The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Africa on Friday that China is embarking on “new colonialism” by extracting the continent’s natural resources to enrich its development interests, and she held up the United States as an alternative.
It is true that a large part of Africa used to be under the rule of Western powers and that the African people suffered during this colonialism. History shows that most African nations gained independence by fighting against Western colonialism in the latter half of last century.
China has never colonized any nation in Africa. On the contrary, it is well known to African people and the world that China has helped Africa build many schools, hospitals and other infrastructure, which has benefited many African people. China has also been regularly reducing and canceling the debt of poor African countries and continues to provide preferential loans and credit support for them.
It depends on the experiences and judgment of the related African governments and peoples whether Clinton’s statement will drive a wedge between China and Africa.
Zambian President, Rupiah Banda, revealed his own perspective when he said: “Our country has been in a close relationship with China from those early years before our independence. And during the recent global financial crisis, we were fortunate that the Chinese were still able to continue their appetite for what we were producing here.”
In fact, many African countries regard Chinese investment as an opportunity and welcome Beijing’s consistent policy of noninterference in domestic affairs.
The trade between China and Africa reached an all-time high of $126.9 billion in 2010, with African exports to China amounting to $66.9 billion, an increase of 54.5 percent year-on-year. Meanwhile, China has become Africa’s largest trading partner and contributes over 20 percent to the continent’s economic growth.
The relationship between China and Africa is a new strategic partnership, based on the principles of sincerity, friendship, and mutual benefit on an equal footing, and has emerged as a role model for South-South cooperation, which has nothing to do with neocolonialism.
Moreover, the fast growing ties between China and Africa have made the whole international community pay attention to Africa’s development, which in turn is conducive to helping Africa win more international assistance.
Relations between China and Africa will inevitably meet challenges and contradictions amid the complex and volatile international situation, but as long as the two sides are willing to listen to each other and exclude outside voices, more win-win opportunities will be created that bring greater benefits to both peoples.
Judging from their own experience, the African people are wise enough to be able to identify who are their true friends. They don’t need lectures in this regard.