Chinese firms required to respect local cultures in Africa: FM spokesman

08:52, January 22, 2010      

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China requires its businesses to respect the legitimate rights of local employees and local cultures in Africa, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu Thursday.

Ma's remarks came amid reports that Zambia's main opposition leader, Michael Sata, said Wednesday that Chinese and other Asian mining firms had scant regard for safety and the local culture of Africa's biggest copper producer.

"The Chinese government has always required Chinese firms to obey local laws and regulations, respect customs, get along with local people, fulfill due social responsibilities and guarantee the legitimate rights of local employees," said Ma at a regular news briefing.

"A great majority of Chinese enterprises do business in line with those principles," said Ma.

Ma said many Chinese enterprises had done a lot to improve local people's lives in their investments in Africa and the world at large.

"This is undeniable," said Ma.

China's investment in Africa has increased rapidly with a 77.5 percent year-on-year surge in the first three quarters of 2009, and a 42.3 percent increase in the contracted projects volume in Africa, which has reached 20 billion U.S. dollars.

Sino-African ties were strengthened at the Beijing Summit and the Third Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Beijing in November 2006.

Egypt hosted the forum's fourth ministerial conference in its coastal city of Sharm el-Sheik in November 2009, when Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao unveiled eight new measures to strengthen the China-Africa cooperation.

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