Who are the "neo-colonialists" in Africa?

In recent years, China and African countries have been making great efforts to establish a new strategic partnership with political equality and mutual trust, economic cooperation and cultural exchange. Both sides have made unprecedented achievements through mutually beneficial cooperation. However, some Western media have attempted to discredit Sino-African relations by propagating their African version of the "China threat theory".

Among other things, they preach that China is trying to impose a kind of neo-colonialism on Africa and that they are plundering Africa's resources. This is an attempt to drive a wedge between China and African countries and to destroy the Sino-Africa Cooperation. These statements lack historical basis and don't reflect the reality. Its deep-seated purpose is to obstruct Chinese enterprises from accessing the African market and safeguard the interests of Western countries in Africa.

It is well know that Western colonial powers committed numerous crimes including slavery in their exploitation of Africa. At a conference in Berlin in 1885, European powers secretly divided up Africa between them and rewrote the map of Africa by setting up about 50 colonies and protectorates. In addition to trade and military control, European powers also gradually molded African countries into their material suppliers and product-dumping markets. This too can be used as a measure of exploitation. It resulted in single and abnormal economic structures in many countries, thereby having a long-term impact on the sustainable economic development of these nations.

European colonial powers also introduced new languages and new clans to Africa, which created ethnic conflicts, incited religious dissent and provoked religious conflict, thereby undermining the traditional African social and economic order. As a result, African countries have been in a poor and backward state since they were granted independence. Even today, those industries which are of utmost importance to African countries' economic lifeline ĘC such as heavy industry, mining and manufacturing ĘC are manipulated by Western multinational corporations. From 1840 China suffered under colonial aggression, and thus has many common grievances with African countries. China and Africa have never come into conflict. Instead, they have a tradition of friendship and cooperation.

Facts speak louder than words. It was the Western powers that brutally colonized and frenziedly plundered African resources.

Since the 9/11 attacks, Western countries have adjusted their policies toward Africa. However, they started to attach greater importance to African countries because of the significance of its resources. The proportion of African oil imported by the United States has risen to 16 percent and is expected to hit 25 percent by 2015. Nigeria is Africa's largest oil producer and the world's sixth largest oil exporter. However 95 percent of its daily oil output is under the control of Western oil companies.

In order to maximize profits in Niger Delta oil-producing areas, major Western oil companies reduced spending on infrastructure construction. Frequent pipeline ruptures have led to the spontaneous combustion of oil spill fire. Large areas of farmland and forest have been burned to ashes. Thick smoke has generated heavy pollution in the air, soil and rivers. Surrounding residents cannot even drink clean water. Long-term exploitation by Western companies has led to recurrent violence in the area. Since the second half of last year, the unstable situation in this region has become the major reason for the rise in international crude oil prices. The predatory exploitation of African resources by Western transnational corporations is a blatant example of the so-called "economic colonialism" of Africa, which Western media have been accusing China of so enthusiastically.

In the 50 years since China and African nations established diplomatic relations, they have been pursuing a plan for peaceful development, consistently stressing the democratization of international relations and developing friendly relations based on the principles of respect for sovereignty, equality and mutual benefit.

China has always provided assistance to Africa without attaching any political strings or special requirements. It has also respected the sovereignty of African nations. This has won wide acclaim from African countries and peoples. Today, the major reason that China and African countries have been able to become all-weather friends, sincere partners, and close friends, is that they all understand the pain of colonialism and the importance of fighting against it. History has shown that China's policy on Africa differs markedly from that of Western colonialists, past or present. Commenting on the hearsay being spread by Western media, visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said this: "No one can claim China is practicing neo-colonialism in Africa."

By People's Daily Online

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