Nairobi — The Beijing Summit and third Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation will be held in Beijing from 3rd to November 5. The Chinese Government is expecting more than 30 heads of state from African countries.
In recent years, China and African countries have been making great efforts to establish a new strategic partnership characterised by political equality and mutual trust, economic co-operation and cultural exchange.
Both sides have benefited a great deal from such relations. However, some Western media have attempted to discredit Sino-African relations by selling their African version of the "China threat theory".
They preach that China is trying to impose a kind of neo-colonialism on Africa and to plunder Africa's resources. This is an attempt to drive a wedge between China and African countries.
These statements lack historical basis. Their real purpose is to obstruct Chinese enterprises from accessing the African market, and safeguard their own interests in Africa.
West committed crimes
It is well known that Western powers committed numerous crimes, including the slave trade, in their exploitation of Africa. They also gradually moulded African countries into their material suppliers and product-dumping markets, which resulted in abnormal economic structures in many African countries with deleterious effects.
What is more, they introduced divide-and-rule tactics to Africa, which created ethnic conflicts, incited religious dissent, and provoked religious conflicts, thereby undermining the traditional African social and economic order.
As a result, African countries have been in a poor and backward state since they were granted independence. Even today, Western multinational corporations manipulate those industries that are of utmost importance to African countries' economies such as heavy industry, mining and manufacturing.
The hat of "neo-colonialism" simply doesn't fit China. For over 110 years after the Opium War in 1840, China was the victim of colonial aggression. The Chinese nation knows too well the suffering caused by colonial rule and the need to fight colonialism.
This is the main reason why China has all along supported the national liberation. China and Africa have never come into conflict.
It is unreasonable to attribute problems of some African countries to China's aid and investment. The development of Africa lies mainly in its own efforts. The international community should respect the rights of African countries to choose independently their paths to development.
This year marks the 50th anniversary since China and African nations established diplomatic ties. The two sides have been pursuing a plan for peaceful development, consistently stressing the democratisation of international relations, and developing friendly relations based on the principles of respect for sovereignty, equality and mutual benefit.
China has always provided assistance to Africa without attaching any political strings or special requirements. It has also respected the sovereignty of African nations. This has won it wide acclaim from African nations.
Today, the major reason that China and African countries have become all-weather friends and sincere partners is that we all understand the pain of colonialism and the importance of fighting it. History has shown that China's policy on Africa differs markedly from that of the West, past or present.
China's trade with Africa is mutually beneficial. It enables African people to buy commodities of quality at lower prices. In 2005, trade between China and Africa reached $39.7 billion, of which China imported goods worth $21.1 billion and exported goods worth $18.7 billion, with $2.4 billion in Africa's favour.
Of course, due to the competitiveness of the Chinese textile industry, textiles imported from China keep increasing. But they only account for 0.6 per cent of African's total foreign trade.
The Chinese Government fully understands the concerns of some African countries on trade issues and has adopted effective measures to facilitate African commodities' access to the Chinese market - granting duty-free treatment to some goods from the less developed countries and taking self-restrictive measures to limit China's exports of textiles to Africa.
Arms for self-defence
China has always put its limited arms export under strict surveillance and adhered to three principles in the arms trade: the arms should help enhance the self-defence capability of recipient countries, they should not impair regional and global peace, security and stability, and they should not be used to interfere with other countries' internal affairs.
The charge that China encourages regional conflicts and human rights violations by exporting a large quantity of weaponry to Africa comes out of nowhere. China has been exporting conventional weapons properly in conformity with international rules.
In the meantime, the government also encourages Chinese enterprises to invest in Africa and tourists to visit Africa.
China has always been concerned with the humanitarian situation in the Darfur region and joined the international community in granting assistance to alleviate tension in Darfur.
In June, the Chinese Government promised to provide one million dollars in cash and RMB 20 million in humanitarian aid to the African Union to support its peacekeeping mission in Darfur.
There is no fundamental difference between China and other countries in promoting the peace process in Darfur. But China holds that relevant international operations, UN peacekeeping missions in particular, should obtain consent of the Government of Sudan.
Only by so doing can peacekeeping missions attain the expected goals. China will strengthen its co-operation with the AU, support its peacekeeping mission in Darfur, and be ready to work with the international community for comprehensive peace and stability in the region.
Mr Zhu Jing is the Press Attaché , Chinese Embassy