about China thoughts part 3: africa

I have written a couple of posts about the growing conflict between United States and China. Maybe I shouldn’t call it ‘conflict’ but rather their ‘jockeying for position’ globally. Okay. Yeah. I am gonna call it conflict.

In this case I will call it “economic conflict.”

(although I would imagine it could elevate to another type of conflict at some point)

How this post started.

I just read two things at almost at the same time and in my wacky brain I connected a couple of thoughts (at least they were both about China).

The Economist had a short article on “the simmering anger of urban china.”

Henning Mankell’s new book “The Man from Beijing” (it’s fiction but has a thread of an interesting plot about China’s current situation).

So. Of all the creepy communist leaders Mao kind of got communism the best. And because of that his teachings <and direction> create a dilemma today in china.

First is the Chinese vision of communism industrialized and encouraged a thriving rural agricultural community <albeit … killing millions along the way>. For all of his vision’s warts he created (using his words) “a society where everyone can now buy a pair of pants but we need to understand that getting everyone to the second pair was more difficult than the first.” (and we in “abundant” USA have a habit of focusing on the second pair more than getting to the first pair)

Second. Colonization is not an option in Mao communism. That is a capitalistic concept. (this is key to something I speak about later)

Third. Culture. What I mean is ‘China as being the forefront empire globally’. This creates boundaries to Maoism communist expansion.

For example (and I am going to generalize to get the points across).

Lenin’s vision of communism was a coalition of communist “countries” sharing an ideology. If he had lived he wouldn’t have aimed for a “soviet” union but rather a “communist” union with disparate geographies within the union.

Stalin believed a Russian personality or culture was essential and therefore boundaries needed to be defined and Stalinism communism preeminent within boundaries (hence the Soviet Union).


The current Chinese situation (as predicted by Mao himself) is the increased separation or gap between the haves and the have nots. That is not really a reflection of ideology but rather a thriving economy globally which has permitted some sectors to thrive faster than others (which is a no no in communism). Add in a huge rural population (or unrest among a growing number of have nots) and a huge military (not necessarily driven by the haves but compelled to protect the state).

So Henning Mankell (mostly known for his excellent Kurt Wallander mystery series) suggests the solution to China’s problems is by moving millions of rural Chinese to third world countries with fertile geography (but the developing country doesn’t have the population to cultivate it). Therefore  creating a new source of income for China as well as cultivate satellite communist countries making them economically and ideologically viable as well as ease the existing rural dilemma in current China (by shipping them elsewhere).

Wow. On so many levels this is a viable solution to China’s issues (overlooking Maoism construct). And a very scary proposition on so many levels for other countries around the world even if they plan on peaceful expansion.

Regardless. Africa will be, and current is on a lower scale, playing a significant role in the ongoing economic conflict between China and the USA. Interestingly (in that I had mentioned Lenin/Stalin) the reality is China learned a lot about how USA squeezed the Soviet Union economically (no real shots fired in that conflict) to ultimately defeat the Soviet Union. And it seems China is trying the same tactic now to the USA.

And a key fighting ground is Africa in the ‘economic conflict’ now taking place (the Google thing is another thing which I will have another post on later).

We shouldn’t overlook China simply because they are on the other side of the world.

China has been ignored as a true world power and a player globally for quite a long time.

But even Napoleon recognized the potential of China when he said “let china sleep, for when china wakes, she will wake the world.” <note: I bet he wished he had said, and thought, the same about Russia>


She is awakening.

And we should pay attention now to what is happening in Africa (and I have another post about how the battle for democracy is struggling in Africa which ultimately affects China’s ability to impact African activity).

China is well placed in Africa as democracy struggles.

To establish a long-term and stable relationship of full cooperation between China and African countries in the 21 century, President Jiang Zemin put forward five principles of guidance during his visit to Africa in 1996:

–          sincere friendship

–          equality

–          solidarity and cooperation

–          common development

–          being oriented to the future

Other Chinese leaders such as Premier Zhu Rongji, Chairman Li Ruihuan and Vice President Hu Jingtao visited Africa successively in the recent years. Since 1997, over 40 chiefs of state and heads of government from various African countries have visited China. China and African countries have conducted productive bilateral and multilateral dialogues.

The shining example of this dialogue is the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation–Ministerial Conference held in Beijing in October 2000.  It is there a program was adopted towards the creation of a new-type, long-term and stable strategic partnership between China and Africa based on equality and mutual benefit. The Foreign Ministry of China has set up workable consultation mechanism with a dozen of their African counterparts. African countries firmly support China in its endeavor for national unification (uhm, that means Taiwan is no longer a sovereign state but rather just another Chinese island).

And most of them support China’s “one China” policy.

China and African countries have carried out many exchanges in the fields of parliament and political parties.

In particular, close cooperation has been established in international forums while handling the issue of human rights and other important issues. In those forums they made joint efforts to maintain the lawful rights of developing countries and push forward the creation of a new, fair and just political and economic order in the world.

(note: this is a slightly disturbing issue in that China has never been the poster child for positive Human rights)

China has provided African countries with great assistance since their independence; with a view to help them develop national economy and advance the social progress (and, yes, while not a big ‘push’ there has certainly been some discussion of Chinese farmers cultivating African soil).

In the past decade China has clearly identified the African continent as an area of significant economic and stra­tegic interest. America and its allies and friends are finding that their vision of a prosperous Africa gov­erned by democracies that respect human rights and the rule of law and that embrace free markets is being challenged by the escalating Chinese influence in Africa.

Let’s be clear.

The People’s Republic of China aids and abets oppressive and destitute African dictatorships by legit­imizing their misguided policies and praising their development models as suited to individual national conditions. Beijing holds out China’s unique develop­ment model-significant economic growth overseen by a disciplined, one-party totalitarian state with full authority, if not control, over all aspects of economic activity as an example for their African counterparts to emulate.


Chinese government firms have invested billions of dollars in foreign exchange and have used Chi­nese engineering and construction resources on the economic infrastructure (oil, gas, minerals, etc) in dozens of African coun­tries (Algeria, Angola, Gabon, Nigeria, Sudan, Zimbabwe).

The China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) is the single largest shareholder (40 percent) in the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company, which controls Sudan’s oil fields. In March 2004, Beijing extended a $2 billion loan to Angola in exchange for a contract to supply 10,000 barrels of crude oil per day. Oh. And the loan is being reinvested (up to 70% of it) back into Chinese firms building economic infrastructure. In July 2005, PetroChina concluded an $800 million deal with the Nigerian National Petro­leum Corporation to purchase 30,000 barrels of oil per day for one year. In January 2006, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) purchased a 45 per­cent stake in a Nigerian offshore oil and gas field for $2.27 billion and promised to invest an addi­tional $2.25 billion in field development.

Once again.

I write these things to try and make us a little smarter about what is happening in the world outside of our own struggles.

There are big things happening in the world today.

Things that affect us. And, frankly, things that affect our economy (which is near and dear to our hearts and wallets).

China is patient (they don’t think in terms of years but rather in terms of hundreds of years).

China is smart (attacking economically and not militarily).

And they recognize opportunity (Maoism at its best).

About China 4 is about the struggles of democracy in Africa. That struggle becomes a cornerstone to defending ourselves from the global economic conflict taking place at the moment. And at the moment democracy is losing in Africa.

Stay tuned.

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Written by Bruce