From Howard W. French in the International Herald Tribune:
[…] Western governments led by London and Washington look at Mugabe’s rule and see such a clear-cut case of evil that they are at a loss to understand why the rest of Africa – or China, for that matter, a Security Council member with fast-deepening ties with the continent – doesn’t rush to join in on their condemnation.
[…] Paranoid African dictators look at the calls to denounce Mugabe and worry they might be next. The more democratically inclined know better. They see Washington’s embrace of dictators in places like Equatorial Guinea, or even former enemies, like the robber baron former Marxists who run Angola, and see a pattern of highly selective outrage. Might the fact that these countries – to name but two – are swimming in oil have something to do with escaping the Mugabe treatment?
China looks at this inconsistency, too, and naturally suspects it is being discriminated against. The only African country that has drawn more Western critical fire than Zimbabwe recently is Sudan, for its genocidal campaign in Darfur. It’s an emerging oil power, too, but unlike so many African kleptocracies, its product flows east, not west.
Also see previous CDT post China’s Role in Zimbabwe.