Wednesday, August 13, 2008

China's Modern Imperialism

Peter Navarro, author of The Coming China Wars (reviewed here), is critical of ABC's Bob Woodruff's recent "China Inside Out" documentary, calling it "So near to the truth, yet so far." To take just one example, Navarro writes:
The Angolan segment highlighted China’s economic development model in Africa. The myth perpetrated in this segment is that the development has actually provided a net benefit to the people of Africa.

In fact, the real truth China is practicing a very sophisticated 21st century version of imperialism in which China loans African countries billions of dollars in exchange for encumbering natural resources. These resources range from oil and natural gas to copper, cobalt, and titanium. As part of its debt encumbrance strategy, China gets to reduce its unemployment rate by using a large Chinese construction workforce to actually do the work – rather than relying so much on the native population.

In this segment, Woodruff makes repeated references to corruption. However, in a glaring omission, he fails to make explicit just how much of the billions in Chinese aid is actually siphoned off into offshore bank accounts held by the African elites. Nor does Woodruff highlight the intense poverty in the countries China is supposed to be “benefiting” -- other than offering a few images of slums.
Navarro also taked Woodruff to task for basically ignoring China's enabling role in the Darfur crisis.

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