Now Daily Analysis
For the millions of Africans who suffer daily under the yoke of Chinese intrusion in Africa, the razzmatazz that was the recent China-Africa Forum was a celebration of the continent’s conquest by new masters.
Many Africans now see China as the new face of Western imperialism.
Dictators like Robert Mugabe took advantage of the recent China-Africa Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa to heap praises on the continent’s new colonial master. As chairman of the African Union, Mugabe gave the ‘wrong’ speech, which did not represent the deep-seated anger and frustration of many Africans with the Chinese.
While Mugabe’s speech blasting Western imperialism and heaping praises on the Chinese might appeal to the ignorant and impoverished masses he usually addresses in his own country, on the global stage it sounded hollow and contrived.
China may promise Africa $60 billion in infrastructure loans. But that cannot take away the fact that China’s $4 trillion national booty is banked and invested in the United States. The minerals and resources China is looting in Africa are going to make goods that will still be sold in the West, making more comfortable the lives of the people we thought we had defeated.
It sounds like an old argument but Mugabe should have sensed the mood of the continent. Having grown up during an era of puppet-masters and puppets, the 92 year old ruler seems to think that puppetry is still the game in town. It is not. The younger generation, buoyed by technology and the freedom of thought that information and education engender, is looking for a new paradigm, where Africans can be masters of their own destiny and not continual beggars looking to the west and east for economic salvation.
Who doesn’t know what damage the Chinese presence has done in Africa? Many know that Africa is the dumping ground for counterfeit goods from China, known in Zimbabwe as ‘zhing zhong’. This is the place where sub-standard Chinese arms and antiquated military equipment and ideas are dumped. Africa is where China is propping up murderous dictators like Mugabe, dos Santos of Angola and Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Mbasogo Obiang Nguema in exchange for access to diamonds, oil and other resources, as well as slave labour.
According to a United States government report, Chinese construction sites in Zimbabwe are virtual slave yards, where locals endure beatings, poor pay and rape.
Wherever you turn in the country, there is evidence of Chinese looting: abandoned chrome mines that are now death traps to the locals, dangerous rail and air services where big money was blown by Beijing and Harare officials but where the planes and trains were never delivered.
What the Chinese will most be remembered for is propping up the dictatorship after Mugabe was defeated by the opposition in 2008. The United Nations Security Council was ready to sanction Mugabe for the murder of thousands of people by his militias after he lost the vote. The Chinese stood in the way and scuttled the sanctions vote in exchange for diamonds, which they have been looting relentlessly in the Marange fields, platinum and gold concessions which they got at the expense of the locals.
Chinese president Xi Jinping was in Harare recently to sign several more deals with Mugabe. They will certainly benefit the people in power, but for impoverished Zimbabweans, this could just mean more suffering under the Chinese colonial yoke, which many say is heavier than that of the British.
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