China’s president Hu Jintao handed out gifts to African governments over the past few days, trying his best to persuade their leaders that China cares, even though demand for Africa’s resources — at least in the short term — has declined because of the economic slowdown.
In a speech in Tanzania, Hu said, “During times of adversity, it is all the more important for China and Africa to support each other, work in concert and tide over the difficulties together.” Hs keynote speech was entitled, “Work Together to Write a New Chapter of China-Africa Friendship.”
African critics of China often mock the idea that China wants to assist African countries grow and prosper. With more Chinese in African cities — many of them imported laborers doing jobs Africans themselves could do — tensions are growing over the Chinese presence.
In a bow to these tensions, Hu said that Chinese companies operating in Africa should “shoulder more social responsibilities and forge amicable relations with the local communities.”