I came across two writers today – by accident, really. On one hand is Zhang Hongwei, who labels himself an “international issue observer.” He writes in China Daily, “China not neocolonialist.” Zhang is annoyed at Western propaganda painting China a “neo-colonialist” in Africa. Never-mind slavery. Look at De Beers or BP or any other Western entities still exploiting the continent. Zhang writes:
Meanwhile, we can see that, even today, the pricing power of Africa’s most profitable mineral resources is still firmly held by Western multinational corporations, and as a result, African countries have benefited little from the exploitation of their resources. This is why African countries universally welcome China’s involvement and insist on cooperation with China.
On the other hand is Reason Wafawarova, a political writer from Zimbabwe on the continent of Africa, who writes, “Intellectual Responsibility – the Bane of Writers.” He says:
When Zimbabwean intellectuals and writers minimise or deny the ruinous and murderous nature of the atrocities caused by the illegally imposed Western sanctions — this is a matter of honour in as far as the West is concerned. This glaring irrationality is rewarded as objective intellectualism, and those that insist that the illegal sanctions are hurting the poor the most are derided as deplorable sidekicks of a “ruthless Mugabe regime”.
(I recommend a read of both articles.)
It was only few posts ago on this very blog, raventhorn2000 wrote, “Love of PR in a time of the stupid and the gullible.”
To PR or not to PR?
I suppose Zhang and Wafawarova would be happy to hear if someone could explain to them how “truth” can be brought to the West. Any way to combat this propaganda in the West? I think the short answer is no. No amount of money can be spent to have a larger voice against this “concerted” smearing campaign.
I think it would be “fruitful” for Zhang and Wafawarova to compare notes so they can see the pattern of behavior from the West from multiple angles. If they would like to engage in PR, I think it would serve them well to more clearly educate their own population what’s happening around the world, so they can make day to day decisions which would preclude themselves from further exploitation. That’s the best they can hope for.
It’s really about going for the truth (as I have commented in raventhorn2000’s post).
It’s not about truth, it’s about eye for an eye. Just ignore their accusations and then say the same thing about them. To be fair, there is also quite a large voice in the West that argues China is beneficial for Africa. The whole neocolonialism thing is just some scapegoat used to slander anyone that does anything in Africa. Fact is no multinational from any country is truly forcing anything on Africans, it is Africa’s money-strapped nations that can’t help but sell their resources at dirt cheap prices. If the West wants to limit their own trade with sanctions just because they don’t agree with certain regimes, that’s their loss. China’s current model of “strictly business” and no interventionism is perfect for snapping up resources they’ve overlooked.
Good points, xian.
r v says
While there is inevitably some clash of cultures between Chinese people and other people, just by the shear amount of Chinese business and influence around the world today, I would hardly call the Chinese influence in Africa “neo-colonialist.”
Here are some serious differences:
(1) Chinese businesses abroad are not done at the point of a gun (or gun boats), unlike the neo-colonialist history of the West.
True, many countries choose to deal with China, because they rather NOT want to be living under the choke holds of Western Sanctions.
So in a way, Western “guns” are driving those countries into doing business with China.
But in reality, the West is still practicing “colonialism”, justified with “human rights” instead of “business rights”.
And in that sense, Obviously, China appears to be the LESSER “colonialist” in comparison. (Hence, China gets the business.)
Charles Liu says
Is China exploiting Africa in any colonist MO to deserve such label?
Now that US-based arms smuggler Victor Bout is in jail, I seem to remember snickering at Mia Farrow’s “China sending mechetes to Darfur” cry – Victory Bout at the time was transporting arms to Iraq under CIA oversight, and diverted actual weapons to Darfur to fuel Darfur conflict:
Here is a video by somebody that has actually studied this subject in depth.
“One of China’s big advantages is that “the Chinese have no mission, no intention at all to change Africa,” agrees Dowden.
He adds: “There’s still a narrative in our minds in the West that Africa is backward and Africans have got to become like us — ‘we have got to change them’ — I think that Africans feel that and the young African generation that’s coming through are now very resentful of that.””
I predict, we will soon enough see a Western Media or Politician warning about China’s “neo-Colonialism” in the Pacific Island nations.
*So, just to be clear, bookmark this article, 09/07/2011, On this date, US Diplomat, Kurt Campbell, OFFICIALLY ASKED Chinese investors to help Pacific Island nations. It’s the US government’s idea.
OK, now let the “neo-colonialism” take over of Pacific Island Nations begin! 🙂
For more of China in Africa: The Real Story check out Deborah Brautigam’s site http://www.chinaafricarealstory.com/
I believe, China (and perhaps Russia) should go on the Offensive in this current era of “smear campaigning” on investment deals.
It is clear that the Western governments and media are actively “smearing” China (and others) in any investments abroad.
China needs to hit back, examine all the books for all the Western investments, expose their REAL dirty secrets, ie. corruptions, blackmails, etc.
Strauss-Kahn affair showed us just a hint of the REAL corruption underneath IMF/World Bank/USAID/etc.