December 30th, 2021

Mr. Kaunda's affection for China

(From Mr. Kaunda, the former President of Zambia and the Father of African Independence, is an old friend of the Chinese people and has always held sincere feelings for China. Unfortunately, he passed away in Lusaka on June 17, 2021. Recently, Xiao Wunan recalled past events with him, from which we can feel Mr. Kaunda's affection for China.

President Kaunda (third from the right) takes a group photo with Xiao Wunan (third from the left), Executive Vice Chairman of Asia Pacific Exchange & Cooperation Foundation (hereinafter referred to as APECF)

In 2011, political changes took place in Zambia. Michael Sata, the leader of the opposition Patriotic Front, was elected president. Duo to some misunderstandings and specific reasons, the relationship between Zambia and China suddenly became tense. On November 15, entrusted by relevant departments, Xiao Wunan and his party travel through Dubai and Johannesburg to visit Mr. Kaunda in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, hoping that he would come forward to improve the situation of bilateral relations. After landing, the delegation first visited Bishop Pastor Chiluba and the wife of the new President. All parties reached a high consensus on how to continue to maintain China-Zambia friendship. Then they went to the presidential palace and met with President Michael Sata. The new president was a subordinate of Mr. Kaunda before, at the same time, based on many factors, he quickly expressed his willingness to improve relations with China and continue to welcome Chinese investment. He immediately arranged a luncheon and personally attended and delivered a speech a few days later to make positive comments and affirmation on China-Zambia relations and China’s investment in Zambia.

In the evening of that day, also under the arrangement of Mr. Kaunda, Xiao Wunan and his party held a meeting with Ms. Inonge Wina, Zambian Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs and a representative of ruling party Patriotic Front. After frank communication, Ms. Inonge Wina, on behalf of the ruling party, expressed her willingness to immediately establish inter-party relations with the Communist Party of China and invited relevant personnel of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee to visit Zambia. In the evening, President Michael Sata called Mr. Kaunda again and entrusted him as the special envoy of the president to visit China to mediate. The next day, Mr. Kaunda flew to Beijing by special plane, and then Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping personally greeted him at the airport.

Xiao Wunan (first from right), Executive Vice Chairman of APECF, participated in the religious activity presided over by Bishop Pastor Chiluba (second from right)

As a result, within 48 hours, with the efforts of Mr. Kaunda and people from all parties, China-Zambia bilateral relations had been fundamentally improved.

Mr. Kaunda is the founder of APECF and has given the long-term attention and support to the development of APECF. On his birthday on April 8, 2021, Xiao Wunan, Executive Vice Chairman of APECF, also recorded a video to express his congratulations. At the same time, he also made an appointment to visit Mr. Kaunda after the Covid-19 pandemic. After hearing the news of Mr. Kaunda’s passing, the APECF sent a representative to Lusaka to attend relevant condolence activities and state funerals.

Dr. Edwerd Yu (left), Representative of APECF and Sunday, an assistant of Mr. Kaunda, attend the state funeral

On June 22, the Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message of condolence to Zambian President Edgar Lungu on the death of former Zambian President Kaunda, and pointed out that Mr. Kaunda was an internationally renowned leader, politician and social activist of the African Independence Movement and the founder of China-Zambia relations. During his lifetime, he actively promoted China-Zambia friendly cooperation in various fields and built profound friendship with Chinese leaders. The Chinese people will always remember his outstanding contributions to the development of China-Zambia relations.