Chinese Dragon Could Get Burnt

John Garnaut reports for Stuff.co.nz on how China’s overseas investments are playing out on the ground in Africa and other regions:

The map of China’s overseas resource investments is not a pretty picture. In the developed world, Chinese investors are tangling with unfamiliar regulations, labour markets and technologies.

In unstable nations, particularly in Africa, they are aligning themselves with transient regimes. In South America and the Pacific Islands, which have pugnacious traditions of local community rights, they are finding that doing cozy deals at the state level does not solve grassroots problems.

So they are encountering huge cost overruns and delays in Australia; a rolling tangle of violent landowner disputes and now court injunctions in Papua New Guinea; ugly labour and environmental disputes in Peru; a violent backlash against Chinese workers in Angola and a fraught alliance with a brutal dictator in Sudan.

Chinese corporate leaders are not accustomed to paying for impartial advice, preferring instead to pay commissions to middle men who can lead them to overpay for the wrong assets. Some are exposing themselves to corruption investigators abroad and also at home for huge kickbacks paid and received.

It is only a matter of time before such antics are exposed in Australia. And in Africa, unlike China, they don’t often get what they pay for.