Friday, May 19, 2017

Africa? My ass!

I am no Chinese expert.  Heck, am not an expert on anything,  but that has never stopped me from commenting.  It has worked out well all these years; so, why stop now, right?

Of course I have been fascinated with China forever.  Don't forget that I was a commie sympathizer even before I got my first pimple.  I hated how the pimples always appeared in the most obvious places on my face--on my nose, and the center of my forehead.  Yet, I hated the damn British bastards more than how much I hated those damn pimples!

It was only after I started understanding how much the communist systems in China and the USSR were messing around with people, that I started questioning my belief that the commies were the good guys.  As the years rolled on, I could not be bothered with that political economic system, and I decided that America was going to be my home, as imperfect as it was/is.

Now, I detest any system where the party decides the fates of its peoples, and a system where people aren't free.  But, that is their problem, I suppose.

However, when China begins to flex its muscles around the world, it becomes my problem too!

The NY Times editorializes about China's trillion dollar foreign policy, and notes there:
Whatever the economic benefits, a project cannot be allowed to run roughshod over individuals or trample on the environment. Mr. Xi stressed that consultation, transparency and people’s “well-being” are vital, but China’s track record is not encouraging. One example: Kyaukphyu, Myanmar, where a Chinese-Myanmar oil and gas pipeline was pursued in secret, stomped on farmers’ property rights and did significant environmental damage.
China clearly aims to dominate the international system. If it succeeds — shaping how vast sums are spent and where, and which laws are followed or not — it could upend a system established by Washington and its allies after World War II. And there are military concerns: For instance, many Burmese and foreign experts worry that China could use the Kyaukphyu ports for military purposes.
But, China's economic development is built on that model--to "run roughshod over individuals or trample on the environment." The party has merely gone international with its domestic approach.

This approach when taken to countries that are poor and when they have no power to stand up can then result in awful stories like this--Africa's donkeys are being killed in huge numbers:
Donkeys are being slaughtered at an alarming pace to feed a global trade in donkey hides that’s fueled by soaring demand in China, where the skins are used to manufacture a gelatin believed to have anti-ageing and libido-enhancing properties.
I care not about crazy beliefs in anti-ageing and in libido properties.  But, I care about the poor farmers being messed up.  "Niger halted exports of the animal and completely prohibited their slaughtering,"
Mali, Senegal and Gambia followed suit. Zimbabwe, where donkeys are less common, turned down an application to build a donkey slaughterhouse, while Ethiopia closed its only functioning donkey abattoir after residents complained about the stench and pollution.
But large-scale slaughtering continues in many African countries, including Tanzania, Ghana and Kenya, and online sales ads for donkey hides are especially easy to find in Nigeria.”
And, yes, the donkeys are the latest to suffer from this Chinese demand:
Like the poaching of Africa’s rhinos and elephants, and deforestation caused by the largely illicit trade in rosewood timber, the slaughter of donkeys is an unforeseen consequence of rising Chinese incomes and an expanding middle class.
Can't the party strike a balance between its old Mao days and such an approach to "run roughshod over individuals or trample on the environment"?


Ramesh said...

Oh - you are all over the place on this one. The rise of demand in China leading to a donkey crisis in Africa is a red herring. What should the Chinese do - stop demanding goods and services. There are many instances of demand from every country that might should illogical to someone. Should we stop all that ?

The bigger issue is the Chinese policy of a) colonisation, at least economically of poorer countries and b) the more controversial foreign policy of doing deals with anybody, including the devil.

There is a lot of resistance building up on Chinese economic ventures abroad. The Chinese themselves cannot understand the resistance - they view the world from a purely mercantile and contractual lens. They simply cannot fathom that to do major economic ventures in other countries will inevitably lead to political and social consequences and they have to learn how to manage that.

Sriram Khé said...

I think we are both talking about the same stuff, and are concerned about the same things, though we use different words and emotions to get to it. Maybe because you and I speak different languages--you speak English and I speak American? ;)

You write that the Chinese party/government "view the world from a purely mercantile and contractual lens" ... Ahem, interestingly enough that's exactly the pussygrabber's approach too.

All these mean, and to rely on a saying from one of the African countries: when two elephants fight, the grass under their feet suffers!

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