Though most of us consider colonialism to be a thing of the past, some recent developments in Africa may change that. In nearly every country in Africa’s southern tip, Chinese investors are buying up natural resources for use in Chinese made products.
Oftentimes when a foreign country buys up national resources, it employ domestic workers to mine, log, or otherwise remove the resources. However, Chinese companies have been buying resources from African nations and bringing in Chinese workers. This prevents money from entering the African economies, aside from what is being paid for the resources.
These practices are uncommon, but not unheard of. The critics of China’s actions accuse China of getting natural resources from Africa while supporting oppressive regimes, such as the regimes in Angola, since 2006.
Anthony Kuhn is an NPR reporter based in Beijing.
“They…accuse China of supporting Sudan’s government in keeping U.N. peacekeepers out of its troubled Darfur region,” Kuhn said in a 2006 radio report.
The Sudanese President, Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, denied allegations, and thanked China for their support.
“We have our traditional ways of resolving conflicts in the Darfur area, and we’ve been doing it this way for years,” Hassan Al-Bashir said in a press conference. “The conflict this time is due to interference from outside, including from neighboring countries and foreign states, particularly the U.S.”
The current situation is similar. China has been buying most of its oil from Angola, an African country on the south western tip of the continent while bringing in Chinese workers rather than hiring Angolan workers.
Angola’s laws do not allow for discrimination against most marginalized groups, and the government control of media makes it difficult to know the state of human rights there. Additionally, the justice system has often been critiqued by many groups, such as Human Rights Watch, a watchdog group, for being biased while the security forces in the area have been accused of human rights abuses.
Many supporters of China’s actions contest that the actions in African nations cannot be considered neo-colonialism. Washington Post’s Deborah Bräutigam cites China’s loans that helped Uganda build infrastructure.
“Loans from China helped Uganda build a speedy new road to its main airport,” said Bräutigam in a Washington Post article.
However, evidence of China’s continued support of autocratic regimes in exchange for natural resources is still rampant.
By Alexandria Hyers, Spread Editor