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China

This category contains 65 posts

Bribing to Get Oil Rights

  Gaining preferential access to potentially lucrative petroleum deposits always attracts ambitious prospectors, in Africa as in Asia and Latin America. Often procuring such preferences can only be accomplished by knowing the politically prominent right persons, or by purchasing the necessary influence and permits. That is precisely what apparently occurred when a former Hong Kong … Continue reading

South Africa’s Corruption Embroils China

  South Africa’s massive corruption scandals are now enmeshing China and Chinese corporations. In the latest iteration, an especially created subsidiary of China South Rail is accused of facilitating a multi-million dollar scheme to enrich cabinet ministers and the heads of South African state-owned enterprises. Also benefiting from the arrangement is the shady Gupta family … Continue reading

In Zimbabwe, Mnangagwa’s Rise is Democracy Delayed

Vice-President Emmerson (Crocodile) Mnangagwa, 75, has decisively won the battle to succeed Zimbabwe’s heavy-handed President Robert Mugabe, 93, thanks to a bloodless military coup (the leading generals call it a “correction”). Mr. Mugabe’s resignation on Tuesday seals the seismic shift that has engulfed the southern African country. But Zimbabwe is not about to become a … Continue reading

Grace Mugabe May Spark a Deadly Presidential Succession

When the scheming spouse attempts to take power and prominence away from a long-time heir-apparent, victory is rarely guaranteed in family or corporate struggles. Nor is such a triumph certain in politics. In today’s Zimbabwe, however, Grace Mugabe, President Robert Mugabe’s wife, has prevailed upon her husband to oust his veritable presumed successor, vice-president (until … Continue reading

Chinese Company Fires HIV-Positive Workers

One of China’s largest and most powerful construction companies, with operations all over Africa, discharges local employees if they test positive for HIV. The firm insists that its workers be tested for HIV and then, obtaining the test results directly from the testing clinic, fires those whose results affirm their HIV status. Aggrieved employees recently … Continue reading

China’s Emerging Soft Power: the African Case

As the Trump administration in the United States largely turns it back on Africa, China has successfully extended its soft power across much of the continent.  For a decade or so, China has seeded critical parts of Africa with Confucius Institutes, where students and citizens alike can learn about China and Chinese culture. China has … Continue reading

How Chinese Traders Out-Compete in Africa

In the high-density suburbs of Lusaka, Zambia’s capital, local chicken sellers complain that Chinese traders are stealing their customers by getting up earlier each morning, successfully outcompeting the traditional indigenous vendors.  “They get to the markets too early,” they told me when I asked about Chinese petty merchants in Lusaka. “Their chickens are cheaper, too,” … Continue reading

China in Patagonia and Space: New Revelations

China’s space program has been strengthened by the construction of a satellite tracking station toward the southern tip of Argentina. It is the largest and best-equipped Chinese overseas base of its kind, and is finally operational this month. It promises to bolster ambitious Chinese plans to explore the moon and planets.  The satellite tracking and … Continue reading

The Killing Fields of Africa

Why do Africans kill each other so easily? Atrocities abound, whether in Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, South Sudan or Zimbabwe. Even South Africans, in fits of xenophobia, attack outsiders. Some of these episodes of murderous mayhem rise to the scale of genocide, as defined and prohibited … Continue reading

Africa’s Famine Should be Canada’s Moment to Lead

At the very moment when acute hunger has made hardscrabble South Sudanese, Somalis and Yemenis the world’s most vulnerable people – in their millions – so the rise of xenophobic populism in Europe and the United States has made the provision of meaningful assistance much less likely. President Donald Trump’s ham-fisted retreat from soft power … Continue reading