Why Has China Bought Mugabe a Mansion?

In an opinion piece in the Telegraph, columnist Christopher Booker writes:

It may not be surprising that, as befits any mad dictator, President Mugabe is now the proud owner of a palatial £4.5 million mansion in Harare and a similarly lavish country hideaway, each fitted with the latest electronic security systems, including anti-aircraft missiles.

But why should all this have been provided for him by the People’s Republic of China?

The explanation lies in a deal struck in 2005 whereby Mr Mugabe handed over to China his country’s mineral rights, including the world’s second largest reserves of platinum, worth £250 billion.

[…]

All over Africa we see a similar story. The ruthless but canny Chinese dictatorship props up equally ruthless and corrupt governments, as in Angola, in return for that continent’s fabulous mineral reserves. Britain, which once ruled much of Africa, has handed over its policy-making to the EU, which does little but make sanctimonious and irrelevant gestures.

Yet this is the continent which, in 2005, both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown proclaimed was “at the top” of their international agenda. It was in the same year that, as the EU’s acting president, Tony Blair flew to Beijing to sign an agreement making the EU and China “strategic partners”. It is only too obvious which “partner’s” strategy is proving the more successful.

July 20, 2008 4:20 PM