Inter-party relations promote Sino-African strategic partnership

By Zhong Weiyun
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, August 28, 2012
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Last July, South African President Jacob Zuma made particular mention of the relationship between South Africa's ruling party the African National Congress (ANC) and the Communist Party of China (CPC) at a meeting with Chinese leaders Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping. He expressed his satisfaction with the current relations between the ANC and the CPC, during which many senior members of the ANC participated in training workshops held by the CPC.

The relations between the CPC and the ANC are typical of the relations between Chinese and African political parties. These are part of what puts Africa' relations with China apart from its relations with other powerful nations and have also helped strengthen the political foundations of a new-type Sino-African strategic partnership.

A long history of contact

Late Chairman Mao Zedong shakes hands with the visiting Chairman of the Tanganyika African National Union and President of Tanzania J.K.Nyerere on March 25th, 1974. [File Photo]

Late Chairman Mao Zedong shakes hands with the visiting Chairman of the Tanganyika African National Union and President of Tanzania J.K.Nyerere on March 25th, 1974. [File Photo]

The exchange between the Chinese and African political parties began in the 1950s. At that time, the CPC only established relations with political parties of communist nature around the world. However, many African national liberation organizations sent delegations to visit China to seek political, moral and material support and receive political and military training. Though most of these delegations were invited by China's non-governmental organizations, they had their first contact with related departments in the CPC.

By the end of the 1970s, the CPC adjusted its foreign policies and started to develop relations with non-communist African parties and in particularly with ruling parties. By 1988, over 40 political parties from Sub-Saharan Africa had established relations with the CPC.

In the early 1990s, a wave of multi-party democracy swept the African continent and posed certain negative impact on Sino-African inter-party exchange. After years of sustained communications, many of the long-reigning parties with which China had invested much time and energy developing relationships were replaced. The new ruling parties had little understanding of the CPC and Sino-African inter-party exchanges experienced a low ebb. In the mid-1990s African political parties once again became interested in contact with the CPC. The CPC successively established relations with a batch of new African political parties.

Contact has been growing even faster in the 21st century and as many African countries have become stable and these nation's political parties have the increasing desire to work with the CPC. The momentum of bilateral party relations has been good, and to date the CPC has established relations with 81 African parties both in and out of power.

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