The government of the Republic of China has given its backing to the government of Ghana and the rest of Africa, to sanction Chinese companies and individuals whose actions are going contrary to the laws and welfare of citizens of the respective countries.
A member of the Central Committee of the ruling Communist Party of China, Prof. Jianbo Luo said it had come to the government’s attention that some Chinese investors and private citizens were destroying the image of China by engaging in activities that did not augur well for the welfare of their host countries.
He made specific mention of Ghana and Nigeria, where some Chinese companies and individuals had been cited for environmental pollution and human rights abuses.
Prof Luo was addressing African scholars attending the ongoing Seminar on Think Tank for Anglophone Countries, which seeks to further strengthen China’s relationship with Africa.
The Seminar, which is taking place at the Zhejiang Normal University (ZJNU) in Jinhua, China, is being sponsored by China’s Ministry of Commerce.
Prof Luo noted that although it was a good thing that a lot of Chinese enterprises were springing up in Africa, the failure of some of them to pay more attention to social responsibility was regrettable.
He said Chinese companies must not only focus on getting natural resources and finding markets for their products, but also respect labour laws, environmental protection laws, trade and investment laws and the local interests of their host countries.
Prof Luo hinted that the country’s Ministry of Commerce was drawing up a programme to guide the activities of Chinese enterprises in Africa.
He however indicated that due to the large size of Chinese citizens, it would be difficult to capture all of them under one umbrella, adding that several efforts to capture all Chinese investors into a register at the embassies had proved futile because not all of them showed up.
“China is not capable of regulating all of its investments in Africa. We can only control the state-owned enterprises and a few private
ones,” he said.
Prof Luo said China was very serious about its decision to partner Africa to forge the new power bloc in the world, stressing that “if we (Africa and China) want to have much power in international affairs, we must form such cooperation.”
He indicated that China’s support to Africa included helping transform its infrastructure, increasing investments in Africa and also helping to enhance its human resource and technology.
He said each year, China sends invitation to about 7000 Africans to come and study in China to expose them to Chinese traditions and also build their capacities to champion development in their respective countries.
Prof Luo mentioned three distinct ways in which China intends to support Africa under the new strategic partnership.
They are: to promote shared growth, such as giving concessionary loans; to promote corporate social responsibility among Chinese enterprises operating in Africa; and to speak in favour of interests of African countries in internationals affairs.
“The international community say that China must have a say in international affairs and that we must back the majority interests.
What are the majority interests and who determines that,” he asked, rhetorically.
“Our focus is who needs support and the answer is Africa. So, if it is about Africa’s progress, we would back it,” he added.
Prof Luo said China’s policy of non-interference in other countries’ political leadership would continue because it believes in each
nation’s right to self-determination and independence.