Media Focus


Media Focus: People's Daily Praises CMEC's Housing Project in Maldives

Release time:2024-01-12 Article source: Reading times: Text size:【A+AA-
On January 10, People's Daily published an article titled "China and Maldives Achieve Fruitful Results in Pragmatic Cooperation", in which it was particularly mentioned that the civil housing projects in Maldives constructed by the Headquarters of CMEC Group (CMEC) had gained the recognition of local residents.
Shahid, then President of the 76th United Nations General Assembly and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Maldives, praised: "You have contributed to improving the lives of the Maldivian people through the construction of comfortable housing, allowing the Maldives to benefit from the joint implementation of the 'Belt and Road' initiative (BRI). The Maldives housing project serves as a new home for the local community, benefiting the people and will promote the friendship between the two countries."
The original report reads as follows
China and Maldives Achieve Fruitful Results in Pragmatic Cooperation
China and the Maldives have a long history of friendship. In September 2014, President Xi Jinping paid a historic state visit to the Maldives. Both parties agreed to establish a future-oriented comprehensive friendly and cooperative partnership. Over the past 10 years, China-Maldives relations have developed in depth. The two sides have jointly built the "Belt and Road" with high quality. Pragmatic cooperation in various fields has achieved fruitful results, and traditional friendship has continued to deepen.
“It’s very convenient to live here”
Driving from Male, the capital city, and passing the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge, the first cross-sea bridge in the Maldives, we arrived at Hulhumale, the second largest island in the area. Walking along the wide street, rows of brightly colored buildings came into view. Looking from afar, a dozen buildings with white walls and blue roofs stood out against the blue sea in the distance. Another group of buildings with pink walls and red roofs is adjacent to it. The two groups of buildings are separated by a lush garden in the middle of the street.
This is one of the civil residential projects in the Maldives undertaken by China National Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC). Hulhumale is about 8 kilometers from Male. More than 10 years ago, water resources here were scarce and transportation was inconvenient. In response to the pressure of climate change and population growth, a housing development company was established in the country in 2001 to be responsible for the construction of Hulhumale Island. In 2009, CMEC signed a memorandum of understanding with the Maldives to build approximately 4,000 dwelling units in three phases. As of June 2022, all the residential buildings had been handed over to the Maldives, helping more than 10,000 local residents improve their living conditions.
"It feels so good to live here!" said local resident Rashid. "We used to rent a home and a family of three squeezed into a small room of 30 only square meters. Now we have our own home with an area of ​​75 square meters. This place is really very comfortable!”
Sarah's family has six people, and she highly appreciates the surrounding supporting facilities: "There are a lot of green spaces around, so we can fully enjoy our leisure time. Shops and hospitals are not far away, so living here is very convenient."
"You have contributed to improving the lives of the Maldivian people by building comfortable housing, allowing the Maldives to benefit from the joint construction of the 'Belt and Road'. As a new home for the local community, this housing project will benefit the people and will promote the friendship between the Maldives and China," said Shahid, then President of the 76th United Nations General Assembly and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Maldives in his special video speech at the handover ceremony of the third phase of the housing project held in June 2022.
With the completion of housing projects undertaken by Chinese companies, Hulhumale's streets are now wider and greener, with a modern commercial atmosphere. At night, Hulhumale is lit up by thousands of lights, and this new city is full of vitality.
"Local people receive first-class medical services"
Almas, 36, is now a busy ophthalmologist at the China-Maldives Ophthalmic Center in Hulhumale Hospital. Not long ago, she completed a three-month training program at the Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center of Sun Yat-sen University in China. Before she could return to the Maldives from Guangdong, patients had already started queuing up for appointments.
In the operating room with a complete set of equipment donated by China, Almas is skillfully performing phacoemulsification surgery on a patient—she has mastered this advanced cataract treatment method.
"Although I didn't stay in China for a long time, I felt the friendliness and enthusiasm of the Chinese people. The doctors and nurses at Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center helped me a lot and I benefited a lot," she said. The Maldivian people have always been grateful to the Chinese doctors who provided medical assistance. "I hope Chinese doctors will come to the Maldives again to treat diseases for the people here," she added.
In 2020, with the support of China's National Health Commission and Guangdong Provincial Health Commission, Professor Chen Weirong of Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center led a team of medical experts to the Maldives, bringing a full set of ophthalmic diagnosis and treatment equipment along with them. At Hulhumale Hospital, they established the first overseas modern and standardized ophthalmic center assisted by China.
Since its opening, the China-Maldives Ophthalmic Center has provided various diagnosis and treatment services to local patients with eye diseases, helped hundreds of them regain their sight, and trained local medical workers online and offline, one of whom is Almas. Before joining the China-Maldives Ophthalmic Center in December 2022, Almas worked at the ophthalmic department of another hospital in Male City. "The ophthalmic center allows the public to receive first-class diagnosis and treatment services. Here, my career has taken a new leap," she said.
“We warmly welcome Chinese tourists”
Local tour guide Yapo opened a B&B on Hulhumale Island. The three-story building has a dozen rooms and receives tourists from all over the world. He is particularly enthusiastic when meeting Chinese tourists. He shakes hands with them, pats their shoulders, adds them on WeChat, and introduces in detail his hotel, sea trips, diving and other activities. "We warmly welcome Chinese tourists!" Yapo told reporters.
According to statistics from the Maldives Ministry of Tourism, the country received a total of approximately 1.87 million foreign tourists in 2023, about 187,000 or 10% of them being Chinese tourists, ranking among the top three. The Ministry of Tourism of the Maldives predicts that the number of foreign tourists will reach 2 million in 2024, and the number of Chinese tourists is expected to return to the top of the list.
Tourism is the economic pillar of the country. The Maldivian government and tourism-related practitioners attach great importance to the Chinese market. Mohammed Shafeeu, spokesman of the President's Office of Maldives, recently stated that the Maldivian government has decided to add two new aircraft funded by the Ministry of Finance to increase direct flights to major tourist destinations, and "China routes have been prioritized."
As people-to-people and cultural exchanges between the two countries become increasingly in-depth, the "China fever" in the Maldives continues to heat up. In September 2022, the Chinese Language Center jointly organized by China Chang'an University, Hunan Mass Media Vocational and Technical College and Maldives Vila College was unveiled. This is the first Chinese language center established in the Maldives and has become an important achievement of cultural and educational cooperation between China and Maldives. Now, the tourism Chinese training courses held by the Chinese Center of Vera College are very popular, and many Maldivian tourism practitioners are signing up actively.
"In 2023, we will jointly press the 'fast forward button' for the development of China-Maldives relations," said Wang Lixin, Chinese Ambassador to the Maldives. The two countries have resumed direct flights and tourism cooperation has accelerated steadily; the China-Maldives Mutual Visa Exemption Agreement has officially come into effect, further facilitating people-to-people exchanges between the two countries; the "Chinese Ambassador Scholarship" has been established in Maldives universities to promote exchanges and cooperation between young people from the two countries; officials of the Maldivian government and representatives of Maldivian political parties, media and localities and other friendly people from all walks of life have visited China one after another, enhancing the friendship between the two countries. "Looking to the future, we are willing to work with the Maldivian government and friends from all walks of life to continue traditional friendship, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, and jointly write a new chapter of China-Maldives comprehensive partnership for the future."