The Blog

Sorry About the Massacres, It's Just Business

5:59 PM, Mar 15, 2006 • By DANIEL MCKIVERGAN
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From a Fortune magazine piece on Beijing's activities in Africa:

...African governments view China as a more cooperative partner than the West. China has refused to back regular Western rebukes of African corruption and human-rights abuses and last year used its permanent seat on the UN Security Council to block genocide charges against Sudan--source of about 7% of China's oil--for the massacres in Darfur. "The U.S. will talk to you about governance, about efficiency, about security, about the environment," says Mustafa Bello, head of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, who has visited China seven times. "The Chinese just ask, 'How do we procure this license?'"

China has become the biggest foreign investor in Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe's policies have beggared the country and left millions homeless. Zimbabwe doesn't have oil, but it is the world's second-largest exporter of platinum, a key import for China's auto industry. Chinese radio-jamming devices block Zimbabwe's dissident broadcasts, and Chinese workers built Mugabe's new $9 million home, featuring a blue-tiled roof donated by the Chinese government. While Western politicians railed against Mugabe last year for flattening entire shantytowns, China was supplying him with fighter jets and troop carriers worth about $240 million, in exchange for imports of gold and tobacco.

I'm sure Beijing will be more helpful on the other pressing issues facing the Security Council.