When people take a break from debating whether Africa is or is not rising, they like to talk about China. The emerging economic powerhouse is making its mark on Sub Saharan Africa by support port projects in Kenya, mines in Zambia and standing behind the Sudanese government.
The activities mean China is slowly becoming a development player and does have an impact on the other big donors. A project from AidData and William & Mary University estimated that China has committed $75 billion for aid and development projects in Africa. That is less than the $90 billion committed by the US during the same period. However, some fear that China is using its money to not only wield influence over the continent, but impose a sort of neo-colonial rule over some countries. Continue reading
- Flickr, hugovk
I don’t mean to make light of the possibility that a handful of human deaths in China apparently caused by a new strain of bird flu could produce a global flu pandemic. But there is this tendency in the media — of which I am a party to — to get a bit too excited about these bird flu outbreaks.
NY Times – China Escalates Response to Bird Flu Outbreak
Outbreak! Escalation! We like words like that in our headlines.
Now, there is theoretical justification for concern – because theoretically a new bird flu virus could mutate into a human flu that we have little immunity against. You’ve seen the movie, right? Still, it’s important to emphasize that this hasn’t happened yet, probably won’t and even if it does become something humans can pass on to each other, most flu viruses tend to become weaker the more they spread. Continue reading
A meeting of the major middle-income countries in South Africa garnered plenty of attention, but produced little in terms of actual policies.
Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) account for over 40% of the world’s population, 1/4 of the world’s GDP and are responsible for 55% of the global economic growth since 2009. The BRICS have raced onward in the face of the financial downturn and are poised to take a larger share of the global economy in the coming years.
What will this mean for development, for the global push to reduce poverty, inequity and the so-called north-south imbalance of power. Some experts think not much, because the BRICS are more a concept than a cohesive force. Continue reading
The economist Dambisa Moyo promotes her new book, Winner Take All, on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Those who would expect Stewart to challenge Moyo’s somewhat simplistic and rose-colored characterization of China’s strategy overseas will be disappointed. And it’s not even that funny, but Moyo does get a lot of time to explain her ideas.
The group of nations known (by wonks anyway) as BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — are fast moving away from being recipients of foreign assistance and toward taking a more active role as donors, drivers of aid and development.
It’s worth paying attention to this shift, what’s driving it and the broader implications beginning with the prediction that the U.S. will soon be second to China as a world economic power. These ‘development’ issues may soon be viewed less as charitable America sending help overseas and more about assuring that a globalized world doesn’t simply increase inequities everywhere.
Flickr, Blog do Planalto
BRICS 2011 meeting in China
At this group’s recent summit meeting in New Delhi, these countries which now represent half the world’s population said they want more of a say in how the world fights poverty, reduces inequities and who gets to make the decisions. As the Mail & Guardian online reported, the BRICS are reshaping a reluctant world order partly out of anger at the West’s historic dominance:
The BRICS grouping’s political clout has grown with its importance to the world economy and the latest summit declared its intention to set up (its own) development bank.
To mark the start of the Tibetan New Year, Losar, some of Seattle’s Tibetan community demonstrated downtown against China with colorful flags, angry chants and coffins.
Seattle Tibetans protest against China, Westlake Park
“The situation in Tibet right now is very, very bad,” said Jampa Jorkhang, president of Tibetan Association of Washington and one of the organizers of the protest yesterday. Continue reading
Flickr, Peter Fuchs
Two stories out of China:
Bill Gates lauds the Chinese for becoming more philanthropic, though many might say they could hardly have become less so. In Xinhua, Gates says:
Many people he met in China acknowledged that philanthropy was still in its early stages of development in the country, but they already had ideas about things they wanted to do, he recalled, adding that this impressed him very much.
Meanwhile, former Washington state governor and now U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke says China’s human rights track record is getting worse lately. On the Charlie Rose Show, Locke said:
Locke told Rose that the human rights “climate has always ebbed and flowed in China, up and down, but we seem to be in a down period and it’s getting worse.”
Today is a stark reminder that China still has a long way to go when it comes to human rights.
It is International Human Rights Day and also the day for awarding the Nobel Peace Prize. For the first time since 1936, the Peace Prize committee is unable to directly honor the recipient, Chinese activist Liu Xiabao, who is in prison for dissident activities.
The last time this happened the Peace Prize recipient lived in Nazi Germany. Here’s a PBS NewsHour clip: