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China Voice: Drop 'pride and prejudice' on Sino-African ties

Updated: 2014-05-06 10:30
( Xinhua)

BEIJING - While China and Africa are dedicated to promoting their six-decade friendship and partnership, some Western media have portrayed China's engagement on the continent in a negative light.

Many observers allege that China is conducting "neo-colonialism" in Africa by dumping cheap consumer goods, exploiting resources, or supporting autocratic or corrupt regimes without shouldering responsibilities of democracy and human rights.

In order to make their case, they rely on exaggerations or even falsehoods, feeding an unjust narrative about China-Africa relations.

But to China and African countries, both with histories of suffering invasions from the Western powers, these accusations, which to some extent are out of jealousy, cannot affect the tested brotherhood.

China's involvement in Africa is not a new phenomenon as claimed by the West. Since its founding in 1949, the People's Republic of China has been engaged in Africa and ties have become more active since the 1960s, when a large group of African states broke free from colonialism.

Now China has emerged as Africa's largest trading partner, with trade, investment and contract projects as three key modes of economic relations.

As a less developed region, Africa needs contributors to its development, not masters telling them what to do and what not to do. Sadly, this is exactly what some Western politicians are proud of.

Drawing clear distinctions from the European colonial past and Western policies, China promotes its presence in Africa based on equality and mutual benefit.

China has been providing aid, debt relief and low-interest loans to bolster the growth of the region, without any political conditionality.

To lessen Africa's burden, China had canceled 20 billion yuan worth of debts owed by African countries by the end of 2013. China also helps African countries in modern manufacturing and agricultural system to enhance the continent's own development capacity.

Lots of schools, hospitals, stadiums and urban water and power supply systems built with Chinese assistance have improved the living and working conditions of African people.

China gives aid to every African country with which it has diplomatic ties, rather than only eying Africa's resources.

Inevitably, as relations between Chinese and African companies grow rapidly, problems concerning labor conditions, environmental practices and employment may arise. China has always been willing to conduct earnest and equal consultations with African countries to resolve these issues.

Before leaving for his visit to Africa, Premier Li Keqiang urged Chinese companies to strictly abide by local laws and regulations, hold themselves accountable to the quality of contracted projects and goods and to consumers, and to shoulder due responsibility to local communities and the environment.

Such remarks would be impossible if China really pursued a colonialist path as some countries did.

While there is no strategic rivalry between China and the West in developing Africa, pointing fingers at China's partnership with Africa could disturb the region's healthy development without any concrete benefits to its people.

Unless an external engagement can bring food, security and economic development -- which are themselves forms of human rights -- to the African people, there is no reason to be proud.

When China joins hands to find a new development path that suits both China and African countries, Western prejudice should be thrown into history.