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Thread: Is China the new colonialist?

  1. #1
    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Is China the new colonialist?

    Much has been made of the various deals that China and Africa have made, and because of the ANC's communist background there are strong links that have existed between SA and China for quite some time.

    It seems that Zambia has a story of caution for those looking to profit from the resource consuming beast that China is - maybe a case of give an inch, take a mile.

    Beijing put up the money to build Zambia China Mulungushi Textiles and provided the expertise to run it. It grew to become the biggest textile mill in the country, manufacturing 17-million metres of fabric a year and 100 000 pieces of clothing, and winning international awards for the quality of its cloth. The mill employed more than 1 000 people, propped up the economy of Kabwe in northern Zambia and kept thousands of cotton growers in business.

    But last month the factory shut down production, strangled by a new wave of Chinese interest across Africa that some critics say amounts to little more than another round of foreign plunder, as Beijing extracts minerals and other natural resources at knock-down prices while battering the continent's economies with a flood of subsidised goods and surplus labour.

    Hostility is such in some quarters that the Chinese President, Hu Jintao, on an eight-country tour of Africa to promote Beijing's blossoming trade relationship with the continent, cancelled plans to launch a $200-million smelter at a Chinese-owned Zambian copper mine at the weekend because of miners' anger at working conditions. He also faced protests from the sacked Mulungushi factory workers.
    __________

    "Our textile factories can't compete with cheap Chinese imports subsidised by a foreign government. People are saying: 'We've had bad people before. The whites were bad, the Indians were worse but the Chinese are worst of all.'"

    Read, "Thanks China, now go home" on M&G Online
    Which makes me ask the question, will Africa keep making deals that are bad for it?
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    People are saying: 'We've had bad people before. The whites were bad, the Indians were worse but the Chinese are worst of all.'"
    Ouch!!!

    Or is it a case of no-one is good enough in the eyes of these people? What exactly would make a good trade partner?

    If you keep having problems with everyone you meet and deal with, maybe the other people aren't the real problem??

    Just tossing some thoughts out there
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    If you keep having problems with everyone you meet and deal with, maybe the other people aren't the real problem??
    Yes, that's what I was kinda alluding to. I suppose it comes down to a question of what is being traded, and what value that holds for each party. Maybe the Chinese are just much more systematic about getting what they want. Heard on Cape Talk 567 that the trade deficit between China and us is around $3billion (under correction wrt amounts, possibly even decimal places).

    If we have what they want (resources) then what is it that we want that we are effectively undervaluing?
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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsd View Post
    Heard on Cape Talk 567 that the trade deficit between China and us is around $3billion (under correction wrt amounts, possibly even decimal places).
    Got some backup on that one (from an M&G article, "Hu to cement ties with South Africa"),

    China has become South Africa's second-largest import trading partner in 2005 and eighth-largest export partner, according to the foreign ministry.

    But the balance remains heavily tipped in Beijing's favour. By the end of 2005, South Africa was exporting around $1,2-billion worth of goods to China while the level of imports was worth $4,35-billion.
    Further,

    "China ... wants our support on the UN Security Council during our two-year membership," Business Day's Jonathan Katzenellenbogen wrote on Tuesday, highlighting South Africa's controversial recent decision to join China in opposing a United States-led resolution urging democratic reform in Burma.

    South Africa has stood by China in the face of criticism that Beijing is only interested in plundering Africa's mineral and oil wealth and is dumping cheap and shoddy goods here.

    Mbeki has stated that China will not "replicate the historic colonial economic relationship in terms of which Africa served as a source of raw materials and a market for goods manufactured in the countries of the colonisers".
    I find that pretty disturbing. Who's got the wool over their eyes here?
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    What have AIDS, crime and China got in common?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    What have AIDS, crime and China got in common?


    There is unfortunately not a "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" smilie
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    There's quite nice piece on Clem Sunter's view on this issue on Fin24 here. I think this little snippet pretty well somes up the situation in a nutshell.
    China had fervently defended accusations of neo-colonialism, saying unlike the European colonialist powers, they had no wish to impose the Chinese culture on Africa. "It is up to the other side to structure a deal that has long-term benefits for themselves," Chinese officials said.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    That's pretty much the reality of any business deal. Just one thought....just because they don't want to establish their culture does not necessarily imply that they are not interested in pulling the strings.
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    There is no free lunch!
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    I quite like the sentiment and tone expressed in this new report.
    China: World must do more for Africa

    Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday called on the world community to do more to help Africa as he opened the annual meeting of the African Development Bank in Shanghai.

    Debt relief and technology transfers were among the tools the wealthier nations could use to help boost growth in Africa, Wen said at the start of the much-anticipated two-day gathering in China's financial hub.

    "Africa needs to rely on itself to sustain development, but international support and systems are also indispensable," Wen told delegates.

    "We call on the international community to deliver on aid pledges to Africa and reduce and cancel African debt, improve its terms and market access, and increase technology transfers."

    These steps will help Africa towards "enhancing its capacity for self-development and to achieving sustainable social and economic development", the premier said.
    full story from M&G here
    Rather than waving the "you're duty bound to help us" flag (this maddening "rights" approach), I do so wish our leaders would take the "We're doing our best to get Africa on track - your kind assistance in this will help us succeed."
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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