By Guo Meng
Ong Hongleang from Agence Kampuchea Presse under the Ministry of Information of Cambodia wrote in a November article that China and Cambodia have maintained close people-to-people and cultural exchanges through cooperation, highlighting work in the field of information as exemplified by a Memorandum of Understanding between Guangxi Radio and Television (GRT) and Cambodian organizations on radio and television co-production. Currently, two Cambodian employees are working on dubbing at GRT.
Led by ASEAN Secretariat Officer Dwiky Chandra Wibowo, 16 mainstream journalists from eight ASEAN member states, namely Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, came to Beijing in October for a “journey of discovery.”
Seeing Is Believing
When Muhammad Yusuf Ghazali, an executive producer from Televisi Republik Indonesia, arrived at Beijing Capital International Airport, he expressed excitement about the opening of Beijing Daxing International Airport even though he didn’t use the new facility. The Capital Airport is also massive and well resourced.
On the bus from the airport to their hotel in downtown Beijing, ASEAN reporters curiously scanned the scenery through the window.
On October 14, the ASEAN media delegation visited Huawei Technology and Xiaomi Tech Village. At a Huawei exhibition hall, reporters learned about the company’s development, technologies and products in addition to acquiring first-hand experience with virtual reality and haptic interaction devices.
Yasmin Ahmad Zukiman, a journalist with Malaysian National News Agency, remarked on the quality of Chinese electronics, raving about the camera on Huawei’s phones. She owns both an iPhone and a Huawei and reported that she prefers the latter’s picture-taking ability.
Mohamed Zamzuri Bin Mohamed Zawawi, an editor from the Department of Broadcasting Malaysia, noted that the price-performance ratio of Huawei’s mobile phone is high and it has won the second largest market share in Malaysia.
Xiaomi Tech Village presents an exhibition hall featuring Xiaomi’s smart home. There, an employee used voice commands to make household appliances perform various functions.
In reference to Chinese products, Sompasong Sayavong, chief editor of World News Department of KPL Lao News Agency, conjured a proverb: “Seeing is believing; hearing is unreliable.” Since she was young, her parents have reminded her not to give too much weight to hearsay but to determine facts with her own eyes. From her perspective, Chinese products o.er not only high quality, but also affordable prices, which is why they are so competitive in overseas markets. When it comes to the quality of Chinese products, she only heeds reviews from those who use Chinese products regularly because they’re the people who know.
An Open China
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The delegation also visited a large-scale exhibition of China’s achievements over the past seven decades.
Muhammad Yusuf Ghazali took a long time at a model of the “Fuxing” (Rejuvenation) high-speed train. He noted that the Jakarta-Bandung High-speed Railway, the first high-speed railway in Indonesia, began construction in 2018. When he was a child, it took five or six hours to travel between the two places. The railway, with construction led by China, will cut travel time to 40 minutes. “This time I came to China with curiosity, and I witnessed China’s remarkable progress in 5G communications, economics and other fields.
“This exhibition is amazing,” gasped Allan Mediante, editor-in-chief of Mindanao Daily from the Philippines. “After 70 years of development, Chinese people have achieved a lot through solidarity.”
Some older women were practicing spoken English at Maizidian international community service center in Chaoyang District in eastern Beijing. When the ASEAN reporters arrived, they greeted the visitors enthusiastically with a “Welcome to China.” When they learned that the delegation was made up of people from ASEAN countries, the women were excited to share their travel experiences in Southeast Asian countries.
The delegation visited a community painting class where many foreign residents were studying Chinese brush painting.
At the community’s activity center, the reporters witnessed a rehearsal of a modern dance troupe consisting of older performers. The average age of the dancers was 57 years old. The reporters appreciated their precise formations and professional skills. The “auntie” modern dance troupe is the only in the country featuring middle-aged and elderly members. Their positive attitude and hard work impressed the ASEAN reporters.
“In Maizidian community, I saw foreign and Chinese residents live in harmony like old friends,” noted Muhammad Yusef Ghazali. “It made me feel that China is a big country with open and inclusive spirits. Over the past few days, I saw the lives of Chinese people, their hospitality and their energy with my own eyes. I am now convinced that “openness” is the best word to describe today’s China. Before I came, I thought China was a closed country, but now I know I was wrong, and that China is very open and inclusive.”
En route from a tangerine plantation base to downtown Nanning, capital of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Mohamed Zamzuri Bin Mohamed Zawawi declared, “China and Malaysia have a lot in common such as agricultural products. I have learned that China can carry out data management and intelligent control over the planting process for agricultural products. Malaysia uses radar monitoring to keep abreast of the production process and control the quality of fruits. Tangerines are Malaysia’s largest import from China and widely available throughout the country. I have followed China’s economic development and realize that it is developing rapidly, especially over the last 10 years. The living standards of Chinese people have improved very fast. The things I saw during this trip also impressed me.”
The ASEAN reporters were acutely concerned about water resources cooperation and construction of water conservancy projects. During a meeting with the Ministry of Water Resources and Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Center, Allan Mediante commented that he gained a more profound understanding of how the Lancang-Mekong water resources cooperation involves six countries that share a river. The Philippines has a variety of water-related issues, from water supply to fisheries management. The country has encountered great difficulties in building water conservancy projects. Locals don’t trust the quality of local tap water and only drink bottled water. China’s successful experience on water conservancy projects would likely be valuable to Philippine authorities. He is looking forward to the cooperation on water conservancy projects between China and the Philippines.
“China has helped Cambodia build many dams, buildings and roads,” commented Ong Hongleang. “Currently, China is working on the first expressway in Cambodia.” He shared pictures he took at water conservancy facilities in Cambodia. “These were built with the help of China.”