South Africa’s University of Johannesburg (UJ) on Thursday night conferred the Chinese President Xi Jinping with an honorary degree in engineering for his contribution in and outside China.
Xi awarded the honorary degree at a colorful ceremony at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa on Thursday night. This is the first honorary degree to be awarded to Xi outside China. The vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Johannesburg, Tshilidzi Marwala said Xi has an excellent track record in his country as a leader. He said under his rule China managed to take over 800 million out of poverty. He stated that he had read widely about the philosophy of the Chinese leaders and systems of governance and they are some good practices worth emulating.
Prof Marwala said, “We know Xi have a chemical engineering degree and this honor would motivate students here to work hard to modernize the world. China has made advancement in the fourth industrial revolution, its infrastructure is impressive, and their knowledge in artificial intelligence is impressive.”
He stated that they would like to see more exchange of knowledge between UJ and the Chinese Universities and the two countries. Marwala said they admire how Xi continues to grow the Chinese economy. The International Monetary Fund this week said they project China’s GDP to grow by 6.3 percent this year. Last year’s economic growth was 6,6 percent.
The award was collected by the Chinese ambassador to South Africa Lin Songtian on behalf of Xi. He stated that they are humbled by the honor which shows that UJ understands the Chinese President philosophy and admires it. Songtian mentioned that Xi has managed to handle some challenges which faced his country when he assumed office. These according to him include environmental pollution, weakening driving force of economic growth and corruption.
Songtian said, “President Xi maintains a close combination of China’s own development with common development of the world. Domestically, he stays committed to building a better China and externally, he is committed together with the international community to build a better world.”
He mentioned that Xi is committed to fighting corruption regardless of who has committed it. Songtian stated that Xi deserved the award and it shows UJ appreciate Xi’s policies domestic and foreign policies. Amb Songtian said many academics in South Africa always tell him about their admiration of the Chinese leader.
He said, “It shows they have found the answer from China’s success story to the state and global governance model and philosophy. It shows that academia in South Africa understand, appreciate and recognize XI thought on socialism with Chinese characteristic for a new era.”
The Chine President has come under attack from some global human rights defenders for dictatorial tendencies and lack of civil liberties in China. Amnesty International on April 12 last released a report which showed that China has the highest number of executions in the whole world.
Amnesty International said, “China remained the world’s top executioner – but the true extent of the use of the death penalty in China is unknown as this data is classified as a state secret; the global figure of at least 993 excludes the thousands of executions believed to have been carried out in China.”
The rights group mentioned that some human rights defenders are detained for 6 months or two years without being taken to court while others disappear. Some have accused China of dealing with rogue states like Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe’s rule, Sudanese Omar Hassan al-Bashir rule among others.