China mourns passing of Mandela


China on Friday mourns the passing of Nelson Mandela and praised the former South African president as "an old friend of the Chinese people."

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a written press release that Mandela made historical contributions to the establishment and development of China-South Africa relations.

"We express deep condolences over the passing of Mr. Mandela and convey sincere sympathy to the South African government and people and to Mr. Mandela's family," Hong said.

As a famous leader of the anti-apartheid movement, Mandela is revered as "founding father" in South Africa and an outstanding statesman in the world, winning worldwide respect and love, he said.