Building bridge of friendship between Chinese, Moroccans: president of Morocco-China Friendship Exchange Association

By Zhou Zhou, Source: People’s Daily

Mohamed Khalil is a renowned traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) doctor in Morocco who runs a clinic in downtown Casablanca, Morocco. His clinic is ornamented with a number of Chinese cultural elements, such as Chinese hand fans, Beijing Opera masks, as well as bamboo and rattan chairs.

Khalil has another title which is more known to the locals, the president of Morocco-China Friendship Exchange Association. “Everybody calls me a ‘Moroccan doctor from China,’” he told People’s Daily.

Khalil was among the 10 friendly personages receiving the Award for Outstanding Contribution to China-Arab Friendship, which was presented by Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to Egypt in January. Khalil said being received by President Xi in Cairo was an honor of his life.

This experience was from six years ago, but Khalil still recalls it vividly. “President Xi was very amiable and easygoing. I told him it was my greatest honor and thanked him for giving me this unforgettable award in Chinese. He was glad and encouraged me to keep serving as an envoy for Morocco-China friendship,” Khalil remembered.

Khalil’s bond with China was established at the end of 1970s, after China started sending medical teams to Morocco in 1975.

“Back then, TCM and acupuncture brought relief to many Moroccans suffering from chronicle diseases, which made me very interested in TCM,” Khalil told People’s Daily.

In 1978, he went to China for study. He learned Chinese at Beijing Language Institute, or what’s known today as Beijing Language and Culture University, and learned TCM at Beijing Medical College, which is currently known as Peking University Health Science Center. In Beijing, he graduated with a degree of doctor of medicine.

“When I first arrived in China, the country has just started its reform and opening up drive, and there was vitality everywhere. In the following 10 years, drastic changes happened throughout the country. I saw the energy of an ancient civilization in its transition,” Khalil noted.

After returning to his motherland, Khalil became a TCM doctor. He always introduced China to his fellow countrymen to promote Moroccan’s understanding of China and the Chinese people.

He told People’s Daily that he has been receiving more patients after getting the Award for Outstanding Contribution to China-Arab Friendship, which makes him busier, but happier, too.

“I always remember what President Xi told me. I’m acting as an envoy for Morocco-China friendship and building a bridge between the two peoples by spreading traditional Chinese culture, including TCM,” he said.

“The Moroccans are interested in the outstanding traditional Chinese culture, and also impressed by the modern development miracle of China,” Khalil said.

Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, the Moroccan would make a couple of annual visits to China. “Since China started reform and opening up, I have witnessed the largest and fastest urbanization in the world.. Skyscrapers are soaring and people’s standard of living continuously rising. The achievements are remarkable. China’s path to national rejuvenation is extraordinary,” he noted.

These years, Khalil has been spending a lot of time reading the book Xi Jinping: The Governance of China, through which he has gained a more profound understanding of why China could make such huge changes and become more confident about China’s development prospects.

“It’s unquestionable that President Xi has brilliant political wisdom. Under his leadership, the Chinese people’s aspiration for a better life is gradually turning into reality,” he said.

Khalil believes that by drawing wisdom from its long history, China has achieved peaceful development, which not only makes China a strong and prospering country, but also contributes to the stability and development of the world.

“The major initiatives and concepts proposed by President Xi, such as the Belt and Road Initiative and building a community with a shared future for mankind, have played an important role in encouraging countries to tide over difficulties, share opportunities, and strive for common prosperity. President Xi is really forethoughtful,” Khalil noted.

He added that the Communist Party of China (CPC) has chosen a development path that suits China’s conditions, and has led the Chinese people to live a better life. The CPC has also brought development opportunities to many other countries and is constantly making contributions to the peaceful development of mankind, Khalil said.

He noted that facing the COVID-19 pandemic, China has actively promoted international cooperation to fight against it, sharing experiences, offering material aid and conducting vaccine cooperation with developing countries including Morocco.

“China has made important contributions to safeguarding the lives and health of people around the world,” Khalil said.