Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

China Ok’s Sudanese Split

Posted by w_thames_the_d on February 9, 2011


Originally I read about China giving the uncle C nod to the split and my initial thought was, ‘like they need yoru blessing’. Then I remembered that Sudan has some pretty sketchy crappy leaders and oil, so naturally China will be involved with them and lo and behold, lookie at what Billy Boy has found,

excerpt from here by Alex Thurston:
“To put this into historical context, Chinese companies have been involved in Sudanese oil production since 1996. The oil connection has fostered a military relationship, with China providing arms to the Sudanese government and Khartoum sometimes deploying troops to protect Chinese workers.

In geographical context, Sudan may be “China’s largest overseas oil project” (as of 2004, so that statement may be out of date), but China’s presence in Africa is larger than just Sudan. Chinese involvement in Africa has a lot to do with oil and other resources, and these ventures expose them to backlash. For that reason this story about the killing of Chinese oil workers reminds me of other incidents where Africans have targeted Chinese: in Algeria, Zambia, Ethiopia, and Angola, to take a few examples.

Sudan has carried out other executions in recent years, and at least one execution was connected with an incident where foreigners were targeted. So I don’t want to read too much into the execution this week. But it does raise questions for me about how African governments, and China, will manage African backlash against China when it occurs. If the past gives us any indication, more attacks on Chinese workers will happen, especially when contested resources are at stake. I’m not saying that China should or will leave Africa, but it seems that all the players in this equation – African governments, African communities, the Chinese government, and Chinese workers – will, in the years to come, have to deal with complex and sometimes violent politics stemming from their encounters with each other.

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