We’ve had impassioned discussions about Tibet this year. But the controversies surrounding China has not just been about Tibet – they have also been about Africa.
In anticipation of a series of posts on Africa, I thought I would put a few feelers out to see if people on this forum would be interested in discussing the topic, and if so, where people initially stand.
In brief: in its search for resources and markets, China has approached Africa as a legitimate, equal business partner. In stark contrast with the West, China has not chosen not to attach any political strings (reforms relating to human rights, fiscal policies, democracy, for example) in much of her dealings with African nations.
Some see China’s no-strings attached approach as an opportunity for Africa to finally break free from the shadows of Western Imperialism and the resulting cycles of poverty. Others however see China’s approach to Africa as a type of neo-colonialism in itself.
Recently I came across a short video program that features both views.
I am not here (not in this post anyways) to defend or accuse China. As I mentioned above, I just want to put out feelers to lay out the issues.
One thing I’d probably take issue with though is the notion that Africa is a “dark continent” that needs someone else’s stewardship. I really don’t think Africa is either the West’s or China’s responsibility to develop. If anyone argues otherwise, we might as well (in my view) be arguing for officially making Africa someone else’s formal colonies again …
A book I recently came across by Vijay Mahajan called “Africa Rising” showed how dynamic, capable, and optimistic its people are/can be. Here is a short video clip of the author discussing the book:
P.S. Yes I just got back from a visit to Taiwan and the Mainland. I’ll put up a short picturelog later next week if my pictures turn out half decent. Look forward to reconnecting with everyone here!