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Ambassador Liu Guijin: China in its own way fully supports Africa's efforts for democracy, human rights and good governance
2006/10/20

(Ask the Embassy)

Q: According to some media, China is "undermining" democracy, human rights and good governance in Africa by doing business with Sudan, Zimbabwe, Angola and some other African countries. What do you say?

Ambassador Liu Guijin:

 

China has no intention to undermine Africa's democracy, to begin with. China is working hard to build a socialist democracy and promote human rights and good governance at home. And China is a responsible major country in the world. I doubt there is any tiny political gain China can get by doing such things against the historical trend and the common wish of the people of all countries.

Furthermore, China's foreign policy is consistent and above board, whereas China's meaningful economic cooperation with those countries is only a recent phenomenon. China has all along been handling state-to-state affairs in accordance with the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence as well as the purposes and principles enshrined in the UN Charter and the acknowledged norms governing international relations. China sincerely holds the view that all members of the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) should be treated equally and fairly. For decades, China has been developing friendly cooperation with all countries in the world, rich or poor, big or small, on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.

Moreover, business is business. To develop trade and economic cooperation and normal relations with one country does not necessarily mean the support of every policy of that country. With every major western power now enjoying strong economic ties with China, I do not think that all of them are happy about every policy of China. And, while making loud noises about some polices of China, none of them is pursuing a policy of disengaging China and stops doing business with China. Not accidentally, those who singled China out for blame actually did not enjoy a glorious history in Africa. It is not difficult to see that there might be a double standard here. By practicing double standard, one always has an axe to grind.

To get the problems in some African countries solved by disengagement or even sanction is wishful thinking and naive. Engagement, practical cooperation, tangible assistance and patient dialogue rather than naming and shaming could prove to be more effective in solving problems in Africa. In its own way, China fully supports Africa's strenuous efforts to make this beautiful continent of hope more stable, democratic and prosperous.

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