The United States have been accused rightly or
wrongly of not using their considerable power to benefit other nations. But
whatever you may think of the US’s performance as a superpower, the staggering
growth of China should be of far greater concern than any of Amercia’s ills. The
willingness of China to support corrupt and brutal regimes was explained by
Vivienne Walt in Fortune (27/02) in an article regarding Chinese
investment in Africa. Walt noted that:

China refuses to join in Western [any]
rebuke of African corruption and human-rights abuses. Much like the militant
Islamic officals in Tehran – another of China’es key oil supplier – many
African leaders regard China as a balance to Western Meddling. Heavily dependent
on Sudanese oil important, China last year used its permanent
seat on the UN Security Council to block genocide charges against Sudan for the
massacures in Dafur.

Equally concerning is China’s attitude to one
of the world’s most brutal dictators, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe. While the west
is taking steps (albeit small ones) against Mugabe’s regime, Chine seems more
forgiving, perhaps, as Walt noted, because Zimbabwe is world’s second largest
exporter of platinum (a key import in China’s auto industry). Fortune
further outlined the links between the two countries, claiming

Chinese radio-jamming devices block Zimbabwe’s dissident
broadcasts, and Chinese workers built Mugabe’s new $9 million home,
featuring a blue tiled roof donated by the Chinese Government.
While Western politicians rallied against Mugabe last year for
flattening entire shantytowns, China was supplying him with fighter
jets and troop carriers worth about $240 million in exchange for
imports of oil and tobacco.

There you have it, not only does China have some
serious human rights issues of its own, it seems to be actively supporting other
countries who flagerantly violate and persecute their citizens, all in the name
of cheap oil.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey