Posted by Jeremy Goldkorn on Tuesday, November 14, 2006 at 12:45 AM
The Sino-African Summit, attended by leaders and representatives of 48 African countries, concluded last weekend.
The big meeting casued several days of tightened security, reduced traffic and frenetic diplomatic activity in Beijing. Plainclothes cops, military police and phalanxes of red-armband wearing grandmothers ensured security around Beijing's five star hotels. The city restricted traffic to make it easy for African and Chinese delegates to move between different meetings. At the the end of it, about two billion US dollars worth of deals had been signed.
Watch the video below for some reactions by Beijingers and Africans living in Beijing, or read on below for comment about the meeting.
A few words about Sino-African relations
Commentary about the Sino-African Summit in the Western media voiced both admiration for and anxiety about China's diplomatic dexterity, and fears that China was engaged in neo-colonialism, or in the propping up of unsavoury dictators.
Your correspondent was involved with the South African delegation, and spent some time talking to delegates from other African countries. The general feeling was that most countries were pleased with the forum. African countries are fully aware of the dangers of being exploited: what the Sino-African Summit has changed is that African countries have been presented with another power to do business with. Whether a relationship with China benefits or harms African countries is ultimately up to those countries themselves. But having another choice aside from Europe and the U.S.A. can only be good. For Africa.
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