China Has To Play a Role in Divided Africa

In Kenya’s Daily Nation, writer Ken Kamoche writes about China’s responsibilities in Africa:

If China could stop hiding behind the so-called non-interference principle, and exercise a little more of its clout with Myanmar and Sudan, its credibility would be substantially enhanced.

This is where concerns about China’s ability to handle criticism become important. The imminent Beijing Olympics have already generated a fair bit of controversy with the inevitable linking of sports to politics, something China rejects. Yet, as far as I know, China was among the nations that boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Iran and China, citing “political reasons”. On that occasion, China seemed untroubled by the link between politics and sports.

China should not be surprised if critics now link the Beijing games to China’s policy on Darfur. In both cases, the political issues touch on the much-vaunted national sovereignty and reflect a widely shared revulsion at the widespread abuse of human rights.

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