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Meet Zhao Zhiyuan, China’s Unusual Incoming Ambassador to Ethiopia

China’s newly-appointed ambassador to Ethiopia Zhao Zhiyuan will take up his new post in Addis Ababa soon where he will replace Tan Jian who left his post last month in what was described as a regular rotation.

But Zhao comes to the job with a very unusual background by Chinese diplomatic standards, especially for a posting as prominent as Ethiopia which is also home to the African Union. Rather than work his way up through the ranks of the foreign ministry, as is customary, Zhao is the former mayor of a relatively small Chinese city (2 million people is actually quite small by Chinese standards) in northeastern Shandong province. 

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