Tuesday, September 30, 2008

China's Slave Empire

Socialist Banner in the past has frerquently drawn attention to the economic invasion of Africa by China and so we can only concur with Peter Hitchins , the controversial writer/journalist , when he states :
"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."

Peking regards Zambia as a great prize, alongside its other favoured nations of Sudan (oil), Angola (oil) and Congo (metals). It 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.

Mr Sata, a populist politician and the leader of the Patriotic Front says:
"The Chinese are not here as investors, they are here as invaders...Wherever our Chinese "brothers" are they don't care about the local workers," . He complains, that Chinese companies have lax safety procedures and treat their African workers like dirt. and he claims: "They employ people in slave conditions."

A government minister, Alice Simago, was shown weeping on TV after she saw at first hand the working conditions at a Chinese-owned coal mine in the Southern Province.

Denis Lukwesa, deputy general secretary of the Zambian Mineworkers' Union, said:
"They just don't understand about safety. They are more interested in profit."

China's Congo deal - worth almost £5billion in loans, roads, railways, hospitals and schools - was offered after Western experts demanded tougher anti-corruption measures in return for more aid.
In the 'Democratic Republic of the Congo', currently listed as the most corrupt nation on Earth.
A North-American businessman who runs a copper smelting business in Katanga Province told me how his firm tried to obey safety laws.
They are constantly targeted by official safety inspectors because they refuse to bribe them. Meanwhile, Chinese enterprises nearby get away with huge breaches of the law - because they paid bribes.

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