Debunking Myth of China exploiting Africa Again!
I have watched this debate much earlier but caught up in too many things to bring it to your attention. In order to go further it is advisable to watch an earlier talk given by professor Deborah Brautigam earlier on the same subject. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=BZfDYnOLw5w
The debate was hosted by Intelligence Squared at Cadogan Hall in London. And the motion was “Beware the Dragon: Africa Should Not Look to China”
For the motion: Ghanaian intellectual George Ayittey and Ana Maria Gomez, European Parliamentarian from Portugal. Against the motion: Deborah Brautigam, Professor in the School of International Service at American University and Stephen Chan, Dean of Arts and Sciences at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies).
What really bugs me was the poor research done by both Ayittey and Gomez. The former when confronted with the fact that China did not colonize any country, retorted that China colonized Tibet and is threatening Taiwan. Both of them obviously got their “facts” from reading mainstream news of the West. Gomez even ended her talk by mentioning Ai Wei Wei. Instead of relying on numbers and stats they filled their talks with empty rhetoric of transparency and human rights.
Stephen Chan mentioned that he was a peacekeeper in Mozambique. He mentioned the good will China has generated in supporting the then rebels to help overthrow colonialism in Africa. Another interesting point of view was given by a member of the audience who is from Sudan, to him, China’s involvement actually brought about improvement in Sudan.
Both Brautigam and Chan actually have to waste some of their valuable speech time to defend issues that are not part of the debate. Namely, since China has such bad environmental and human rights records as reported in the western press, China is by nature bad. However, their research and presentation paid off, the result was that most member of the audience who is undecided voted for them. (There is a poll taken before the debate. For the Motion: 154. Against 106, and Undecided 126. When the debate was over, the audience was polled again. For the Motion: 149. Against 212 and Undecided 25.) Despite the exemplary performance given by them, those audience who hold the view that China is doing bad things in Africa barely changed from 154 to 149. This clearly showed that those who had made up their mind will not changed even when presented with overwhelming evidence showing otherwise.
The debate will automatically play in segments and is about an hour long.