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Sierra Leone News: China in my eyes

On 28 April 2018, 32 journalists and media officials left the shores of Freetown for Beijing, China, for three weeks of media training.
The 32 journalists from both the print and electronic media and included representatives from Awoko Newspaper, Concord Times, SLBC TV in Freetown and Makeni, AYV TV, community radio stations in Kono and Port-Loko Districts, Kallone radio, Citizen radio, Exclusive Newspaper, Daily Mail, Unity and We Yone Newspaper.
Like a “talk show” almost every journalist narrated their expectations and perceptions about China as most were visiting the country for the first time.
The desire to explore the several expectations about China was melted down by the long journey from Ethiopia to Beijing, which seemed endless.
Arriving at Beijing International Airport, the amazing standard of the airport showed us how important it is for Westerners to change our perception of China so we can make more informed decisions particularly when it comes to recognizing our own place in the world relative to others. Beijing has a generally mild climate with pleasant and fair weather and countless modern infrastructures. Beijing and Kuming cities had better infrastructure than any world-class cities most journalists pointed out.
Subways were modern, spacious, and fitted with air-conditioning. Mobile 4G internet worked on underground metro, on high-speed trains, and even on the short, very fast magnetically levitated train in Beijing. Taxis were easy to find and cheap, though most smelled of cigarettes. Convenience stores were everywhere. Google Maps wouldn’t work without VPN, but Apple Maps did a decent enough job.
The staff in restaurants, malls, and train stations sometimes seemed overworked, but they were unfailingly polite and efficient. Prices in stores were clearly marked, and there was no need to haggle.
Beijing city is a major transportation hub, with dozens of railways, roads and motorways passing through the city. It is also the destination of many international flights arriving in China. It is regarded as the political, educational, and cultural centre of China.
With a history of more than 3,000 years, it has been an integral part of China’s history. There is scarcely a major building that doesn’t have at least some national historical significance. Being the capital of China for about 850 years, it is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, offering China’s most wonderful array of attractions.
Admittedly, our experience was limited to what we saw in two of China’s biggest cities but one couldn’t hesitate to say that China has rich culture and history.
As the saying goes, one who fails to reach the Great Wall is not a true hero. Without visiting the Great Wall, no trip to this city or the country is complete. The Great Wall of China is said to be a series of stone and earthen fortifications in northern China, built, rebuilt and maintained between the 5th century BC and the 16th century to protect the northern borders from Xiongnu attacks during various successive dynasties.
“Visiting the Great Wall of China is a pride for every Chinese, this because it is believed that everyone who climbed the wall is a hero,” Austin Thomas, a participant stated.
He added, “There isn’t much difference in the way the Great Wall looks compared to the past years, the only difference is the number of tourists who climb the Wall continues to increase compare to the previous years.
At the heart of this city is the Forbidden City, home to the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties, the largest palace complex of the nation and the world. The Forbidden City also hosts the Palace Museum with imperial collections of Chinese art. The Stone forest, a man-made forest made up artificial maintains, lakes and other arts and crafts are also by any measure, a must-see site in the city that hold so many importance histories about development stages.
“What amazes me most is the way China has preserved all of these culture and history,” said Ibrahim Tarawalie, a participant.
The three-week training programme at the Beijing Research and Training Institute of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television supported by China Ministry of Commerce was an effort to strengthen media cooperation and open a new chapter between the two countries.
Chinese Media development continues to take a new torn in the country as new software applications and ICT advancement unleashes.
In China the media is considered very important to the development of the country. The training ended on the 19 April 2018 and was designed to help participants explore to new skills and knowledge and to come back to practice in a more respectful and dignified way that will make them be respected and trusted in the country. SV/23/5/18
By Sylvia Villa
Thursday May, 24, 2018.

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