March 05, 2007 Edition 1
In the wake of China's President Hu Jintao's visit to Africa, there have been a whole range of opinions about China's intentions.
A lot of hostility and suspicion has been expressed without any hard evidence to show that China has evil intentions.
There are no Chinese military bases in Africa. There is no Chinese navy sailing up and down the coasts of Africa. There is no Chinese air force bombing and killing Africans. There is no "perpetual war against terror" being foisted on the African people. There is no Chinese attempt to undermine the independence of Africa through interference in its internal affairs.
What we do have is a China that is developing its economy in a globalised world. It is a country that supported the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and that now sees itself as a partner in African development.
Overall, there is no doubt that China plays a positive role in Africa's strive for development in the face of imperialist exploitation from the US and, to a lesser extent, from other Western powers.
Building bilateral relations with the Chinese will counter the destructive influence of corporate globalisation, which is the central cause of instability in our economy.
We cannot forget the positive role that China played during the struggle against apartheid.
The Tan-Zam railroad between Lusaka and Dar-es-Salaam was built with massive financing by China. Its technicians who worked on that project lived simply in existing villages along the route, unlike the demands of Western donors for comfort zones for their personnel on other projects. That railway line allowed Zambia to export its copper without being beholden to the ports of apartheid SA.
Strong links with China help us to loosen the stranglehold of US imperialism, which is developing its economic base here to penetrate the rest of Africa. The ANC government is happy to be George Bush's "pointman" in this part of the world. The US military have now established an African Command and interfere at will to protect their interests without the slightest regard for human life.
China behaves quite differently and is loath to interfere in any way with the countries it deals with. This is in contrast to the West, which has sent troops to many countries to protect or promote "democracy", but which create more havoc and loss of life. When African states get finance from the World Bank or the IMF, a host of conditions are laid down. This, too, is in stark contrast to Chinese loans.
In this dangerous world where a predatory superpower is threatening nuclear catastrophe, we need to unite with those who stand up to this peril. China has just recently sent shivers down the backs of the warmongers by shooting down a disused satellite with one of their rockets.
China will remain our friend for the foreseeable future and our links should be strengthened beyond mere trade deals.
Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Pan Africanist Congress of Azania