China in Africa Round-up 08.01: ICC Indictment, Chinese Troops in Darfur, Anti-Dumping Investigation in SA, China Funds in Africa, and A Chinese Color War
China Urges Security Council to Suspend ICC Indictment of Sudanese Leader
China on Thursday urged the UN Security Council to suspend the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s indictment of Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.
“China supports the reasonable request by the African Union and other organizations for the council to take early measures in accordance with the relevant provisions to suspend ICC’s indictment of the Sudanese leader,” he said.
“The proposed indictment of the Sudanese leader by the ICC prosecutor is an inappropriate decision made at an inappropriate time,” Wang said. “It will seriously undermine the mutual political trust and cooperation between the UN and the Sudanese government.” [...]
Wang said the parties involved in the Darfur peace process are currently engaged in vigorous political efforts to resolve the issue, and that no headway would be possible without the full cooperation of the Sudanese government.
China’s UN Ambassador Wang Guangya made the appeal after the 15-member body adopted a resolution extending the mandate of the UN-African Union peacekeeping operation in Darfur (UNAMID), which expires Thursday. [...]
In related news, from AlJazeeraEnglish:
China Sends Troops to Darfur as Promised – 27 July 2008
Senators Call for Truce in Darfur During Olympics
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators called for an Olympic truce in Darfur during the Beijing Olympics.
The senators introduced a resolution Thursday that urges China to pressure trading partner Sudan to end the violence that has claimed an estimated 300,000 lives and displaced 2.7 million others.
“The Chinese government hoped to show the world a new China with the Olympics, but instead the spotlight will be on their same old policies that disregard the rights of human beings,” said Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., one of the resolution’s sponsors.
“It would be a tremendous step toward peace and human rights across the globe if China, joined by the international community, would commit to helping to bring an end to the bloodshed in Darfur and elsewhere in Africa.”
China ‘Dumps’ Kitchen Sinks in Country
SA’s International Trade Administration Commission (Itac) has begun antidumping investigations into stainless steel sink imports from China and Malaysia after local manufacturers claimed that almost half the product value of these imports came from state incentives.
The antidumping [allegation] [...] claims China’s imports have surged to 60% of total imports from nothing only three years ago. Despite an import duty of 20% on stainless steel sinks, the price of imported products still undercuts locally manufactured sinks.[...]
In an agreement that trade consultants had warned could compromise local industries, SA had granted China market economy status and agreed to enhance debate on antidumping in return for China agreeing to the imposition of import quotas on cheap clothing and textile from that country. SA has not had a single successful antidumping investigation against China since granting it market economy status.
[A separate allegation] claims that Chinese manufacturers benefit from a host of incentives, including special economic zone incentives , grants for export performance, preferential loans, grants, preferential tax, reduced land use fees and preferential purchases from state-owned enterprises.
China Dev. Bank to Invest More in African Farming
The China Development Bank plans further African farming investments as the continent tries to raise output to curb food inflation and shortages, Governor Chen Yuan told African finance ministers and bankers on Friday. [...]
“China Development Bank is anxious to work in the area of agriculture. Given the current scenario of a great shortage of food and food price hikes I believe African countries should put agricultural development as their top priority,” he said.
Addressing the IMF and World Bank Africa Caucus in Mauritania, Chen said African countries should grow cereals as well as cash crops such as rubber and pine, and upgrade their processing capacity to make value added agricultural projects. [...]
“China Development Bank is willing to share its experience and provide financing to agricultural development in Africa,” he said. [...]
China’s trade with Africa has surged in recent years, reaching $73 billion in 2007, Chen said.
In related news, also from Reuters:
Africa Finance Chiefs Eye Consensus on China Funds
African finance ministers and central bankers met IMF and World Bank counterparts on Friday hoping to hammer out guidelines on handling a tide of new investment into the continent, much from resource-hungry China. [...]
Traditional lenders like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank worry African states now benefiting from debt relief may run up new debt mountains they may find hard to sustain, especially if a commodities boom runs out of steam. [...]
Besides loans, deals with China often involve Chinese workers building roads and other infrastructure projects, while natural resources move the other way, and the sums are awesome.
Opposition politicians and anti-graft groups in Niger have criticised the lack of transparency surrounding a deal between the government and China’s state oil company CNCP which could be worth $5 billion to one of the poorest countries on earth. [...]
“The advantage of the new financiers is that they respond to a need that Africa has, which is infrastructure, whereas traditional donors focus on things like education,” said a finance official at the meeting who declined to be named. [...]
“A big concern is debt. Lots of debt has just been wiped out, and now with China coming, are we going to see a new cycle? Prices of oil and other resources are high at the moment, but if prices drop, African countries will still have to pay interest on loans from China,” the delegate said. [...]
The Chinese Developent Bank’s presence at the IMF-World Bank meeting demonstrated the sea change in African finance in recent years.
“Like it or not, China is a big part of Africa now,” another delegate said.
A Chinese Color War
[...]The post-apartheid government [in South Africa] instituted an affirmative action program called Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) to redress the massive imbalance of economic power in favor of whites. BEE legislation relies for the most part on apartheid’s definitions of “black.” It is held to cover those excluded from power and privilege in the old order — African, Colored and Indian. But although they were also excluded, Chinese South Africans were passed over. The Chinese community fought back, and on June 18 this year, it won a ten-year legal battle to redress that slight. At a stroke, around 10,000 Chinese South Africans who had been South African citizens under apartheid officially became black, qualifying for the benefits of the BEE.
[A] book called Colour, Confusions and Concessions: the History of Chinese in South Africa by Melanie Yap and Daniel Leong Man [...] documents how a tiny minority in a land delineated by race have long been abused from all sides. [...]
Yap and Man [...] reveal evidence that Chinese may have settled in Africa long before the 17th century arrival of settlers from Europe. The first known map of southern Africa was drawn by Chinese cartographer Chu Ssu-pen in 1320. Sung dynasty porcelain (960-1279 AD) has been found at archaeological digs in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Chinese admiral Zheng He explored Africa’s east coast between 1405-1433. Most compelling of all, until a few years ago, there lived, north of Cape Town, tribes with light colored skin, Mongolian features and a language tonally similar to Mandarin, who traced their origins to 13th century Chinese sailors and call themselves Awatwa or “abandoned people.” Given the fact that not only the white population, but also the black African population migrated to what is now South Africa from further afield, Chinese South Africans feel as rooted here as anyone else.