“Every trip to China is a pleasant experience. The rapid development of China surprises me a lot. As a witness, I would like to share China’s miracle with other people,” 81-year-old Brazilian lawyer Danillo Santos expressed his China complex with a kind of irrepressible excitement.
Santos’ China complex dates back to 1964. In that April, just a few days after the coup which toppled former President Joao Goulart and installed a military regime in Brazil, nine Chinese citizens legally residing in the country were arrested, accused of being foreign spies.
The nine men were held incommunicado for 39 days until a local lawyer, Heraclito Fontoura Sobral Pinto, decided to take up their case pro bono.
Santos, who was 30 years old at that time, also participated in the case directly, as he was appointed by the Chinese government to be the assistant of Pinto as well as an important witness.
With the help of Pinto and Santos, all the nine men were released after several months of imprisonment and were repatriated back to China, where they were welcomed like heroes.
Though this case has been already forgotten in Brazil, what Pinto and Santos did is still appreciated in China.
After that, Santos’s link with China has become closer and closer. Eventually he became a promoter of the bilateral ties between Brazil and China as well as a witness of the dramatic changes China has undergone through in all these years.
In 1966, Santos was invited to China and met with the nine Chinese he had helped. It was his first visit to China.
“You know, I met Chairman Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou Enlai in China. General Chen Yi also had a four-hour talk with us!” he said.
“But what touched me most was that Chinese people led a self-improvement life even though they were not so rich at that time,” Santos added.
From then on, Santos traveled to China frequently. He has become an active advocator of bilateral trade and economic cooperation between the two countries, as well as a devoted promotor of the Brazil-China friendly exchanges.
When the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1974, Santos was appointed by Chinese government again to deal with the legal issues in building the Chinese embassy in Brazil.
In November 2003, in order to recognize Santos’ contribution, Cheng Siwei, former vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and head of the China and Latin America Friendship Association, awarded the “Latin American Friendship Medal” to him.
Talking about his trips to China, Santos said that “last year I went to China three times.”
In January he and his wife went to Beijing for sight-seeing, and in April he was invited to China to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Brazil and China Friendship Association.
In November, he visited China to attend an awarding ceremony held by the China Central Television.
Witnessing China’s incredible changes since the beginning of opening up and reform, Santos said China deserves world-wide compliment.
“Nowadays Chinese people always dressed beautifully and are very proud of their country. Chinese government attaches great importance to education. Hospitals in China are able to compete with the ones in Europe and the United States,” Santos added.
Santos said that Brazil and China have cooperation under the framework of the BRICS mechanism. However, more efforts should be carried out to tap into the potential for cooperation between the two developing countries.
On Dec. 18, 2014, Brazilian government eventually made an official announcement to withdraw the deportation order for the nine men, admitting that they had not done any wrong-doings.
After receiving the announcement, Santos cried. As an old friend of Chinese people, he is willing to see that Brazilian people choose to face the true history and promote better mutual trust between the two countries.
“Now I’m old. But in Brazil there are more and more people like me to actively promote the friendship between the two countries. But I will always be ready to continuously make my contribution,” said the 81-year-old Santos. Enditem