Is China Colonizing Africa?
As the economic crisis goes on and the power seems to be shifting from the prosperous West toward the industrious Far East, China seems to emerge as a very important world power, the second-largest economy in the world, and the most populous too.
In this economic whirlpool, where all Western economic seem to sink one after another, China seems some sort of anchor, in continuous economic growth, always ready to lend money to the Western countries, to buy bounds from their markets and to release the pressure from over the shoulders of the United States and Europe.
Though it has its own set of problems back home, most of them related to human rights observance and the secession movements of the Uighurs or Tibetans, China is asserting its power on the economic field, and not only.
China has a plan to develop a world military power, capable of projecting a military might at least in the region of Asia.
On Wednesday, the first air carrier was launched, and two more are under way, with the prospect of becoming operational in no more than ten years.
Its military is building submarines and surface ships, anti-ship missiles, and study even stealth technology.
But the greatest concern of the Western countries should not be the military development of China, which is considered still far away from matching that of the U.S. army and NATO, but its growing influence in the part of the world where the population goes through the worst life conditions – Africa.
Africa was a target for colonialism since the days the Spanish and Portuguese have discovered a way to reach what they called the Indies. Its rich resources, its low standard of life and low costs have been attractive to the Western empires for centuries.
Whether they took hold of parts of the continent altogether establishing colonies and living on the continent or they hunted down African men and women to sell them as slaves, the Western nations had a colonial relationship with Africa, that resulted in a long-standing distrust for the “white man” both on African soil or in the American countries where the exploitation of African people left indelible marks.
Rwanda genocide in 1994 was caused by a colonial division of people into Hutus and Tutsis; the split of Sudan was caused by the fact that the southern half became Christian in the colonial era; the apartheid regime in South Africa was no more than a colony that kept the populations of Africa working for the markets in the Western world; the conflict situation in different countries is due to the vestiges of colonial era.
When they broke free, the African nations set out their own goals: they pledged to become democratic societies, in the likeness of their colonial masters, to have rights, to respect human life and rights, and to make a good life for their people.
As the decades went by though, only a handful of African countries were successful in doing so: South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, or Namibia were able to resemble to some extent the democratic world. The others sank one by one into dictatorship, underdevelopment, and lack of respect for human life.
The most striking crimes against humanity were committed on African soil, by African people against African people. As the famine kills hundreds of thousands of Somalis, the preoccupation of the political leaders is how they make themselves respected by the community. They even block the international community the humanitarian aid, telling the whole world that there is no famine in Somalia, it is only Western propaganda. The same happens in countries like Zimbabwe, or Equatorial Guinea, or Malawi. Or in Libya, which is also an African country.
The African model of society seems to have no chance to stand on its own, and the African people seem doomed to return to a new form of colonialism.
Here is where China steps in. China has no ill blood history with the continent of the African people. By the time the African were slaves or under colonial rule, China itself was divided between the most important seven European powers, so they share the colonial era in quite a different manner.
China comes with money, not with ideologies the African man has a problem even understanding, let alone putting into practice.
China comes with the system “two systems one country,” a mixed form of together living of Communist and capitalist principles. It comes to a continent where Communist parties exist from South Africa, where the South African Congress that ended apartheid is a Communist party and rules the country, to Libya, where Muammar al Qaddafi has been striving to create some sort of Communist paradise with Arab features in it.
Between 2000 and 2011 China has increased its trade with Africa six times, reaching $40 billion. It buys a third of its oil from Africa, from Nigeria, where it invested some $1.5 billion, from Sudan, where it built a 900-mile pipeline, and from Angola, where it spent almost $ 1 billion.
When the new republic was founded in South Sudan, China was the first one to see the economic opportunity and promise extensive contracts with the government in Jaba.
Beijing is investing in mines in Zambia, textile factories in Lesotho, railways in Uganda, and many other business opportunities.
If China is to keep up the economic boom, it must expand into this part of the world, where it must find a huge market and a reservoir of natural resources.
The competition for dominance of natural resources is opened and China prefers to invest in one of the natural resources richest part of the world, where it can exercise dominance unchallenged.
China comes to Africa looking for natural resources, and natural resources is what it finds in great amounts. Its form of respect for observing human rights makes it possible to negotiate with all the people Western Europe or the United States would never accept to talks to.
Nobody cares in Beijing that Omar al-Bashir has an international warrant on his head. He also has (used to have) immense resources of oil, vital for China, which will consume as its economy becomes more and more powerful. So they negotiated with him.
Robert Gabriel Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe thanked China today for the program it implemented in his country. The money China gave Mugabe to solve the problems in his country could keep him in office for another decade. He rules in an authoritarian way, and has a lot of people on his conscious. The Chinese do not care about that.
As China extends its rein in the sub-Saharian Africa, resentment grows among the population that is being conquered by the new colonists.
Fear grows more and more as China supports mainly countries with immense resources and bad governments, without hiring the indigenous population to work on their projects.
There is even a fear that at a certain point in time China will want to move a part of its ever-growing population to the vast areas of Africa.11