Chinese Ambassador Lu Youqing has called on Chinese nationals working, living and studying in Tanzania to make tangible and positive contributions to the country’s development.
The envy urged the Chinese community in the country to ensure it promotes economic development and forge win-win cooperation in various fields.
Ambassador Youqing said this yesterday at the Chinese Memorial Ceremony traditionally known as ‘qingming’ observed to honour Chinese experts who lost their lives during the construction of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway (Tazara) line between 1970 and 1975.
The Memorial was held at the Chinese experts’ cemetery located at Dar es Salaam’s Gongo la Mboto suburb.
“Each of you is an ambassador who can carry friendship, promote understanding, deepen trust and close distance. In the eyes of Tanzanian friends, you represent China and the Chinese people,” he said.
The envoy stressed, “Every single drop of water contributes to a river. I hope your words and deeds will enhance the friendship and good feelings between the two peoples”.
He said China and Tanzania friendship takes roots, grows, blooms and bear fruits. Speaking on the Chinese Tomb Sweeping Day or ‘Qn’, the envoy said the Day is used by Chinese to worship ancestors and commemorate martyrs under a popular phrase translating, “to miss the deceased and console the loyal souls on a foreign land.”
“We are gathering here at the cemetery for Chinese experts in Tanzania and holding this memorial service today (yesterday) to express our respect, grief and condolence to the martyrs who have made great contributions to promote China-Tanzania friendship, sino-Africa friendship as well as economic and social development of Tanzania,” the envoy added.
About 40 years ago, more than 50,000 Chinese brothers and sisters came and worked with Tanzanian and Zambian friends in building the Tazara line, and during the construction process, some of them died and they were buried far away from their homes.
The envoy said 69 Chinese experts as well as technical and engineering staff were buried at the cemetery, including 51, who participated in the Tazara project and 18 in other development projects.
For his part, Transport minister Omar Nundu said construction of the railway line was a major challenge especially the Mlimba-Makambako section which was characterised by complicated topography.
“The construction of Tazara line was a very difficult undertaking, hard work and dedication from our Chinese friends made it possible, it was built in the shortest time possible,” he said.
Nundu said during the construction, 89 million cubic meters of earth and rock were moved and 320 bridges, 22 tunnels and 2,225 culverts were built. He said 38,000 Tanzanians and Zambian workers also participated in the project.
“Their cooperation, hard work and dedication gave birth to the Tazara, regarded as the pinnacle and evidence of excellent tripartite relations in modern history,” he noted.