Li Jinjun: NGOs do what governments can’t

Updated: 2011-08-31 10:36

By Feng Xin (

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Li Jinjun: NGOs do what governments can’t

Li Jinjun, the executive vice-president of the China NGO Network for International Exchanges (CNIE) meets a number of Chinese media in Nairobi, Kenya Aug 30 during the First China-Africa People’s Forum. The forum is co-hosted by CNIE and Kenya Non-Governmental Organizations Coordination Board (Board), and is the first non-governmental exchange between China and Africa ever held in Africa.

China Daily Website reporter Feng Xin: “We know the First China-Africa People’s Forum is going to pass the Nairobi Declaration during its closing ceremony. Can you tell us what it will be about?

Li Jinjun: “China and Africa have established a formal, governmental system of dialogue and exchange, which is the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation (FOCAC) where Chinese and African governments host a round table conference every year in turn. However, we haven’t had a similar system between non-government organizations, so we hope the First China-Africa People’s Forum will lay a foundation for such a system in the future. The Nairobi Declaration will outline the guiding principles of people-to-people exchange between China and Africa and propose the establishment of a regular forum for such exchanges.

Reporter: What different effects do you think non-government exchanges will achieve than that of governments?

Li: Government exchanges are often more serious and formal. There are a lot of courtesy and manners involved, so sometimes it is not easy to talk extremely frankly. Non-government exchanges, on the other hand, are less formal, just like our opening ceremony – we had Chinese and African dancers performing for us – we opened the forum to the beat of music. We also had entrepreneur meetings and an HIV/AIDS training workshop alongside the forum. In other words, non-government communications can really take place in a variety of forms, and people are able to have more straightforward and sincere talks with each other.