The growing influence of China across Africa was the topic of federal and policy expert witnesses at a hearing held Thursday by Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04), Chairman of the House congressional panel that oversees international human rights and African issues.
"Assessing China's Role and Influence in Africa," is the title of the hearing of the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights featuring the U.S. State Department and other witnesses.
"China has become America's premier economic competitor in Africa, providing loans and making investments far beyond what the United States is currently prepared to provide," said Smith. "One of the most prevalent charges against China's involvement in Africa is that they don't support international conditionality on aid to African countries . While much of the rest of the international community regarded Sudan as having committed genocide, or at least crimes against humanity in its Darfur region, China, a major economic partner with the government in Khartoum, refused at first to join in sanctions against Sudan. China abstained from the vote in September 2004 when the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 1564 condemning the mass killing of civilians in the Darfur region, even though the measure stopped short of imposing oil sanctions. China even threatened to veto any further move to impose sanctions. It took concerted international pressure prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics to force China to move closer to the international position on pressing Sudan to end its human rights abuses.