining products. But so far as I know, most of these come indirectly to China. So that volume could not be very high. China's exports to Botswana are mainly in daily used products or commodities: clothing, textiles and some equipment; as there are some Chinese construction companies here and they import equipment from China. But generally speaking the trade is still not as good as I would have expected. That's why I've been working very hard to promote Botswana's exports to China. Among them is cashmere. There are lots of goats here. Cashmere is a small part of goat's wool found on the goat's skin. Also we are looking at Botswana's beef. We've also discussed donkey meat. I hope that I will take this opportunity for Mmegi newspaper to convey this message to Batswana that at least two Chinese companies are very, very interested to buy donkey meat from Botswana. But there is a small problem. Donkeys wander all around this country. Even if the two companies would build an abattoir or slaughter house, they cannot have all of those donkeys to come together because they are far from each other, even if you have two abattoirs here. It's not like the BMC abattoirs where people just drive their trucks and take their cattle and drive a hundred miles to an abattoir. I wonder in which way we can have this abattoir built. Or just use the original ones here? How can we get the attention of the people? In the initial period maybe it would be just the sale of donkeys. But in the future, when people can make profits, they will farm donkeys because this is a way to get rich. Also about the cashmere, we don't have these people who can collect the cashmere because for one goat there is only a small part of skin where you can find cashmere. But still it is something very expensive. Maybe if you could find a hundred people to go to different villages and collect the cashmere and send them to headquarters of the company which processes the cashmere. And also I'm interested in the reeds from Maun, in the northern part of this country. Somebody called Maun the place of reeds. Reed is a very good material for making paper. But in what way can we collect the reed for processing? And I'm also interested in exporting some handcrafts from here like the baskets. But you know that I am not a businessman, I am an ambassador. So I only help set up a bridge between the consumers and the producers, try to narrow the gap and to help them come together. You know that in the beginning it will be difficult, but as time goes by, when they have more contacts, and more business, that will be a good situation. Like the beef trade between Botswana and the EU. In the beginning it was very difficult because the government had to invest a lot of money. Ostrich meat is also welcome, not only in Europe, but also in China. I personally urge the business leaders to think hard to try and find ways to make my ideas something profitable. Let these businessmen come together so they can do something, not just talk about something, but do something. You know, I have sold my ideas to many businessmen here, but not yet any positive response. They say, "Oh yes, it's a good idea." Well, you have to do something.

JKL: To the best of your knowledge, how many Chinese citizens and businesses are there in Botswana, and how much employment do they create for Batswana? Also there is rumour that Chinese companies here only hire Zimbabweans and Chinese expats. What do you have to say to that?

ADX: To tell you the truth, I have done my homework for this question, and I will give you some figures that I think will help my Batswana friends concerning this issue. Currently, there are about 1,000 Chinese working here. Generally speaking, one family is about three members, so that's about 5,000 Chinese. But in the family, only one does the work. The wife does the housework while the kids go to school. There are 18,000 to 20,000 Batswana working for Chinese companies and shops. Well, what does that mean? It means that one Chinese working here brings more than 10 job opportunities for Batswana. I'll give you just a rough idea. The Chinese construction companies here, there are about 700 Chinese here: engineers, managers, experts and a small number of those professionals who do the construction work. They employ 5,270 local people permanently. And there is an extra 5,000 who are temporary because when you build a house, you need a lot of labour to do the work in the beginning. For Caratex, the binggest textile exporting company in the country that people here know, there are at least 5,000 local employees. There is another company called TouchRoad. They produce curtains, blankets, tablecloths for this country and export to neighbouring countries. They employ 200 people permanently and for the small shop owners, they also have one, two or three shop assistants who work for them. So the general idea is very clear, which not many people here know, that one Chinese will bring about 10 job opportunities for local people. When we talk about such involvement between Chinese and Batswana, I'd like to say that I fully understand the complaints of the local people, even some MPs. I have talked to about 10 MPs who have some worries or complaints about Chinese nationals here. After talking to them, they all agree that even though there is room for improvement, the basic situation is good. We should look at the Chinese here in perspective, not just isolated cases. In every nation, there may be a small a group of people, having something not pleasant. But only a small number of them, not the whole. You cannot generalise an individual to give you the whole picture of Chinese here.

JKL: Over the years, there have been a lot of accusations from Batswana that a lot of the Chinese managers and bosses are racist and abusive. Also the Chinese community in Botswana is said to be very secretive. What are your comments to these statements?

ADX: Well, I've heard similar comments. First, I'd like to talk about the secretive part because similar situations happen in Western countries and China's neighbouring Asian countries. Most of the Chinese who come here don't speak English. The Chinese nation is a nation that is very humble and very polite. They are not as open-minded or active as people in many other countries. So when they cannot speak [English] they cannot communicate with the local people. Hence, they make friends among other Chinese nationals. It's not that they don't want to mingle with local people. It's because they cannot communicate. But the managers, the engineers, for the young generation of professionals, they speak English. They mingle with local people. But for those who came here 5 or 10 years ago, many of them do not speak English; they can only speak very little English. A local friend complained to me, "Ding, whether at court or doing business, I find that the Chinese don't speak English. Why don't they speak English? Why do they refuse to speak English?" I said, "No, they do not refuse to speak English. They do not know how to speak English." When I went to Francistown to help organize a charity function, the program director, who was regarded as the best English speaker, could not make it clear what he wanted to say. He put me in a very awkward position. That's why I have to explain to my friends here that like among Batswana in small villages where they don't speak English, in China they speak Chinese. I think that we need the understanding of the local people here. The Chinese are not secretive. When we talk about racism that is not true. Chinese, like the African, like Batswana, suffered a lot under colonialism. China was bullied by Western colonies for almost 100 years. China was a semi-colonial, semi-feudal country from 1840 until the new China was founded in 1949. So China as a country was bullied by Western colonies. As a people, they suffered a lot in the past. How could such a nation, such a people, become racist to bully other people? If you travel around Africa, you'd find out that the Chinese are not racist. And about abuses, I know that some people say that some shop owners are not easy to work with. Sometimes they give orders. Sometimes people say bad words and curse at them. I've followed up on these criticisms and comments and it is true that there are some cases like these. But as I mentioned earlier, this is not a general trend. This is not something that happens everywhere.

JKL: What is the embassy doing to foster cultural understanding and ties between Chinese citizens and businesses and Batswana?

ADX: The Chinese Chamber of Commerce sponsors a Chinese course to help the Chinese speak English. Not only the young kids, but the people in their 40s or their 50s. It also helps to have a better understanding of cultures and traditions here. There is a newspaper in Chinese called Botswana China News. In that newspaper, we try and talk about culture and traditions of Botswana, about the politics, to help the Chinese citizens understand what's happening here. This is a way to narrow the gap between the Chinese and Batswana. As an embassy we do help out a lot and are committed to building a bridge between the Chinese and the local people. Maybe you have heard that we have supported quite a lot of traditional projects here: for the kgotla, for the shelter, to the charity work. I have called on the Chinese shop owners at Oriental Plaza to work together to donate to the SOS. They raised over P170 000 of toys, clothes, blankets, generators and mobile phones for the workers at the village. By doing these kinds of things we urge the Chinese here to not only mingle with but try to do something for the community and to help the local people to understand them. That's a good way to communicate with each other.

JKL: China has long been accused of not respecting copyright and intellectual property laws. It has even been dubbed the bootleg capital of the world. Locally, performing artists have also complained about the bootlegging of their music. What are the PRC and the embassy here in Botswana doing to make sure that its citizens here and in China respect copyright and intellectual property laws?

ADX: The protection of intellectual property rights is the obligation and the responsibility of all the governments. China is no exception. In China, the Chinese government made it a law to protect the intellectual and property rights of not only Chinese products but also foreign products. But as you know, piracy is not something only Chinese. It also happens all over the world. Chinese copyrights are violated in many Western countries. It's something we should work together to prevent from growing even worse. We have to protect hard earned intellectual property and knowledge, to guarantee the future investments and to protect the interest of these people who have done so much. When we come back to Botswana, I've been to the markets to see the CDs, DVDs and the VCDs there. Yes, there are pirates and I talked with sellers. As you mentioned, a local musician's product was found pirated in shops in Botswana. Those who sell these products should be held responsible; should be warned or even punished. But on the other hand I found that these products are not coming from China as some have claimed. They are processed in Botswana or in South Africa. These people who make the pirated copies should be punished even more because they are the source of the violation. So, the governments of Botswana, South Africa, the institutions concerned and the Chinese embassy here must work together to find the source of the pirated products to protect the interest of the musicians here, to protect the interests of the people involved in films, VCDs, and DVDs.

JKL: The PRC has long been taken to task on its human rights record. The recent crackdown in Tibet has once again seen a lot of people complain about China's human rights record, especially in light of the upcoming Olympic Games. Now a lot of people are calling for China to pull out of Tibet. Will that ever happen?

ADX: I've been to more than 100 countries. I lived in the United States for 3 years and have travelled around the world. I don't know what human rights really mean in the eyes of the Western media. When I walk on the streets in China anytime, day or night, I have no worries. But in the States, I do not dare. I was even robbed in Washington DC, in the diplomatic area at about 6 pm. I don't know if human rights includes the safety and the security of an individual. And when people talk about human rights, I mean some Western people, they always make China a target. Well, everyday we watch TV; we watch what's happening around the world. Is China one of those countries that human rights is the biggest problem? I think the answer is not that difficult to take. Then, why do they put China on the top of the list of the human rights violators? Why don't they take care of themselves? Solve their own human rights problems and then talk about other countries? Once I went to the human rights seminar in Geneva, we talked about this. When minorities were abused, were hit, were chased in the streets, they don't talk about human rights. When the Chinese in some Western countries were put in custody, without informing the Chinese government, the Chinese embassies there, they don't talk about human rights. When we look around, there are conflicts happening everywhere. In Iraq, how about the human rights there? They don't talk about it. Hundreds and thousands of people died there and they don't talk about human rights. But then every year China is always the target of human rights. It seems as if they are the teachers, they are the judges of human rights. Before I came to this country, there was quite a lot of accusations of human rights violations in Africa. Well, like any part of this world, Africa is not perfect, China is not perfect either. But why don't they talk about who should be responsible for what's happening in Africa, in other parts of the world. In fact, many human rights violations are caused by people who accused. If you look around you will find it out. How about the humanitarian situation in Somalia? Why not much attention is being paid to Somalia? An economist in Europe made it clear and his point needs thinking about for all of us. He said there is no oil in Somalia. This war has been going on for a long time. Why have they not paid attention to that? But when something has connection to China, it becomes a big issue. I don't mean that we should not pay attention to the crisis, to the situation in Sudan or any other places people are talking about. I mean we should talk about everything, not from a selfish viewpoint. We should talk about something for the interest of the people in the country. Let's now go to the violence in Tibet. Let me put it this way, if there had not been the Beijing Olympic Games there would be no such an incident. If there had not been the mastermind scheme from the Dalai clique, from those who don't like to see good things happen in China, there will be no such an incident. If you go to Tibet, you will find that before the incident, people lived a peaceful life there. The Chinese government, the Central Government, put in hundreds of billions of dollars to build and develop Tibet. When I was there ten years ago, I couldn't buy a big variety of goods. But now, everything, anything can be found and people can afford to buy them. The government put a lot of money there to build the temples, improve the living standards of people and the monks have more freedom. But then, I will have to say that not everyone will be satisfied in any country. But some people don't want to see a successful Beijing Olympic Games. So there is a scheme coordinated by the Dalai clique, the Dalai Lama in India. First, the demonstrations in India were very violent. In the beginning, they were peaceful, but got violent. It then spread to Nepal, even to Laos. Then the demonstration in Europe and then some monks and people went to the street in Tibet. They set fire to schools, hospitals, telecommunications facilities, even banks, homes, shops. Hundreds were wounded and they called these people peaceful. Are they peaceful? If you watch TV, you will see that they were not peaceful. They chased people, they hurt people. And now, it has been investigated by the Chinese government and the figure now comes out that 18 people died. And they made news that more than 100 people died. But if you say somebody died, you can try and trace the origin of the family. It's not something that you can hide, right? But more than 100 innocent people and policemen were wounded. It was cruel of some of these violent demonstrators. You know what, when they saw the people in the stores on the second floor, they set fire to the first floor so these people would not escape. They were burned alive. And there was one extreme case where they chased a young man and hit him to the ground. They took a knife and cut a piece of flesh the size of a fist from the body of a policeman. How could they do this kind of thing? It's inhuman. But the Western media called it peaceful demonstration and that the Chinese government sent troops to crack down. That's not true. Even the pictures on the western media can show that what they're saying is not true. And then they made their point clear: to boycott the Beijing Olympics. That's the real objective, the real scheme, to make the Beijing Olympics a failure. But most of the world's leaders have a consensus that the Olympic Games in Beijing is a sports event. Olympic Games are not political games. There is no boycott by any country. Up to now, there are more than 90 heads of states or governments that will attend the opening ceremony. U.S. President George Bush will come. Not only him, but his whole family. I have to say that the western media have tarnished the image of China to some extent, but they have not succeeded in distorting the basic fact there, they cannot change that basic fact. Most of the people will not be misled by them. So I am confident that the Beijing Olympics will be successful, will go as planned and there will be a big delegation from Botswana. Tibet is a sovereign part of China. Well, in fact, when there not many European and American countries, Tibet has been a part of China since 1260. That's more than 700 years ago. When people talk about China pulling out from Tibet, it's like saying the U.S. should pull out of Alaska, from Hawaii.

JKL: Still in the region, Taiwan has just elected a new leadership which calls for no reconciliation with and no independence from the mainland, but closer economic ties. The PRC has long maintained that Taiwan is a part of China and considered the island as a breakaway province. Taiwan has rejected all your overtures of autonomous rule, like the ones in Hong Kong and Macau, from the mainland. How do you plan on achieving making Taiwan a part of China without the use of force?

ADX: You are partly right. In fact, before Li Teng-hui, the leader of Taiwan before Chen Shui-bien, the people on Taiwan and the mainland all claimed that there is but one China and Taiwan is a part of China. They differed in who represents China. Then something started to happen 15 years ago when some people in Taiwan started talking about two Chinas and Taiwan's independence. Before that, there was no talk of Taiwan's independence. Now there will be a new local leader in Taiwan, Mr. Ma. In the past there has been discussions, consultations and exchange of views on how to realize a complete reunification of China. People from the mainland and Taiwan disagree on many things, but there's one consensus in 1992, which says people from both Taiwan and the mainland agreed that there is only one China. That's a consensus reached in 1992. But the current Taiwan leader, Chen Shuibian, refuses to acknowledge that and says that there is no such consensus. But for Ma, the new leader of Taiwan, he said that he acknowledged such a consensus reached in 1992. That means that there is but one China. After the new leader takes office, I believe there will be discussions and consultations, even negotiations to find a way to achieve the final reunification of China in a peaceful way. War means disaster, not only for Taiwan, but also for the mainland. Who would like to resort to the way of war? So I am sure that people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait will work their hardest to find a peaceful solution. The late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, who initiated China's reforms in 1978, said that anything and everything could be discussed, but there is only one China. We can talk about anything, but one China. When people talked about Hong Kong before she came back to China, they talked about chaos. Look at what had happened to Hongkong. We had a smooth transfer. For Macau, the former Portuguese colony for more than 300 years, people said there would be no solution. Now people in Hong Kong and Macau enjoy higher autonomy and manage their own affairs in different systems from the mainland. So I am optimistic that if people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait work together and put the interest of the whole Chinese nation in their hearts, they can find a solution without war.

JKL: As your influence grows around the world, so should your responsibilities to the concerns of the international community. The PRC has a policy of non-interference in the sovereignty of other nations. But in light of the political climate in countries like Sudan, Chad and the like, do you think that non-interference is still the way forward?

ADX: Non-interference is not only the basic principle of Chinese foreign policy, it is also something enshrined in the UN Charter. Non-interference is not something out of date. It's still a basic principle that all the countries should cherish. Let's just imagine, if anybody can just interfere in the affairs of another country, what would happen in this world? This world is already filled with too many troubles, too many wars, too many conflicts. We should not make the situation even worse. Well, if there is something wrong in a country or in a region, there is the UN, there is the Security Council. The UN and the Security Council is the only international body that all countries agreed on. So if there is something wrong in a country, the Security Council can do something. If we allow for the interference in the internal affairs of other nations to spread around the world, what will happen between neighbours and between regions? You know the Pandora's Box will be opened. Do you still remember the pre-emptive policy by a big power concerning terrorist attacks? Many countries followed. They all say that they can attack another country, or invade another country, for preventing terrorist attacks. It's a very huge problem. I think that non-interference is still the best principle that all countries should respect and should exercise in their foreign policy. If something inhumane or something undemocratic happens in a specific country, let the UN, the UN Assembly, the Security Council do the right thing.

JKL: Why did China waited so long to use its economic influence in Sudan to help stop the war in Darfur?

ADX: What's happening in Darfur is a big concern to the world community. All the countries with a heart of sympathy, with a heart of love, don't want to see the situation continue. I think that the world community should work together to help the Sudanese government, the Sudanese people to solve that issue in a compromising way. China believes that between friends, persuasion works better than confrontation or imposing your own ideas. In fact, China and Sudan have been friends for many, many years, far earlier than the Darfur issue erupted. China has good relations with almost all countries in the African community except 4, which have diplomatic relations with Taiwan. So first, whether or not there is a Darfur issue, China and Sudan are good friends for many, many years. Second, when something happens that concerns China, some countries would have special interests. China believes that persuasion will work. It is something that China has been doing in the past and we think that it's workable, instead of imposing sanctions, and just criticising. The Darfur issue is a very complicated one. The opposition parties, the rebel groups, the government, even foreign countries are involved with no single way to solve them. But sometimes, some countries put the blame only on the Sudanese government. It's not fair. I don't want to say that the Sudanese government is perfect or is right. I mean, you should exert influence on all sides to urge them to work together to find a reconcilable solution. In the meantime, humanitarian aid should be provided. In the past years, China has provided a lot of humanitarian assistance to the Darfur region. The reason why China is on the spot on the issue is mainly because there are a couple of Chinese oil companies there. Well, they just talk about China, but there are some other foreign oil companies there, which they don't talk about it. And China imports more oil from Angola, from other countries. I was asked in Beijing that if there had been no Chinese involvement in the oil industry, what would happen? So it's not fair that they put the blame on China. When I talk of persuasion, in the past few years, the situation has improved. The Chinese president was there, the special representative went there several times to persuade our friends there. Originally, the Sudanese government insisted that only the AU peacekeeping force be allowed. But now a hybrid peacekeeping force is there. This is an improvement. I think that we should take advantage of this change to find a lasting solution to help the Sudanese people, not only in Darfur, but the whole country to enjoy peace.

JKL: As China grows in economic might, the gap between the rich and the poor is becoming a problem for the Communist Party. There have been calls for other information of China's labour laws and some has been made, to which plant owners have objected, and some have shut down their businesses in protest. What is the Communist Party doing to make sure that the labour laws favour the poor and help in bridging the gap between them and the rich?

ADX: The labour law is not easy to come out, because in every country we should protect the interest of the labour, and we should encourage the labour to get full pay to their knowledge or their profession. It's always the situation that the labour at the low levels of any country are often victims of ill treatment and inequality. I think that the labour law is necessary and came out in time to protect the interest of the low-income people. On the other side, we have to say that when you try to protect the fundamental interest of the labour, you have to see it in perspective. For example, if there is a small business which will bring job opportunities. If the labour law makes the businessman believe he cannot make money, then there will be not such business and those people cannot have jobs. I've been to the hearings in the U.S. Congress where they were talking about the same issue. They have to protect the balance between the labourer and the employer and try to protect the fundamental interest of the labourer while taking into consideration the balance between them. This is to ensure that the employer can make some money when he decides to do the business. And also in China, We say that we should protect the fundamental interest of labour, but not to laziness. If we cannot make the business continue, how can we provide you with a lasting job? So there should be a balance. In China, before the labour laws were taken, we had cared more about the employer, the businessman. But now this trend should be reversed. More attention should be paid to the labour. And maybe some years later, we would find a good balance between them to make it sustainable. But when we talk about the gap between the poor and the rich, it's not only something connected to the labour law, but also the system and the mechanism in China. When Deng Xiaoping introduced the reform at that time, China was an egalitarian country. People were all poor. We didn't work hard, because if you worked hard, I would share in your riches. There was no incentive for one to work hard. Deng's policy was in three stages. Allow a small group of people to be rich first. The second was to help the poor to get rich. Try to take advantage of the taxes and other incentive to help those people with less income or poor and provide them with job opportunities or welfare so that they can have a better life. And the final objective is that we will go to a common prosperity. We all get rich. The gap between the rich and the poor, between people living in the rural and urban areas is very big. The government should pay more attention to it. But for the poor, their standard of living is much better than it was 10 years ago.

JKL: In adopting western capitalist economic principles, which do not favour the poor, is China losing touch with its communist ideals of the past?

ADX: I don't think so. After the reform was introduced in 1978, China has been taking a lot of serious measures to improve the economy. To improve the living standard of the people. And also the market economy was introduced about 10 years ago. But when we take a new measure, it does not necessarily mean that it's something capitalist. If I take a bus in socialist China and you take a bus in capitalist Canada, it does not change the fact that it's still a bus. A capitalist and a socialist can both take that transport facility. China is still a country we call a socialist country with Chinese characteristics. Socialism is a grand idea, but when it is practised in a specific country, you have to take into consideration the concrete conditions there. In China, we still go along the road called socialism. We take a lot of new measures that people in both capitalist and socialist nations use. And we think that that is workable to produce prosperity. It brings about efficiency. For China, we cannot allow the people living in the rural and urban areas to go on like that forever. It's time now to help the poor in the rural area to develop even quicker. Every year the Chinese government provide about $150 billion subsides to the farmers. We call it direct assistance. We have also produced a welfare system in the rural areas that was only enjoyed by the poor in the urban areas. The Chinese government is doing everything to help people from becoming homeless or destitute.

JKL: As an industrial giant, China is one of the world's chief polluters. We can now see concrete evidence of the effects of global warming as weather patterns are changing. What are your objections to the Kyoto Protocol, and will China ever sign on to it?

ADX: Yes, people still talk about Kyoto Protocol. But people talk more about Bali Roadmap. Well, when we talk about climate change, there is a lot China would like to say. First, we know that current pollution has been mainly caused by the industrialised countries, not by China, not by Botswana. This is a basic fact. They have polluted the world for more than a hundred years and we are suffering now. When they have developed their countries, other developing countries, China included, have to develop as well. We have to raise the living standards of our own people. It is true that we are polluting. China is one of the biggest polluters in the world, but how big is China in size and population? When you talk about Japan, when you talk about Germany, people don't talk about their sizes. They don't talk about the population. China is a country with a population of 1.3 billion people. That comparison is not reasonable. Western media always say that the States is number one polluter, China number two. Then maybe China might become the number one next year. But China has four times more population than the U.S. It's bigger in size than the U.S. Is that comparison reasonable? And also I have to say that people call China the world's factory. China exports a lot to the whole world. Not just to say yes China is polluting, but China produces so many things for other countries. China is a big country. China takes a major responsibility with many big countries, big polluters to work together to reduce the carbon dioxide emission. China shares the responsibility. China can not go away from that. China realizes that it shoulders the responsibility to work harder to reduce the emission and to improve its energy efficiency. That's the common responsibility of every country, China, Botswana, U.K., France. All of us should work together. So our principle is very simple, developed countries and developing countries should on common but different responsibilities. Can you ask Botswana to reduce emission when it still has a long way to go to develop? You are not a industrialised country. China has put a lot of money into wind energy, hydroelectricity. China is also emphasising energy efficiency. In the past year, the energy consumption has come down. Our GDP has gone up, but energy consumption has gone down. That is good and encouraging news. The Chinese government has spent a lot of money in the treatment of polluted water. They have built big, modernised, high tech power stations and have closed down many small power stations because they are major polluters. So we are playing our part. Blaming China is not fair. The Kyoto Protocol is something that many nations around the world will have to work together to achieve. There are set targets for the reduction of carbon dioxide emission. But in that protocol, not enough attention has been paid on how to help the developing countries to improve their energy efficiency or cut emission. You cannot just set the targets and then we all reduce. Yes, your emission is already very high, you can reduce. For us, we are very low, how can we reduce as much as do?

 

 

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