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Comments on the Article, "China Promotes Darfur-Bound Peacekeepers," The Washington Post, September 15, 2007, by Edward Cody
By Sheng-Wei Wang
October 1, 2007

China is currently engaged in extensive domestic, economic, social, and political reforms. Internationally, it has adopted a pragmatic approach to handle relations based on the principle of non-interference in the domestic affairs of other nations and multilateralism for balancing the power of big countries. The whole package is termed the Beijing Consensus by Western scholars and politicians.


China's African policy has three characteristics: 1) political friendship and equality; 2) economic cooperation; and 3) mutual understanding and support on world issues. China has successfully exported its economic development model with Chinese characteristics to its African trading partners by encouraging them to develop their economy through trade, investment, and infrastructure development without dictating terms for political or economic reforms.


Critics have been saying that China is only interested in African oil and strategic minerals, and China is a commercial partner with Darfur. Several U.S. entertainment figures, including Mia Farrow and Steven Spielberg, raised the idea of an Olympic boycott earlier this year. Joining the chorus, 108 members of the U.S. House of Representatives wrote a letter to the Chinese government in May warning the Beijing Games could be spoiled unless China gets more actively involved in Sudan.


To these criticisms, the African people said clearly that Africans have African interests too; when both interests met, a mutually beneficial cooperation flourished. As for Darfur , China initially did not want to get involved in Sudan's internal politics, but later decided to send a special envoy to help resolve the Darfur situation.


Now Edward Cody writes in the September 15, 2007, issue of The Washington Post that "The Chinese military put on display its first Darfur-bound peacekeepers Saturday, having troops throw up Bailey bridges and feign combat to dramatize Beijing's desire to be seen as a partner in bringing peace to the violence-torn corner of Sudan," and "as part of a new campaign by the Chinese government to show that it is cooperating with the United States and other nations to end the Darfur fighting," he continues.


Starting from 1990, China has sent more than 8,000 soldiers abroad. The Defense Minister said 1,648 Chinese soldiers are serving in U.N. peacekeeping forces now, including those in Lebanon, Liberia and Congo.


The following best describes the Chinese people's viewpoint: "On the resolution of the Darfur issue, we have played a very constructive and even unique role," China 's special diplomatic envoy for Darfur Liu Guijin told reporters this week at U.N. headquarters in New York.


Blaming China for the problems in Darfur because of the country's relationship with Sudan was based on very thin logic.

"For example, if you and I have a very good relationship, it's not right for me to blame you or place responsibility on you if my own siblings are having disagreements or problems among themselves," said Senior Col. Dai Shaoan of the Defense Ministry's peacekeeping affairs bureau.


"Military engineers wearing U.N.-blue caps worked feverishly to build a stretch of road, erect a bridge and put together a prefab shelter designed to serve as a headquarters building," Edward Cody continues his writing the next day.


The world should be pleased that China has taken a positive attitude towards the request by the U.N. that it send peacekeeping troops to Darfur and that China is playing a larger role in keeping the world peace.

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