Rule of law major discussion in China, says minister

Pictured left: Assistant minister Dou Enyoung (left) with his interpreter.

Strengthening the rule of law topped the agenda of the fourth plenary session of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) that took place in Beijing from 20–23 October 2014, said Dou Enyong, assistant minister of the International Department of the CPC. He was speaking at an HSRC Ambassadorial Forum – a project of the Africa Institute at the HSRC – on the topic of the ‘evolving dynamics of China-Africa relations’, and used the opportunity to invite suggestions and experiences from the HSRC on research that could assist in strengthening the rule of law in China.

On the issue of China’s economic growth rate, which has cooled to 7.4% after a meteoric rise for most of the past decade, he said a higher growth rate was expected in 2015, up by 7%.

Dou Enyong emphasised the importance of the relationships between African countries and China, saying that China’s economic growth rate had an impact on continental growth as China was Africa’s largest trade partner and high-potential investor. Trade between China and Africa had increased 5.6% year-on-year, and was valued at US$201 billion in 2013. By 2015, China-Africa trade volumes are expected to top US$280 billion.

He said the star rising over Africa’s economy was in danger of burning out from even a modest contraction in China’s economy. The minister indicated, however, that based on Chinese reforms and economic restructuring, the economic impact on Africa’s economic growth was set to change positively.

He indicated that the sixth Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), the official forum between the People’s Republic of China and the states in Africa, would take place in South Africa. Since its establishment in October 2000, FOCAC has become an important platform for collective dialogue and an effective mechanism for enhancing practical co-operation between China and African countries.