China’s decision to turn the ship around was welcomed by the dock workers, trade unionists, religious leaders, Western diplomats and human rights workers who have been campaigning since last week to block delivery of the weaponry to Zimbabwe.
They had said the weaponry could be used to carry out an even more violent crackdown on Zimbabwe’s political opposition, which is allied with the country’s unionized workers.
…China’s strategic retreat in delivering the weapons also allows it to avoid Zimbabwe-related protests over its human rights record before it hosts the Olympic Games this summer. The run-up to the games has already been marked by anti-China protests over its suppression of protesters in Tibet and its supply of arms to the government of Sudan. Almost a month after Zimbabwe’s presidential election, authorities there have still not released the results. Independent monitors say Zimbabwe’s longtime strongman, President Robert Mugabe, trailed well behind the opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai in the election.