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September 26th, 2006 at 8:47 am

China to Build College for Africa

A senior Chinese trade union official said in Beijing on Monday that China plans to build a labor college for Africa in order to enhance understanding and exchanges between grassroots members of Chinese and African trade unions.

Su Liqing, vice-president of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU), addressed a closing ceremony of a trade union seminar that China is preparing for the construction of the college, which belongs to the Organization of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU), a regional non-governmental organization.

"China would like to conduct various cooperation with the OATUU and trade unions in each country through the college, "Su told some 30 African trade union leaders, who were invited here by the ACFTU and the Ministry of Commerce to discuss on economic globalization and China-Africa cooperation.

The seminar, one of the exchanging programs between China and African trade unions, were considered "a very good chance to observe and understand China" by the African trade union leaders, most of whom are in China for the first time.

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"What I have seen here is totally different from what I have learned from media reports before, and many things are wrongly depicted," said Mary Malate, president of the Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA).

The accusation of forced labor are not existed and the low social status of women are not true, as women can hold key positions in enterprises and women workers’ rights are well-protected, said Malete.

Joseph Maqhekeni, president of National Council of Trade Unions (NACTU), expressed his views on the disputed influx of cheap Chinese commodities into South Africa.
Chinese commodities do have posed some threats to the local industry, but threats are not only from China, he said.

"If not import from China, retailers will also import large amount of products from other countries like India, Brazil to fill in the gap left by China. "

He suggested the local industries in South Africa should improve their own capabilities could they cope with challenges from globalization.

President of Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) Leonard C. Hikaumba said the visit gave him a better understanding of China, showing him systemically-organized trade unions and close working relationship in different enterprises.

He said he and his colleagues would love to be ambassadors of the ACFTU and Chinese workers so as to convey a clear picture of China.

Besides five-day lectures and discussions in the Chinese capital, the two-week seminar also brought the African trade union leaders to state-owned enterprises in Northwest China’s Shaanxi Province and private and foreign companies in the economic hub of Shanghai.

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