Sunday, September 28, 2008

China -- the New Belgium?

Peter Hitchens has a fascinating (and depressing on many levels) story in the Daily Mail on what he sees as China's growing slave empire in Africa. Here's a taste:

The diggers feared - and their evil, sinister bosses had worked hard on that fear - that if people like me publicised their filthy way of life, then the mine might be closed and the $3 a day might be taken away.

I can give you no better explanation in miniature of the wicked thing that I believe is now happening in Africa.

Out of desperation, much of the continent is selling itself into a new era of corruption and virtual slavery as China seeks to buy up all the metals, minerals and oil she can lay her hands on: copper for electric and telephone cables, cobalt for mobile phones and jet engines - the basic raw materials of modern life.

It is crude rapacity, but to Africans and many of their leaders it is better than the alternative, which is slow starvation.

It is my view - and not just because I was so nearly killed - that China's cynical new version of imperialism in Africa is a wicked enterprise.

China offers both rulers and the ruled in Africa the simple, squalid advantages of shameless exploitation.

For the governments, there are gargantuan loans, promises of new roads, railways, hospitals and schools - in return for giving Peking a free and tax-free run at Africa's rich resources of oil, minerals and metals.

For the people, there are these wretched leavings, which, miserable as they are, must be better than the near-starvation they otherwise face.

There's a lot more at the link above. An interesting angle is that China' move into Africa is not out of some racially bigoted paternalism mixed with greed. It is strictly rapacity. The mine bosses sometimes beat the workers, in the opinion of some, because they seem to think the Africans disrespect them because they're not White. Communism, greed, and cultural ignorance between the West and the Chinese. Who gets caught in the middle? Africans.

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