Monday, January 9, 2012

King Cobra and the Dragon

As China increases its economic ties in Africa, has the continent entered a new era of colonialism?

China's increasing engagement with Africa has become a subject of great controversy. The country's commercial interests in Africa have been called a new form of colonialism by some in the West, but many Africans say that China is a better partner than Europe or the US. But what is the reality in the African nations with the longest standing links to China?

People and Power sent Sino-French academic Solange Chatelard and filmmaker Scott Corben to Zambia during the presidential elections in September 2011 to investigate whether Africa has entered a new era of colonialism with
Chinese firms maltreating workers and devouring the continent's natural resources.

Thousands of Chinese have settled in Zambia and opened businesses, but relations have not always run smoothly.

In 2005, an accident in an explosives factory at the Chinese-owned Chambishi mine caused the deaths of dozens of Zambian workers. The incident focused Zambian minds on poor working conditions in Chinese-owned businesses and made Sino-Zambian relations a major issue in the following year's presidential election. Read More