China's Interfering Foreign Policy

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Over the weekend, China's Communist Party convened its Third Plenum Meeting to delineate reforms to guide its policy-making for the next decade. But this is not what we are going to discuss in this post, since we would like to take you in a different direction.

"When he is going to weaken another, he will first strengthen him;" (in Tao Te Ching)

It is public knowledge that China's foreign policy is usually summarised in a few words: minimum interference, maximum gain. But this is sheer sophistry.
On paper, China stays true to the "Non-interference in internal affairs" motto; meaning that the Red Dragon will turn a blind eye to repressive and corrosively corrupt regimes, if that means that it will have something to benefit from it. Many argue that the People's Republic's method is a diplomatic model to follow because it would spare the world a lot of trouble (these arguers say that because the US meddles in everything, and tries to give democratic lessons to everybody, it sees itself under constant threat) - but is that assumption true?
The more we look at the Chinese affairs, around the world, the more we are convinced that China betrays its own political spirit and interferes quite a lot in other countries (often in a very negative fashion). Look at Africa, for instance:

- Central African Republic: the Red Dragon signed oil and mineral contracts with the government of François Bozizé. When the latter was deposed (in a coup, earlier this year), and chaos broke out in CAR, it was business as usual for China: it continued to conduct its affairs, which is all very well but when the Séléka approached their mines and oil fields, what did the Chinese give the Islamic militant group exactly to be left alone? Did China give them weapons?

- Zimbabwe: the West has imposed sanctions (e.g. travel restrictions, assets freeze) against this African nation; but the Red Dragon stomped on the western penalty and offered Robert Mugabe (through its diamond business in Rhodesia) an opportunity to revitalise the economy of his country, to mock the West, to mock the democratic process, to repress his people even more, and to get richer...all Criticism-Free (could an analogy be made to Iran's case?).
Despite the ban of weapons sales, imposed by the US and Europe, China has been selling weaponry to Robert Mugabe, knowing that those arms will be used to repress Zimbabweans. Before such criticism, the Red Dragon said a few years ago that selling weapons to the ZANU-PF's regime is only "prudent and responsible".

"When he is going to overthrow another, he will first have raised him up;" (idem)

- Sudan: China invested heavily in the Sudanese oil industry (according to an Al-Jazeera documentary, the Chinese built the Heglig pipeline connected to Port Sudan with Chinese labour [the Red Dragon made sure only its imported countrymen would secure a job in the Sudanese project by placing instructions, in the facilities,  solely in Mandarin]. Omar al-Bashir didn't seem to mind the arrangement as long as China would keep giving him weapons, build roads and stadiums - to boast his image as a good ruler; while his Janjaweed persecuted, murdered and raped Christian Sudanese as part of the Arab plan to see Sudan "Zorka Free" (i.e. free of Black Africans). Chinese rifles and incendiary ammunition have been discovered in the Darfur region, an area subject to a UN weapons embargo - in the name of China's development, breaching the embargo it is a necessary harm.

- DR Congo: the Red Dragon invested in the "mining and untold billions of dollars worth of copper and cobalt with Congo’s state mining agency" [in Think Africa Press] in exchange for building roads, schools and hospitals. For some Congolese, China was much more welcoming than the US because the Chinese do not try to give them lessons on democracy and human rights: they simply pay the officials what needs to be paid, drain all the resources they need and that is it.
The Red Dragon conducted its business in DR Congo during the civil conflict (that ended last week) - where grave violations of human rights occurred - and even supplied weapons that fell into rebel hands (to ensure their mining activities would not be affected by the conflict).

"When he is going to despoil another, he will first have made gifts to him;" (idem) 

China has also fuelled conflicts in other countries like Somalia (where Chinese rocket-propelled grenades [RPGs] and General Purpose Machine Guns [GPMGs] have been seen and reports say that China is Al-Shabab's bigger arms supplier).
All the above examples reveal a clear pattern: China doesn't interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign countries (i.e. turns a blind eye to repression and crimes against humanity) but at the same time it does (i.e. fueling repression and crimes against humanity in many countries).

The hungry Red Dragon sticks its tongue in the beehive to eat honey; then to prevent others from supervising how he retrieves the sweet stuff, he finds ways for the swarm of bees to destroy their own house before he can be held accountable for his greed.

"Instruments for the profit of a state should not be shown to the people" (idem)

Comments

  1. China wants to be a world power but from where I see it I only see a political fallacy!

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    1. Hi Anonymous :D!

      A political fallacy...I like that, thanks :D.

      Anon, thank you so much for your input :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  2. Well written! And don't forget that China knows, better than any other nation, how to play the "Guan Xi", or relationship game. You give me a present, so I feel obliged to give you one. Then you give me one better, so I feel obliged to give you one better. But the Chinese play this game better than other nations, so many developing nations feel indebted to them.
    But it's sad when you realize that at the heart of the Chinese government is corruption. So even though they may become powerful as a nation, most of the citizens don't enjoy the perks of being a powerful nation. Only the corrupt officials enjoy the benefits.

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    1. Hi D! :D

      Thank you *bowing*. And I like that game too "Guan Xi"...
      Very well explained, D. So, other nations should learn how to play it too and then learn how to move within it.
      I am totally with you on that one - corruption in the Chinese government is eroding the Chinese society as people are becoming more and more discontent with the Party (and they are very right to feel that way for the reasons you so well pointed out).
      Tell me, if only a government is powerful but not its people: can a country be truly considered powerful? The US is the most powerful country on earth because of its values of Freedom, of Democracy, that grant power not only to the government but also to the people (who have freedom to vote, to depose a government etc).

      D, outstanding comment: thank you ever so much :D. Loved it.

      Cheers

      Delete
    2. The Chinese government always is in a state of fear. They know that their officials are corrupt, and they know there is discontent. So not only do they have this instability, but because of corruption, they also do not have standards that are kept up by officials. They have building codes, and emmission controls, and health standards and such, but because of corruption, those are mostly overlooked. Recently the Chinese government was asked about the pollution problem in the country. Those interviewed stated that they have asked the individual provinces to clean up the environment, but they have no control over them to make them do it. Basically, in other words, the government can't control it's own corruption in order to get things done. I ask myself often how China can become a powerful world leader when they can't even control leaders within their own government! The only true power they hold at this time is that 1. They have many countries, the U.S. included, in debt to them. 2. They have befriended many of the countries in this part of the world, so they will have allies if needed. (befriended by giving arms, scholarships etc.....once again, the
      "guan xi" game.) I don't see how a country can lack freedom, and lack organization and control of it's own corruption, and still become a world power.

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    3. D, you are right: fear is what drives them. Whoa, the corruption problem there is even worse than I thought.

      "I ask myself often how China can become a powerful world leader when they can't even control leaders within their own government!"

      Right?

      Yes, they have allies if needed...until a better deal comes along for those allies; if you know what I mean.
      I agree with you.

      Have a great weekend, darling.

      Delete
  3. China's fingerprint is everywhere, Max. I read Rafael Marques de Morais's delivery speech upon receiving an award where he spoke about the president dos Santos' corruption and at some point he said:

    "Such joint-ventures, once involving the State, violate the anti-corruption legislation, and can only be maintained due to the impunity enjoyed by the regime. Western multinationals and governments, and China, in particular, therefore find it in their interests to protect such nefarious alliances, in which the only losers are the Angolan people."

    If you care the read the rest:
    http://allafrica.com/stories/201311090268.html

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    1. Hi Carlitos :D!

      Indeed. Thanks for the link: that speech slays President dos Santos - no wonder he is so afraid of Rafael Marques.
      I didn't know that the president owned De Grisogono...with the Angolan people's money.

      Carlitos, thank you so much for your input :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  4. Olá Max,

    Loved the quotes from the Tao. They pretty much sum the Chinese procedure, don't they?
    I do not trust the Chinese, to be honest. Their business as usual stance makes me uncomfortable cause they can turn against you if a better offer comes along! I wouldn't be surprised if they were bending the rules concerning Iran, if they do it with Zimbabwe and Sudan what stops them from breaking sanctions against Iran? Plus, they have oil interests there (and despite the wavers that Obama gave them, they could go beyond the sanctions). Well thought out!

    Superb job, girl!

    Tchau

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    1. Olá Celeste :D!

      I am glad you did *bowing*. They do indeed.
      That is also true. To tell you the truth, I suspect they are doing just that (i.e. Iran).
      Why, thank you, kind lady *bowing*.

      Celeste, thank you so much for your input :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  5. Now would be the time to pretend that I am surprised. Only I am not. China only does what's in China's best interests but I learned something new here "Guan Xi" (thanks, Delirious) so, yeah, it makes sense they act like they do, it's in their DNA. I am concerned though with the reports of them being Al-Shabaab's biggest weapon supplier...that should put the whole international community en garde.
    I'll be back tomorrow for the thought of the week.

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    1. I couldn't agree more. Obama and Kerry are on for failed peace talks if they keep it up. Obama's first instinct was correct, not to meddle to walk away and let countries solve their own problems, but he gave in to pressure and now he is in this mega mess. The Palestinians cannot be trusted and the facts are out there for everybody to see. Good job and my sympathies for the family of the fallen soldier.

      Delete
    2. Hi Carl :D!

      Oh yeah, Delirious taught us great things this week. I loved it.
      Right? I am concerned about that too. I am just wondering what will the international community do about it, since (like D said) most of them are in China's pockets.

      I agree with you on President Obama's first instinct and how he diverted from it. I am waiting for him to do something bold, something courageous...but I don't know if he will have the guts or if his entourage will allow him.
      As for the fallen soldier: HY"D.

      Carl, thank you so much for your great comments, man :D. Always a pleasure.

      Delete
  6. China is now doing what the West did centuries ago. The strong will exploit the weak. History simply repeating itself but with different actors. No body can do anything about it. As an Indian, I would like to step up our own investments overseas, which is on the increase but our establishment drifted away and to get back on track will take another election after which you will write about us too.

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    1. Hi Rummy :D!

      I am not sure the West did exactly what China is doing. First, China isn't colonising Africa - the West did; second, the West gave jobs to the locals - China doesn't (it goes to the length of importing their own people); third, the West built long lasting infrastructures (except for the Belgians), many of them built centuries ago (in the Portuguese case at least) - China builds temporary infrastructures that are bound to collapse; fourth, the West built industries in Africa (that the revolutionaries later on destroyed as per advised by the Russians and the Chinese) - China simply opens shops and explores mines with Chinese labour; etc etc.
      But yes, you are right: the strong always exploits the weaker.

      I would prefer to see India stepping up its investments abroad because at least Indian investors create jobs for the locals.
      LOL I already write about India: security matters mainly, I admit it; but I have been writing about it - and I will continue to do so when needed.

      Rummy, thank you so much for your great comment :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  7. What is China doing that the West hasn't done in Africa? The only difference is they build some crappy schools, buildings, hospitals that will eventually fall and roads that after the first rains will have potholes all done with Chinese labor....wait, that is not what the West did, I was wrong. The West gave jobs to the locals and built things that are still there after a couple of centuries and they made babies with the locals, they didn't import their wives...not by system at least. I was wrong, sorry Max!

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    1. Hi Peter :D!

      That is more or less the same thing I told Rummuser,,,except the babies and wife details lol.
      Thank you for your comment, Pete :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  8. What is the thought of the week feature all about?
    China...we gave them the power they have and we sort of taught them how to pillage others. Africans need to open their eyes and given the latest news I don't think they are prepared to do it yet. Man, what is happening in Mozambique, in CAR, Nigeria...we should worry more about Iran but if the Chinese are helping Iran then we need to eye them,

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    1. Hi Mike :D!

      Weekly thoughts on whatever I or the Blog's Contributing Editor see fit to comment upon. Usually, they are very brief.
      Now you said it all (i.e. Iran/China).

      Mike, thank you so much for your comment, mate :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  9. When someone invests in China, the government is always careful to make sure that there is technology transfer, with the idea of developing a competing industry. Any missing information can always be stolen.

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    1. Hi Looney :D!

      So I heard. I even heard a security expert telling people that when they go to China they should only take new tablets, new smartphones, new laptops; and when leaving the country all of the mentioned should be disposed of before getting home - this says it all.

      Looney, thank you ever so much for your great input :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  10. I am learning paranoia from the Chinese. They are paranoid!
    First of all, I hate communists. Second, communist regimes must fall. Third, communist Soviets have done the same in Africa and fell; and since history tends to repeat itself communist China will also fall and pay for what it has done both at home and in the African continent. Fourth, as they corrupt at home, they corrupt abroad. Fifth, I am miffed at Ghana for having cut ties with Taiwan just because the Chinese demanded it in exchange for investment...many western countries recognize Taiwan and I don't see China cutting ties with them, so what does that tell us about African leaders?

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    1. Gambia cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan, not Ghana.

      Delete
    2. Hi Ana :D!

      I never thought of it that way; but you may be on to something, yes.
      You are miffed at Gambia? My, my, my.... :). Anyway, you know most African leaders seem to take pride in looking weak (besides, corrupt people tend to stick together).

      Ana, thank you so so much for your input :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
    3. Anonymous, hi :D!

      You are absolutely correct. Thanks for helping Ana :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  11. ... aparte de alguna intervención puntual en temas de guerra, como está ocurriendo ahora mismo con Francia, Europa podría llevar a cabo al menos un mínimo programa de ayuda IN SITU a lo largo y ancho del continente, tal y como se programa a nivel nacional o no hacia Latinoamérica. ¿ O es que creemos que África se encuentra justamente a los pies de Europa por determinación determinada de la casualidad...? Saludos

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    1. Antonio, quieres decir que la Europa debe tener más responsabilidad hacia áfrica? Los africanos no acusarían los europeus de neo-colonismo?

      Delete
    2. Hola Antonio :D!

      Bienvenido a nuestra casa :).
      La Europa llevando a cabo um programa de ayuda in situ a lo largo del continente africano...Hmmm...tal vez tengas razón, debería hacerlo; pero (en tu opinión) porque no lo hace entonces?

      Antonio, muchas gracías por tu comentario :D. Espero que vuelvas aquí más veces.

      Saludos

      Delete

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