Saturday, June 25, 2011

In Zimbabwe, Chinese Investment With Hints of Colonialism

The Atlantic: "China's growing investment and development in Sub-Saharan Africa, dubbed 'The Next Empire' by The Atlantic's Howard French for its historic potential to reshape the continent and grow Chinese influence, is looking especially imperial these days in Zimbabwe. The impoverished pariah state, isolated by President Robert Mugabe's violent suppression of dissent, has put more and more of its economy and natural resources under Chinese control. The Asian giant, in return for its investments -- both in Zimbabwean infrastructure and in Mugabe's personal accounts -- has won near-exclusive dominance of everything from mineral rights to labor standards, as well as the apparent acquiescence of local politicians and police. Zimbabwe is far from a Chinese colony. The country is politically and militarily sovereign, but as China's economic hold tightens, the African nation's independence is becoming harder to distinguish."