General News of Saturday, 28 March 2009
Source: Robert Burch
Chinese Expedition to Cross the Sahara Desert
Yunnan Province – People’s Republic of China:
On March 1, 2009, at the Auditorium of the Yunnan Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Kunming, the Chinese Exploration Team of adventurer-explorer Jin Fei Bao and geoscientist Fei Xuan announced their “Expedition to Cross the Sahara Desert”. They will be joined by photographer and journalist Wang Yongji from the New China Agency.
This historic expedition marks the first time a Chinese team will be crossing the Sahara from west to east. The team chose Ghana as a starting point due to the long history of good relations between China and Ghana – and for the political stability and hospitality that Ghana is famous for.
During this historic journey, the Chinese team (led by China’s famed explorer Jin Fei Bao) will document environmental concerns such as desertification and the preservation of habitat for the protection of plant and animal species. They will also serve as goodwill ambassadors for China and hope to increase awareness among Chinese people of the potential that Africa holds for tourism opportunities and investment.
The Ghana portion of the 88-day expedition begins at the shore of the Atlantic Ocean on April 7 in Accra and ends on April 18 when the team enters Burkina Faso. The expedition will cross seven countries in all: Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Algeria, Libya and Egypt, where the journey will end at the Red Sea after a trek of more than 7800 kilometres.
Fei Xuan is a member of the Yunnan Committee of the CPPCC and Deputy Director of the Economic Council for the same committee. He is also the Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Yunnan Association of Geosciences, and economic management expert for Geological Prospecting and Mining. Jin Fei Bao is based in Kunming and is the owner of a travel and adventure tour agency. Also a member of the CPPCC, he is known for his daring exploits, having faced many challenges in some of the harshest places on the planet. He has climbed Mount Everest and the highest mountains on seven continents, and has journeyed to both the North and South Poles on skis. Crossing the Sahara has been his dream and now becomes his next great adventure. In 2008, Jin Fei Bao and Fei Xuan completed China’s first crossing of Greenland, setting the first Chinese footprints on the icecaps of Greenland, and becoming “Heroes of China” and the pride of Yunnan. The expedition is sponsored by the Hongta Group and the People’s Government of Zhaotong City, Yunnan Province, in association with the Yunnan Committee of China Association for Promoting Democracy. The team will utilise various modes of travel, including vehicles, by camel, trekking and river canoes. The expedition marks a new chapter in Chinese history in the Sahara by covering the longest mileage, crossing the most countries, and marking the first time the desert is being traversed from the west to the east by Chinese.
Beginning the trek in the climate and terrain of equatorial Africa will allow the team to observe firsthand the subtle changes in climate and topography as the trek continues north into the Sahel and ultimately into the forbidding landscapes of the great Sahara Desert.
During their time in Ghana, the team will meet with some members of the tourism industry and visit many of Ghana’s historical and natural attractions, including the forts at Cape Coast, Kakum Park, Kumasi, Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary, Kintampo Falls, Mole Park, Sirigu Pottery Village and the Paga Crocodile Pond. The team is particularly excited by this unique opportunity to personally meet so many of Africa’s diverse cultural and ethnic groups as they pursue their quest.