– – by Takudzwanashe Mundenga
China the fastest growing economy in the world that has undeniably passed a litmus test of being an “all-weather friend” has so far proved to be an emerging peace-loving global leader than its war-like counterparts in the Western hemisphere. Though all means possible, it has been faithful to its policy of non-interference in a bid to keep cordial relations with other countries. Africans can easily partner the so-called “Red Dragon” than their former colonizers to enable themselves reap mutual benefits. The very reason why Zimbabwe well-thought-out a Look East Policy that specifically emphasizes on bilateral partnership with China.
The economic cooperation between China and Africa is not exploitative in nature as that with the former colonizers. During a several visits to Beijing between 2010 and 2014, the South African President Jacob Zuma defended China investments in Africa against Western claims of neo-colonization saying Africa enjoys an equal trade relationship with Beijing. “China is there discussing with brothers and sisters in Africa to create a mutually beneficial kind of relationship which is different from former Western colonialists simply taking things by force.” Having similar history with China of having born through the jaws of colonization and the Republic being a developing country, Africa has the allowance to negotiate trade terms at par, unlike what it does with the former colonizers. Contrariwise, the Western corporations are slammed for stirring resource-based conflicts in the Africa that often grow into armed wars.
Having South Africa also pursuing a stronger global role through membership in the internationally dominant BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) group shows the non-discriminatory state of affairs between Africa and the Far East. This is unlike how Africa relates with the G8 and G20. Our continent is stereotyped a continent of dictators speckled with the worst abusers of democracy that are need to be deprived of critical positions in multilateral partnership which the West dominates.
Chinese interventions has by far proved to be constructive than those of the West which are time and again viewed as destructive. From the onset of the Arab Spring, the People’s Republic of China castigated the anti-government protesters as lawless troublemakers that need to be disciplined. The intervention by the Western military alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Libya in 2011 siding the rebels in their quest to end the 41-year reign of the Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi through an infamous UNSC Resolution 1973, threw Africa’s once richest country into a ruined state and isolated pariah with no fly zones, destroyed cities and left a good example of a moribund economy. All was done in the name of restoration of democracy. Nonetheless, the questions still recur, why after 42 years? Why using a European organization (NATO) to execute the operation instead of United Nations Security Council protocols? The pattern of the decision was surely born in the corridors of superpower politics.
It was not easy for the United States, France and United Kingdom execute the mission via proper protocols of the United Nations Security Council since China would obviously veto against the intervention. Fearing the bureaucratic protocol followed by superpowers at UNSC to reach a consensus and the Chinese policy of non-interference in foreign politics, the backdoor seemed favourable to take. In 2008 and 2012 respectively, the two Eastern powers vetoed against imposition of United Nations sanctions on Zimbabwe and Syria. China and Russia said they opposed the resolution because the situation in Zimbabwe did not threaten international stability and sanctions would have taken the UN beyond its mandate. According to an article by Joe Lauria the United Nations correspondent for WSJ, in 2012, China and Russia vetoed for the third time the British-drafted Security Council resolution, co-sponsored by the US, France and Germany that would have threatened sanctions against Syrian leadership. The realistic sense of sanctions is never to punish a government, but the people under the jurisdiction of a government. Therefore China’s move in against unnecessary sanctions is towards calculated tranquility and protection of civilians.
China’s stance is tackling the Ebola virus which was declared by both UN and WHO “a threat to international peace and security” in West Africa is incredible. Though not yet having confirmed any cases of the virulent disease within its borders, Beijing has recently sent 232 army medical workers to join other doctors and specialists already working there from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control adding to enormous efforts already in play such as, training local medical workers and thousands of doses of experimental anti-Ebola drug dispatches to the region last year. The Chinese government has also assisted with an aid facility of $121 million in cash and supplies to the fight against the pandemic in West Africa. Chinese Minister of Health and Family Planning, Cui Li was quoted saying, “Fighting Ebola is not a regional battle, but should be supported globally. United States of America though being the largest economy it was lukewarm towards the battle against Ebola until an American medical worker contracted from the Liberian expatriate, Eric Duncan it on the US soil.
China is not campaigning for the adulteration and bustadization of the African identity as the Western leaders are doing in promoting moral decadence by certifying homosexuality as a human right. Last year, Uganda was warned by the European Union against the passing of its homosexuality bill, a question that sparked a debate between customary law and Western-invented human rights. These kinds of clashes have even brought groups within countries to the brink of civil wars. However the Chinese do not involve themselves in the politics of a foreign country thereby granting them a better leverage in upholding peace and tranquility.
It’s indeed justifiable to say the China as a nation that assumed global leading status through its miraculously economic growth, it better understand the essence of world peace than Europe and North America. Therefore its exemplary pacesetting needs to be emulated for the success, progression and maintenance of peace and development.
Takudzwanashe Mundenga in an undergraduate of Midlands State University, studying a Bachelor of Arts in Development Studies Honours Degree. For feedback and comments please feel free to write him on [email protected]