Chavez was a 'good friend of Chinese people'

Updated: 2013-03-07 10:24

By Cheng Guangjin and Pu Zhendong (China Daily)

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Chavez greeted Liu and his colleagues and with great passion when he visited a product promotion campaign and later at a ceremony held by the company, Liu remembered.

"He had the enthusiasm and vigor that you can see particularly in South Americans. He was good at making speeches and had really close connections with ordinary people," Liu said. What Liu appreciates most is Chavez's promotion of the two countries' economic and trade relations.

"When we ran into problems in loans and products, they could be well resolved with the support of local governments," Liu said.

"When the relationship between two countries is good, both their companies can benefit. The Sino-Venezuelan relationship during Chavez's time was a good example," Liu said.

Chavez was also friendly to Chinese media, said China Daily reporter Qin Jize, who attended a group interview with Chavez in 2006 at Venezuela's embassy in Beijing during his fourth visit to China.

"He shook hands with every reporter and showed us a chart when describing his country," Qin said.

Honorary doctorate

In 2001, the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing awarded Chavez an honorary doctorate in economics, when he was on his second visit to China.

Chavez was familiar with Chinese history and said he was a follower of Chairman Mao Zedong.

Li Jinzhang, China's ambassador to Brazil and former head of the department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs in the Foreign Ministry between 1998 and 2001, said Chavez was fond of talking about Chinese history and citing famous Chinese sayings when meeting Chinese leaders.

He once quoted Mao's famous saying, "All reactionaries are paper tigers", Li said.

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