The Chinese-African People's Friendship Association (CAPFA) will nominate 10 Africans Who Have Deeply Moved Chinese People next month, in a moved aimed at cementing civilian diplomacy between the two sides.
The 10 candidates are expected to be unveiled at the next Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FCAC) late next year.
"CAPFA's recognition will benefit both peoples by enhancing mutual understanding and trust," Chen Haosu, president of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, said.
The awards will go to Africans "who have made great contributions to bilateral ties", Wang Tong, a representative of the CAPFA, said, adding that the association is identifying criteria of eligible candidates.
The first round of nominations will involve all 131 councilors of the CAPFA, Liu Hongmin, also from the association, said.
"Our councilors include big Chinese entrepreneurs such as Huawei Technologies and ZTE, among others," he said. "They are the most suitable to put forward nominees because of their significant investments in Africa."
Liu said the 10 winners will be just one part of the second China-Africa Friendship Award. The other part will be the 10 Chinese Who Have Deeply Moved the African People. This will be the second time such awards have been given
The first 10 winners - which included doctors, journalists, scholars and politicians - were announced in Beijing during the FCAC in November 2006.
"These awards reflect sincere friendship and intense people-to-people communication, though China and Africa are distant from each other," Dai Yan, a former councilor in Ghana, said.
"But both peoples still have a long way to go to truly understand each other because of cultural differences," he said. More African people have traveled to China as bilateral ties have developed over the past years.
The number of Africans coming to Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, has increased by 30 percent every year since 2003. Most of these newcomers are traders.
The city now has about 20,000 African residents, Huang Shiding, of the Guangzhou Academy of Social Sciences, estimated.
Beyond the world of business, "500-600 African students are studying in universities and colleges in Beijing," Wang said.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, a growing number of Chinese people have settled down in Africa.
In one reflection of the impact they are making, people in Nigeria crowned tribal chieftains from China in 2001 and 2007.
(China Daily February 12, 2008)