KHARTOUM, Sudan – Nine Chinese oil workers were kidnapped in an oil-rich region of southwesternin the latest attack on China's interests in the African country, officials said Sunday.
Sudanese officials blamed a central government for five years, claimed responsibility.rebel group for Saturday's kidnapping, calling it a stab at development efforts in Sudan. The attack took place outside the western Darfur region and none of the Darfur rebel groups, who have fought the
As we get more information I may have more thoughts, but for now I'll say that this reminds me of an article by Peter Hitchens last month. Basically, after almost getting killed by a murderous mob in Zambia, he wrote a withering and -- to be quite honest -- blathering anti-China piece titled "How China has created a new slave empire in China." I excerpt from the Daily Mail:
Read the article with a critical eye -- that is, ignore the part where he describes his narrow escape from death's grip, or whatever -- and you'll see this isn't an article at all: it's an op-ed, and a poorly conceived one. (Is it just me, or do most British articles seem terribly subjective and biased, not to mention poorly written?) For example, edit out some of Hitchens's select adjectives and this is what you get:
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.
In other words, when viewed with an objective eye instead of one from a guy who "was so nearly killed," there's no evidence that the enterprise is "wicked"; there's no evidence that the "promises" of those new roads, railways, etc., were, as Hitchens implies, empty promises; there's no evidence that the leavings are "wretched." And one has to ask -- the writer should have at least asked if not answered, which he does not -- why are they wretched if in fact they are "better than the near-starvation they otherwise face"?
It is my view that China's new version of imperialism in Africa is a(n) enterprise.
China offers both rulers and the ruled in Africa the simple advantages of exploitation.
For the governments, there are gargantuan loans, new roads, railways, hospitals and schools - in return for giving Peking a tax-free run at Africa's resources of oil, minerals and metals.
For the people, there are these leavings, which must be better than the near-starvation they otherwise face.
Here's the thing: we all know mining is a tough job, and we readily acknowledge it must be tougher in Africa than elsewhere. No one denies that. And no one denies the endemic poverty in many African countries, and the squalid conditions, and the diseases, and, yes, the exploitation. It's truly a tragedy, this on a continent that does not lack for tragedies. But to say China has "created a new slave empire" is rubbish. It also happens to be irresponsible and sensationalistic and stupid -- maybe we can blame the Mail's editors on that one, but we're not here to pass the buck.
Just read the section that starts...
...and you'll understand how unorganized and ill-conceived this article is. The question "who are we to lecture others" is never answered. Hitchens doesn't so much as attempt to write around it: he flat out drops it in favor of more China-bashing -- "Peking regards anything short of deep respect as insulting, and it does not forget a slight," etc.
It is noticeable that in much former British territory we have left behind plenty of good things and habits that are absent in the lands once ruled by rival empires.
Even so, with Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Uganda on our conscience, who are we to lecture others?
One more excerpt -- this is from the same piece, mind you:
[China] has cancelled Zambia's debts, eased Zambian exports to China, established a 'special economic zone' in the Copper Belt, offered to build a sports stadium, schools, a hospital and an anti-malaria centre as well as providing scholarships and dispatching experts to help with agriculture. Zambia-China trade is growing rapidly, mainly in the form of copper.
This is the great wretched doing of China's slave-drivers? Really?
What am I missing here?