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Ethiopian receives surprise response from major VIP

By Wang Qingyun | China Daily | Updated: 2018-08-31 09:11
Hannah Getachew of Ethiopia poses for her graduation photo at Peking University. [CHINA DAILY]

Hannah Getachew, who took part in a forum for young people held earlier this year in China, shared on Thursday her excitement after President Xi Jinping replied to a letter that she had penned to him.

"Today, something big happened. And I mean big. President Xi read my letter - and replied!" Getachew said in an article posted on the website of Black Livity China, an organization in which she is a member.

The Ethiopian was one of 73 participants from 51 countries at the Youth Forum on Creativity and Heritage Along the Silk Road, which was held in May.

"My enthusiasm for the expanding potential in the Africa and China space is what pushed me to write to President Xi. Emboldened by the young people I met at the forum and our shared passion for sustainable development, I put pen to paper," she said.

"Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine he would answer," Getachew said.

In his reply on Tuesday, Xi called for young people to enhance cultural exchanges, actively take part in the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative and support solidarity and cooperation between China and Africa.

Together with other participants at the forum, Getachew shared her thoughts over China-Africa ties in the June missive, according to People's Daily.

Getachew, who took postgraduate courses in transnational law at Peking University, told the paper she is hoping to land a job that involves services associated with the BRI.

Pointing out that there is "great potential" for China-Africa cooperation, she said joint construction of the Belt and Road is a good demonstration of the efforts by China and Africa to set up common goals and work for win-win results.

Put forward by Xi in 2013, the BRI has become an important platform on which countries, including those in Africa, share and explore opportunities for growth. Through cooperation with China, the continent has seen a number of infrastructure projects that have helped boost its integration.

Among these projects is a railway linking Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa and Djibouti.

Rebutting some accusations that China is practicing "neocolonialism" through its aid to Africa, Getachew said, "I would never agree that China is a colonist."

When doing business with each other, Chinese and Africans negotiate equally and are ready to take their own responsibility, she said, adding that both sides cherish their trade partnership and pursue win-win cooperation.

Getachew, who expressed her love for the natural beauty of China as well as the country's convenient online services for shopping and ordering meals, said she is very interested in learning more about China's successful experience during its 40 years of reform and opening-up.

"China is special, and not all countries can copy its path, of course. But there are a lot of things that we can learn from each other," she said.

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