Friday, October 16, 2009

China v West in Guinea Violence?

From AFP:
BEIJING — China on Friday denied involvement with a large mining and oil deal in Guinea following accusations it amounted to supporting the west African country's military junta.

Guinea's Mining Minister Mahmoud Thiam told AFP Thursday the country's junta-backed government had signed the seven-billion-dollar (4.5-billion-euro) deal with the China International Fund (CIF) and Sonangol, an Angolan partner.

China International Fund is a China-linked investment company registered in Hong Kong.

"The China International Fund is an international company registered in Hong Kong and its investment in Guinea is purely its own endeavour," foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement on the ministry's website.

"The activities of this company have nothing to do with the Chinese government. China's government has no knowledge of the specifics of this venture."

The deal comes as Guinea's military rulers face increasing criticism after troops opened fire on anti-junta protesters on September 28, killing at least 150 people, according to rights groups.

About 1,200 people were injured and many women were raped by soldiers, rights groups said.

The military government, which says 56 people died, has denied responsibility.

China has expanded trade ties with Africa, where it seeks to tap into the continent's mineral and energy resources to feed its economic growth.