Sunday, April 29, 2007

China is facing backlash in Africa

Financial Times
Published: 29/04/2007 12:00 AM (UAE)

Chinese state companies have been expanding across the African continent in pursuit of raw materials at an accelerating pace and with apparently far less attention to risk than some of their western peers.

Their push for minerals and mineral rights began in southern Sudan where the Chinese oil company CNOOC began building oil pipelines in the late 1990s, long before separatist rebels had struck a deal with the Khartoum regime to end decades of civil war.

But despite the ever-greater presence of Chinese workers in far-flung corners of Africa - working on roads, mines, pipelines and other projects - there have been relatively few reported incidents in which they have fallen victim to violence or been ensnared in the complex realities of localised conflicts.

Last week's attack on an oil exploration site in eastern Ethiopia in which nine Chinese were killed and at least five more taken hostage, was the single deadliest incident involving the Chinese in Africa to date. At least 65 Ethiopians were also killed in the attack.

It underlines the potential for a backlash against China's involvement on the continent where this can be compromised by a reliance on regimes with poor human rights records and enemies among their own people. FULL ARTICLE LINK

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