Monday, December 27, 2004

China seems determined to scour every corner of the world for oil. Chinese capital has settled down in Canadian tar sands, Iranian natural gas and Venezuelan oil fields. Now it seems the Middle Kingdom is playing post-colonial puppeteer in Africa, a role once reserved for Europeans and Americans but sure to bring similiar results.
China's transformation from an insular, agrarian society into a key force in the global economy has spawned a voracious appetite for raw materials, sending its companies to distant points of the globe in pursuit -- sometimes to lands shunned by the rest of the world as rogue states. China's relationship with Sudan has become particularly deep, demonstrating that Beijing's commercial relations are intensifying human rights concerns outside its borders and clashing with US policies and interests.

Sudan is China's largest overseas oil project. China is Sudan's largest supplier of arms, according to a former Sudan government minister. Chinese-made tanks, fighter planes, bombers, helicopters, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades have intensified Sudan's north-south civil war. A cease-fire is in effect and a peace agreement is expected to be signed by year-end. But the fighting in Sudan's Darfur region rages on, as government-backed Arab militias push African tribes off their land. . . .

From its seat on the United Nations Security Council, China has been Sudan's chief diplomatic ally. In recent months, the council has neared votes on a series of resolutions aimed at pressuring Sudan's predominantly Arab government to protect the African tribes under attack in Darfur and stop support for militias by threatening to sanction its oil sales. China has threatened to veto such actions. . . .

Just as colonial powers once supplied African chieftains the military means to maintain control as they extracted natural resources, China is propping up a rogue regime to get what it needs.
Isn't it grand to see global empire becoming a truly multicultural color-blind endeavor?


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