Published on The Asian Age (http://www.asianage.com)
Predator or angel?
Created 4 Dec 2012
China’s dealings with the developing world varies as per the level of vigilance and political consciousness to preserve indigenous natural treasures in individual countries
Is China a comradely benefactor or a predatory exploiter of developing countries? This question has carried crucial import in world affairs ever since China’s relative heft and weight began expanding. It has divided peoples and governments across the Global South, with some viewing China as a welcome alternative to neo-colonial Western interventions, and others portraying it as a rapacious, resource-hungry beast that is denuding the natural wealth of poorer countries.
The debate is most advanced in Africa, where the consequences of China’s humungous investments in the infrastructure and extractive sectors are discussed day in and out. The US secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s thinly veiled accusation that China is operating a “new colonialism” in Africa, marked by a game of “take out natural resources, pay off leaders and leave”, has been rebutted by the Chinese government and its allies on the continent as Western propaganda to sow a rift among brotherly developing nations.
Both sides of the argument cite statistical and anecdotal evidence to buttress their positions, which are manifestations of contrasting comfort levels vis-à-vis the larger issue of whether China’s rise to superpower status is a boon or a bane. Western establishments and media houses commence their narratives with barely disguised cynicism about China’s motives and impact in Africa and Latin America, assuming that Beijing is sinister, selfish and ruthless in its foreign economic policies towards these regions. Pro-Chinese advocates, on the other hand, carry the banner of Beijing as a benign, peaceful and exceptional superpower that is freeing least developed countries (LDCs) from centuries of Western domination.