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China to Send More Volunteers to Africa

China will send at least 100 young volunteers to Africa this year, as part of its commitment to foster ties with countries on the continent.

"We are now in discussion with many African countries," Wang Xuefeng, director of the volunteer department of Central Committee of the Communist Youth League of China (CYLC) told China Daily yesterday.

"Volunteers will serve in many sectors.

"The volunteering spirit has spread among the Chinese people in recent years, especially among young people. They want to help at home and abroad."

Last month, the CYLC sent 10 volunteers to the archipelago nation of the Seychelles, in what was the first Chinese volunteer team to visit the country.

That team included five doctors, two nurses, a Chinese language and two music teachers.

Earlier, 50 volunteers were sent to Ethiopia and 15 to Zimbabwe, while others have been sent to developing countries including Laos, Myanmar and Thailand since 2002. Next month, China will send its first volunteer team to Latin America.

"Ethiopia alone asked us to send volunteers for more than 450 posts last year," Wang said.

"About 50 countries around the world have asked volunteers from China."

Last November, President Hu Jintao at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, said China would send 300 young volunteers to Africa by 2009.

The volunteers provide services such as teaching Chinese, computer skills, agricultural and poultry technologies, sports and music training and traditional Chinese medicine treatment.

Hu Yongjun, one of 50 volunteers who went to Ethiopia last year, worked as an acupuncturist in a local hospital, where he saw about 20 patients a day.

"They love the traditional Chinese medicine and they trust me," the 25-year-old doctor from Hangzhou of Zhejiang Province in East China, said.

"I'm happy to be able to help."

Hu said the experience of living in a foreign country matured him.

"I will not be afraid of difficulty in the future," he said.

Chinese citizens between the age of 20 and 35 with a college diploma and above can apply for a volunteer post overseas.

(China Daily February 15, 2007)

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