Human rights group condemns how China gives aid

June 4, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A joint report by a human rights group and U.S.-funded broadcast services accuses China of deceptively distributing billions of dollars in aid to Africa and other regions in no-strings-attached packages that promote Chinese power while subverting human rights. The report on the use of aid by foreign governments also accuses Russia, Iran and Venezuela of using oil wealth to build foreign alliances and bankroll developing states without pressing them to avoid corruption and cultivate democracy.

"These authoritarian regimes are undercutting or crippling the democracy-promotion and human rights efforts of rules-based organizations including the United Nations," the report said.

It was prepared jointly over two years by Freedom House, a Washington-based nongovernment organization that has supported freedom around the world since 1941, and U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Radio Free Asia.

The report did not address U.S. foreign aid or its use.

"These regimes are using soft-power methods to advance their interests internationally, particularly through billions of dollars in no strings attached development aid," the report said.

China's leaders, the report said, emphasize the principle of noninterference while accusing Western countries of offering assistance that is self-serving.

The strategy appears to be succeeding. The World Bank, for instance, estimates that China is now the largest lender to Africa.

The aid does not have the human rights and financial safeguards required by democratic donors, the report said. And it tilts the scales toward more corrupt government across the developing world, the report said.

Russia was also accused of undermining international institutions and of building up regional military security groups to compete with Western-backed rights groups.

Iran was criticized for supporting such forces as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine, while the report said Venezuela exports corruption through subsidies with anti-corruption requirements.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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