10/26/2009, 00.00
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Beijing continues to colonise Africa, signs new deals with Guinea

The Chinese government signs contracts worth US$ 7 billion to explore for mineral resources, and this despite protests by local residents who are against the coming of the Chinese. A month ago, the ruling junta killed 157 people protesting against the dictatorship.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – China’s march towards Africa’s economic “colonisation” continues. A US$ 7 billion mining deal between Guinea and little-known China International Fund (CIF) underscores Beijing's rush into Africa. The deal, which includes both exploration and mining rights, was confirmed last week by the African country’s iron-fisted military junta.

Under the terms of the deal, the CFI will have unfettered access to bauxite and other minerals in exchange for major revenues to the government of military leader Dadis Moussa Camara (pictured).

According to various human rights groups, the contract was signed despite strong protests by the local population fearful that a Chinese invasion might affect local markets and reinforce the dictatorship.

Back in September, the army opened fire against peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators, killing 157 and wounding about 1,200.

Beijing refused to make any comments about the episode or the contract.  The CIF also adopted the same posture.

Some analysts are concerned that China might even sell weapons to Guinea. Europe, the African Union and ECOWAS have imposed an embargo because of the massacre.

In many ways, the Guinea deal perfectly reflects established Chinese business practices in Africa, characterised by huge investments in a poor continent but also secrecy and scant regard for human rights.

Investors from the West, Japan, India and the United States are also major economic partners with less than democratic African governments. But China has given direct assistance to more than 17 African nations, among them violence-plagued Congo and the Sudan

“There's obviously mixed emotions with regard to China-Africa relations," said Kellie Jane Whitlock, from the magazine Corporate Africa. There are “Chinese companies that are still growing and looking into investing further into Africa", she added.

Sino-African trade has risen ten times since 2001, passing the US$ 100 billion mark last year.

China wants oil, gas, and other key resources for its resource-hungry economy. In exchange Chinese companies (mostly private but with strong government involvement) build infrastructures.

The CIF is a case in point. Registered in Hong Kong, the company has done big deals with the government of Angola. Privately owned, its share structure is like Chinese boxes. In Angola, it is building housing, highways and the capital's airport. In exchange, Angola’s government has pledged to ship 70 per cent of its oil production to China.

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