Mauritius, known officially as the Republic of Mauritius, is an island nation off the coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean.
Mauritius is 2,040 square km with a population of 1,257,000. A majority of its residents are descendants of immigrants from India, Pakistan, China and Europe, and Creole.
Hinduism is the majority religion in Mauritius, followed by Christianity, Islam and Buddhism. The official language of Mauritius is English. French is also widely used.
Mauritius was first explored by the Portuguese and was subsequently held by the Dutch, French and British before independence was attained on March 12, 1968, and it became a republic on March 12, 1992.
Sugar refining, manufacturing in export processing zones, tourism and financial services are Mauritius' economic pillars. Mauritius exports sugar, clothing, textiles, watches and clocks, jewelry and optical goods.
The country's main agriculture products include sugar, tea, tobacco, vegetables and fruits. Mauritius is not self sufficient in food and needs to import rice, meat and other food products. It also imports textile industry raw materials, machinery, petroleum products, and fertilizers.
China and Mauritius established diplomatic relations on April 15, 1972. The two countries have since witnessed smooth growth of their friendly and cooperative relations, with both sides maintaining constant exchanges of high-level visits.
Economic and trade ties between China and Mauritius have grown rapidly. In the first 10 months of 2008, trade reached 280 million U.S. dollars, a 19.9-percent increase from a year earlier.