China as Africa’s ‘angel in white’

Wu Chen (1280-1354), Manual of Ink — Bamboo, 1350 

By Scott Zhou – Asia Times online

SHANGHAI – Amid increasingly harsh Western criticism of its “neo-colonialist” conduct in Africa, the Chinese government has issued a circular demanding that Chinese investors and workers on the continent behave themselves better.

The new policy was issued on the eve of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum and summit in Beijing this weekend to mark China’s 50th anniversary of cultivating relationships with African countries, with an apparent additional aim of winning the hearts and minds of the Africans.

Over the past few decades, some 16,000 Chinese doctors have worked on the continent as a goodwill gesture to Africans. The tradition can be traced back to the late chairman Mao Zedong, who in the 1960s began to send “angels in white” to Africa and barefoot doctors to the rural areas of China. The tradition continues even today to show China’s goodwill and build its image among Africans.However, recent efforts to bill China as an “angel in white” for Africa have been seriously challenged by a new kind of emissary as trade and business have grown by leaps and bounds. That has led to criticism, especially by Western countries, that China is engaged in some new kind of “neo-colonialism” in Africa.

[Read the full article here – via Bryan]

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