Is China Good for Africa? – Danna Harman

In a series called “Is China Good For Africa? Lessons from Sudan,” the Christian Science Monitor examines the impact of China’s role in this war-torn country. The first article, “In Sudan, China focuses on oil wells, not local needs,” looks at how the Chinese businesses’ focus on making a profit while ignoring the region’s humanitarian needs is angering locals:

O1Sudantrade G1 SCNPC has invested billions in oil-related infrastructure here in Paloich, including the 900-mile pipeline from the Paloich oil fields to the tanker terminal at Port Sudan on the Red Sea, a tarmac road leading to Khartoum, and a new airport with connecting flights to Beijing.

But they have not invested in much else here.

Locals live in meager huts, eating peanuts with perch fished out of the contaminated Nile. There is no electricity. A Swiss charity provides healthcare. An American aid group flies in food and mosquito nets. Most children do not go to school.

…The Chinese operations were marked “from the beginning,” by a “deep complicity in gross human rights violations, scorched-earth clearances of the indigenous population,” says Sudan activist Eric Reeves, a professor at Smith College in Northampton, Mass. Giving expert testimony before the congressionally mandated US-China Economic and Security Review Commission last August, Mr. Reeves claimed the Chinese gave direct assistance to Khartoum’s military forces which, in turn, burned villages, chased locals away from their homes, and harmed the environment while prospecting for oil. [Full text]

More than one local resident is quoted in the article as calling China Africa’s new “colonizer.” Yet, another article, “China boosts African economies, offering a ‘second opportunity‘” explains how trade with China is bringing cheaper consumer goods to African nations and helping improve local economies and salaries. The site also includes a video interview with the reporter. Two more reports are scheduled to be posted tomorrow.

June 25, 2007 10:04 AM
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