Now that the China-Africa summit is over, the media throughout Africa is publishing more critical reports of China’s recent surge of activity and investment in Africa. From Zimbabwe’s Financial Gazette:
Admittedly, China is now indisputably a key player in the global economy. But that is not the real reason why it has become fashionable for every tinpot little dictator from Africa to take the well-beaten track to Beijing. The answer lies in China’s open-ended foreign policy, which the country’s Prime Minister Wen Jiabao early this year said was defined by “the principle of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and non-interference”.
All this means is that China which, probably looking at itself, Singapore and South Korea believes, as observed by Benjamin Barber, that capitalism works best in autocratic states, turns a blind eye to immoral political behaviour when choosing its friends. There is a political gloss over the extent and reality of the horrific crimes against humanity committed by some of these dictatorships.
China creates the impression that these are sovereign states and their relations with it are the ultimate expression of their sovereignty. Thus it doesn’t give a tinker’s cuss what the world or those suffering under the jackboots of these dictatorships think about this issue. This explains why it has used its veto power in the United Nations Security Council to protect known dictators. [Full text]