|Zambia: Chinese Honour Kk|
CHINESE in Zambia yesterday feted First Republican President Kenneth Kaunda, whom they presented with various gifts in honour of his 90th birthday which falls on April 28.
Chinese ambassador to Zambia Zhou Yuxiao said the people of China are forever indebted for the diplomatic relations that Dr Kaunda initiated between Zambia and China, which marks 50 years this year coinciding with Zambia's Golden Jubilee.
"The Chinese people adore you and have great respect, love and admiration for you for showing support to the Chinese and bilateral relations you personally created for the two countries," Mr Zhou said.
He said besides breaking the shackles of colonialism for the Zambian people and the decolonisation process in Southern Africa, Dr Kaunda also contributed to pressurising the white minority rule in Apartheid South Africa to release Nelson Mandela from prison.
"Dr Kaunda also convinced the African National Congress for the late Mandela to become the first black South African President and later became a world icon," Mr Zhou said.
During the celebrations at the Chinese Embassy, a 30 minute documentary detailing the bilateral relations between the two countries was shown with highlights of the developmental programmes that China has helped Zambia with.
In the construction sector, the Chinese Government is credited for the building of the Tanzania-Zambia Railways during Dr Kaunda's reign and recently the building of the Levy Mwanawasa and Heroes National stadiums, as well as various road projects.
Hundreds of Chinese resident in Zambia attended the luncheon and each presented a birthday card to Dr Kaunda, who in return presented them with symbolic white handkerchiefs.
The climax of the event was the cutting of the 90th birthday cake amid funfare and a cloud of fireworks.
Dr Kaunda said he was humbled by the gesture by the Chinese and that the Far East country had remained an all-weather partner for Zambia and for supporting practical developmental programmes.
He said he was happy that the relationship between the two countries had become more than just Government to Government but spread to peoples of the two countries.
"People from China are coming as individual business persons and are contributing various activities to the growth of Zambia's economy in farming, manufacturing and other sectors.
"The relations are much more than about Government and we need to grow the people to people cooperation. In this we must also try to understand each other and work on improving relationships if things do not go well," he said.
He thanked the Chinese Government for throwing a luncheon in honour of his 90th birthday.
Foreign Affairs permanent secretary George Zulu, who attended the luncheon, also commended Dr Kaunda on behalf of Government for the relations between the two countries.
He said Government would continue to cement the bilateral relations between the two countries.