Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Chinese leaders have attached high importance to developing relations with African countries. They have held many expositions on consolidating Sino-African traditional friendship and promoting friendly cooperation. These have been followed as the guiding principle for China's foreign diplomacy toward Africa throughout various historic periods.
From December 1963 to January 1964, on his tour of ten African countries, Premier Zhou Enlai put forward the five principles guiding China's relations with the African and Arab countries, and the eight principles underlying China's economic and technological aid to foreign countries.
The Five Principles:
1. China supports the African and Arab peoples in their struggle to oppose imperialism and old and new colonialism and to win and safeguard national independence.
2. It supports the pursuance of a policy of peace, neutrality and non-alignment by the Governments of the African and Arab countries.
3. It supports the desire of the African and Arab peoples to achieve unity and solidarity in the manner of their own choice.
4. It supports the African and Arab countries in their efforts to settle their disputes through peaceful consultations.
5. It holds that the sovereignty of the African and Arab countries should be respected by all other countries and that encroachment and interference from any quarter should be opposed.
The Eight Principles:
1. The Chinese Government always bases itself on the principle of equality and mutual benefit in providing aid to other countries. It never regards such aid as a kind of unilateral alms but as something mutual.
2. In providing aid to other countries, the Chinese Government strictly respects the sovereignty of the recipient countries, and never attaches any conditions or asks for any privileges.
3. China provides economic aid in the form of interest-free or low-interest loans and extends the time limit for the repayment when necessary so as to lighten the burden of the recipient countries as far as possible.
4. In providing aid to other countries, the purpose of the Chinese Government is not to make the recipient countries dependent on China but to help them embark step by step on the road of self-reliance and independent economic development.
5. The Chinese Government tries its best to help the recipient countries build projects which require less investment while yielding quicker results, so that the recipient governments may increase their income and accumulate capital.
6. The Chinese Government provides the best-quality equipment and material of its own manufacture at international market prices. If the equipment and material provided by the Chinese Government are not up to the agreed specifications and quality, the Chinese Government undertakes to replace them.
7. In giving any particular technical assistance, the Chinese Government will see to it that the personnel of the recipient country fully master such technique.
8. The experts dispatched by China to help in construction in the recipient countries will have the same standard of living as the experts of the recipient country. The Chinese experts are not allowed to make any special demands or enjoy any special amenities.
Chairman Mao Zedong put forward his view on differentiating the "three worlds" in a talk with President Kenneth David Kaunda of Zambia in February 1974. He said, "I hope the Third World unites. In Asia, all countries except for Japan belong to the Third World. The whole of Africa belongs to the Third World, and Latin America also belongs to the Third World."
On meeting with visiting Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Deng Xiaoping, chief architect of China's reform program, said, "We are closely following Africa's development and progress towards prosperity. We are pleased to see that many African countries have become independent since the Second World War, creating the best conditions for development. After years of struggle, the international situation is becoming more relaxed, and a world war can be avoided. The African countries should take advantage of this favorable peaceful environment to develop. They should work out strategies and policies for development in accordance with actual conditions in each country, and they should unite so that all their people can work together to promote economic development."
In May 1996, President Jiang Zemin paid a visit to six African countries. He proposed five principles concerning the development of a long-term, stable, and all-round cooperative relationship between China and the African countries oriented toward the 21st century:
1. Being sincere, friendly, and mutually reliable and becoming all-weather friends.
2. Equality, mutual respect for each other's sovereignty, and non-interference in each other's internal affairs.
3. Seeking common development and mutual benefits.
4. Strengthening consultations and forming close cooperation in international affairs.
5. Looking toward the future and creating a more beautiful world.
In October 2000, President Jiang Zemin spoke at the opening ceremony of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum -- Ministerial Conference Beijing 2000. He said that China and Africa should make concerted efforts to establish a new international political and economic order.
1. To strengthen solidarity and actively promote South-South cooperation.
2. To enhance dialogue and improve North-South relations.
3. To take part in international affairs on the basis of equality and in an enterprising spirit.
4. To look forward into the future and establish a new long-term stable partnership of equality and mutual benefit.
In January 1999, Hu Jintao, then vice-president of China, said while visiting Africa, "China will, as always, adhere to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, respecting independent choices of political system and development road by African nations according to their realities; supporting the just struggle of African nations to safeguard national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity; supporting these nations' efforts to maintain domestic stability and unity, invigorate national economy and promote social progress. In international affairs, China will actively support African nations' participation in international affairs, strengthen bilateral consultations and cooperation, and make concerted efforts to safeguard the just rights of the developing nations, trying to help establish a fair and reasonable international political and economic order at an early date. China also urges the international community, especially the developed countries, to respect and show concern for Africa, pay attention to Africa's peace and development, and adopt effective measures to promote stability in Africa, help Africa develop its economy, get rid of poverty at an early date, and narrow the gap in development between Africa and the rest of the world."
In June 2003, during talks with the visiting President Azali Assoumani of the Comoro Union, President Hu Jintao pointed out that consolidating and strengthening unity and cooperation with all African countries, including the Comoro Union, is a vital part of China's independent foreign policy of peace. He said that China would abide by the basic principles of "sincere friendship, equal treatment, unity and cooperation, common progress and looking forward into the future" in dealing with Africa and be dedicated to the long-term stable new partnership based on equality and mutual benefit.
(China.org.cn December 10, 2003)