China is often depicted as a juggernaut of sorts, its untroubled and unfettered rise into the ranks of global powers a fact that lesser nations can only watch with awe and trepidation. On Friday, President Hu Jintao of China completed a 12-day tour of Africa that suggested the reality was more nuanced.
More than that, the visit tested a basic tenet of China’s economic relations: that business is business, and what a partner nation’s people think about it is not China’s ” or the world’s ” preoccupation.
Mr. Hu swept through eight nations, among them some of China’s closest African allies, largest trading partners and most prominent objects of Chinese investment. He left behind a multibillion-dollar trail of forgiven debts, cheap new loans and pledges of schools and cultural centers, tokens of affection for a continent of strategic economic importance to Beijing’s future. [Full Text]
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