China-Africa relations based on equality, mutual benefit and common development

15:57, February 26, 2010      

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In recent years, China has established solid and friendly cooperative relations with Africa, drawing extensive attention from the international community, which is very common. However, some western media groups take every chance to poke at China's African policy and even "demonize" China. No convincing content can be found in their reports, for what these media groups excel at is publishing groundless news, criticizing the imaginary "resource exploitation" and "neo-colonialism," and irresponsibly citing the "China Threat Theory."

The wide-awake and alert people at home and abroad have already drawn conclusions of significant credibility and proved the absurdness of those reports released by some western media groups after careful and scientific analysis time and time again. It is necessary to find the cause of such baseless remarks. It should also be noted that some westerners still like to think from a perspective of colonialism and observe the world with a Cold War mentality. In their eyes, Africa is still their sphere of influence and other people should never set foot on the continent without their permission. In their minds, jungle law is a must in dealing with the naturally unequal international relations, without taking into consideration the changing times and continuously progressing human civilization, thus they inevitably go wrong when treating new international relations with outdated views.

The China-Africa relationship is a new type of international relationship formed after the Second World War and is characterized by an equal, reciprocal and a win-win principle. These 3 characteristics are the result of many factors. The first is excellent tradition. China and Africa had established relations as early as 2,000 years ago, during which, there were no wars, aggression or looting but only exchanges and friendship between China and Africa. The history and tradition of China-Africa relations not only exerted positive and enormous influence, but also laid a solid foundation on the relationship development between countries in modern times.

Secondly, developing countries have common qualities. Both China and African countries are developing countries meaning they have not only common history, but also share similar targets for development. Developing countries' common qualities determine that there is no conflict of interest between them, and also that the countries have the same or similar opinions on many major international issues (such as the establishment of a new international political and economic system).

Thirdly, they are all eager to develop themselves. Currently, developing countries are still weak compared with the strong developed countries. When dialogue between developing and developed countries is progressing slowly, the cooperation between developing countries becomes especially important. Both China and African countries are developing countries, and strengthening cooperation is the request of the era and the common need to develop.

Fourthly, the countries stood the test of practice. The establishment of the People’s Republic of China and African countries gaining independence proved that the equal, reciprocal and win-win relationship between China and Africa has strong vitality and the prospect of sustainable development. Fifthly, the relationship can be guaranteed by a system and mechanism. China and Africa launched the Sino-African Cooperation Forum in 2000, which established a new strategic partnership between them, determined the equal, reciprocal and win-win relationship, and in turn ensured such relationship through a system and mechanism.

The practice of developing China-Africa relations has comprehensively interpreted the essence of equality, mutual benefit and mutual interests. Firstly, in terms of international relationships, China is committed to the philosophy of peaceful development, and has adhered to developing the China-Africa relationship on the basis of respecting sovereignty, equality and mutual benefit, and not interfering in internal affairs. Over the past half century, the 2 sides have respected and supported each other, and their relationship has continued to expand and deepen, setting a good example in international relations.

Secondly, in terms of trade, China and Africa are aware of their strengths and weaknesses and complement each other's advantages. Africa has offered China energy and raw materials to support China's high-speed growth, and China has provided Africa with urgently-needed funds and techniques to help Africa develop its economy and combat poverty.

Thirdly, in terms of investment, with the mutual-beneficial and win-win principle, China has made investments in Africa's various fields, which has not only met the consumption needs of the local people, but has also increased local job opportunities and tax revenues, achieving win-win results.

Fourthly, in terms of assistance to Africa, China has fully respected the wills of African countries and sincerely helped recipient countries develop their economies, with enormous effective work done in fields such as agricultural production, infrastructure, personnel training as well as debt reduction and exemption. China put forth 8 measures in 2006 to promote substantial cooperation with Africa, and announced another 8 measures in 2009 to further China-Africa cooperation, both of which have advanced the course of African countries' economic development and poverty reduction.

Just like the words from an ancient Chinese poem, "Mountains cannot keep the river from flowing eastward to the sea," the groundless reports by some western media groups will not distort the essence of equality, mutual benefit and mutual interests seen in the China-Africa relationship, let alone obstruct its development and advancement. Today, there are an increasing number of rational people around the world who have recognized and appreciated the development of the China-Africa relationship, which is the best counterattack to such groundless remarks.

(The author Shu Yunguo is the director of the Africa Research Center under Shanghai Normal University.)
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