Monrovia - Liberians attending at various universities and institutions in Beijing, China have called on African governments to unite and collectively support the China-Africa Cooperation (CAC), which they said is positively shaping the destiny of the continent.
The students, under the banner, Beijing Union of Liberian Students (BULS), said the cooperation as has seen growing activities of China in Africa in recent years including bilateral and non-bilateral scholarships for African students in various parts of China. BULS Coordinator, Benjamin John Blamo, made the call on Saturday, March 26, 2016, following the group monthly meeting held on the Campus of Beijing Normal University (BNU). “The China-Africa Cooperation is a good thing that gives bulk of us the opportunities to be where we are today. We hope that they [African governments] must continue this trend of cooperation,” Blamo maintained. According to Blamo, the initiative is beneficial to Liberia under a wide spectrum, and as he put it, “I think as it stands presently China is the highest donor of scholarships, giving many scholarships to Liberia every year”. He expressed the belief that in few years Liberia stands to have many graduates in rare professions if the cooperation is given the needed support. Blamo then called on Liberians to take advantage of the personal scholarship program at the Civil Service Agency (CSA) for China if they are not fortunate to receive the government bilateral scholarships. “I encourage Liberians to take advantage of the CSA scholarship. If they don’t receive government bilateral scholarship, it is not something to stop you; there are scholarships that people can personally apply for,” the BULS’ Coordinator said. While naming transportation from Liberia to China as a challenge for personal scholarships, Blamo said it requires determination. Commenting on Saturday’s meeting, Blamo described the gathering as fruitful because the long-awaited constitution was adopted and other discussions were held to move the student group forward. The meeting was also used for the pre birthday celebration of one of the group members, as a traditional sign of unity. He encouraged Liberian students in Beijing to take ownership of the group because it is aimed at uniting them for common goals. As a way of keeping members connected and informed on a daily basis, the group has created a ‘Wechat’ social media network. This network is significant because Beijing is very large, coupled with heavy traffic, to the extent that some Liberian students don’t have the chance to attend all meetings. Blamo indicated that the meeting is held on a ration basis: from one’s campus or residence to the other, as was done on Saturday in one of the dormitory rooms occupied by Liberian students. Article 4.1 of the BULS states that membership to the group is automatic upon arrival in Beijing for study purposes. Also at the gathering was the President of Liberian Student Union in China (LSUIC), Mr. Abimelech Paye Gbatu, who challenged his colleagues to take up the courage while undergoing their studies. Gbatu, quoting his records, estimated that, so far, the group is aware of 98 Liberians studying in China, and stressed the need for students who have not been identified to form part of the organization. He also used the occasion to commend China for the level of support it continues to give to Liberia and Africa as a whole, calling on Liberians to see this as an opportunity for them.
Fredrick P. W. Gaye in Beijing / 008618510699710