Tuesday, November 1, 2011

China in Africa

Interesting story in today's NYT on Zambia's recent election:  the out-going president actually acceded and turned over the reins to the winner; a white person actually won the vice-president's seat.  But most interesting of all, to me, is this quotation from the article:

"The new government openly chafes at the idea of being beholden to the Chinese, who are inking enormous mineral deals across the continent and spending billions to ingratiate themselves with Africa’s rulers. In Kenya, the Chinese are working closely with the national spy agency. China has shipped arms to Zimbabwe, even as it was torturing opponents. And in South Africa, the Chinese are so influential that they just pressured the government to deny a visa to the Dalai Lama, who stood shoulder to shoulder for years with anti-apartheid activists.
But while many African leaders say they welcome China, preferring its business-first approach to what they often call the West’s preachiness, Zambia’s new president, Michael Sata, campaigned explicitly to protect workers from exploitation by China. Still, he has been careful not to threaten to kick out the Chinese, who run copper mines, coal mines, chicken farms and banks here."

May the Zambians keep  China at arm's length and present on their own terms.

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