View Full Version : China intervenes in Zambian election

07 Sep 06,, 11:10
China intervenes in Zambian election

By John Reed, Southern Africa Correspondent

Published: September 5 2006 19:19 | Last updated: September 5 2006 19:19

The Chinese government has intervened in Zambia’s upcoming presidential election in a forceful sign of the commodity-hungry country’s growing economic and political clout in Africa.

Li Baodong, China’s ambassador in Lusaka, said Beijing might cut diplomatic relations with Zambia if voters elected Michael Sata, an opposition candidate, as president, Zambian media reported on Tuesday.


His remarks are the first sign of overt political interference by China in African affairs in decades, reflecting Beijing’s rapidly expanding role as an investor on the continent and as a client for long-term supplies of raw materials. China is a leading investor in Zambian copper, the country’s biggest export product by value.

China has invested billions of dollars in Africa in recent years, rivalling the US as it does so, and Chinese trade with the continent has quadrupled since the start of the decade, mainly through purchases of crude oil.

In Zambia alone Chinese companies are believed to have ploughed more than $300m into copper and other industries.

Mr Sata is challenging Levy Mwanawasa, the incumbent president, in the September 28 election. Mr Sata has been quoted calling Taiwan a “sovereign state,” angering China, and has also spoken out against Chinese labour practices in Zambia. Recognition of Taiwan would mean turning away from the country’s ties with Beijing.

Most African countries have thrown in their lot with China, leaving only a handful of governments maintaining official relations with Taiwan. Zambian media also reported that Mr Sata, currently running second to Mr Mwanawasa in opinion polls, had met Taiwanese businessmen.

The Times of Zambia on Tuesday quoted Mr Li saying Chinese investors were “scared” to come to Zambia because of Mr Sata’s “unfortunate” remarks. If Mr Sata won and established relations with Taiwan, Beijing might think of cutting its relations, the newspaper reported.

“Chinese investors in mining, construction and tourism have put on hold further investments in Zambia until the uncertainty surrounding our bilateral relations with Zambia is cleared,” the state-owned Zambia Daily Mail quoted Mr Li as saying.

In Zambia several mineworkers were shot and injured in July after a violent protest at Chinese-owned Chambishi Mining. There are conflicting reports on whether Chinese managers or Zambian police shot the workers.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2006

The Chinese always takes a very moralistic view about everything that they are involved or not involved in. The couch it will delightfully quaint homiles and pious platitudes that are so innocuously pithy.

The are very moralistic and take pride in issuing statements that they never interfere in the internal matters of any other country and such like stuff.

Therefore, this is very interesting that they are interfering rather blatantly in Zambia!

What happened?

Feeding the hungry changes the tune?

07 Sep 06,, 12:16
Its probably because it involves Taiwan. They get very violent whenever the Taiwan issue is involved....

It's Business as Usual
Taiwan's China investments are growing

•The 100-Day Itch: Why Chen Shui-bian's honeymoon as president is over, and what he mu st do to restore credibility
•'Let's Meet, not Holler': So says the DPP chief about China
•Politics of Compromise: Will Chen break promises?

In mid-August, a group of mainland Chinese business executives made such a stink at a Chicago hardware fair that most attendants were left perplexed and appalled. After seeing Taiwan's red-and-blue flag hang among many others in the exhibit hall, the Chinese delegation tore down their exhibits, slammed their merchandise on the floor, stomped on them and stormed out of the American Hardware Manufacturers Association event. All that was left in their empty booths were typed statements issued by Chinese government officials: "The erroneous decision by the show organizers runs counter to the United States government's 'one-China' policy and offers Taiwan authorities a stage to create two Chinas."

In Taipei, officials are shrugging off the incident. In fact, they are continuing with their plans to accelerate business with China. In September, 28 of the island's top bankers will visit the mainland to explore the possibility of opening branch offices there. The government has drafted laws that will liberalize restrictions once preventing Taiwan banks from entering the mainland, even though some 40,000 Taiwan enterprises now operate factories in China. Beijing may be kung fu-fighting, but Taipei is responding with tai chi.

The Chen administration is reversing the years of the "go slow, no haste" policy of previous president Lee Teng-hui, who feared that Taiwan would become an economic hostage of China if it grew too dependent on the mainland for business. Despite Lee's efforts, Taiwan companies have parked more than $40 billion in China, roughly 40% of its total foreign investment. China is now Taiwan's third-largest trading partner, buying 17% of Taiwan's exports and sourcing 4% of the island's imports. "Trade benefits both sides," says Lin Yi-fa, deputy minister of economic affairs. "It helps improve cross-strait relations." Ministry officials are currently even discussing lifting some restrictions that have prevented Taiwan companies from setting up high-tech manufacturing operations or building infrastructure projects in China.

Chen may have been an "independence" activist, but it's clear that he realizes it is almost impossible for the island to sever ties with China. Instead, the approach is to move even closer to the mainland and gain the trust of Beijing's leaders in order to create the maximum room for Taiwan's long-term survival. On top of lifting certain investment restrictions, Taiwan's Ministry of Education has gone one step further. It recently approved the establishment of Taiwan curriculum schools in China, allowing the formation of long-term Taiwan communities on the mainland. Within months of the announcement, Taiwan business groups in Guangdong and Shanghai have already begun building schools that eventually will allow more Taiwan expatriates to relocate their entire families to China.

But it's not all smooth sailing for Taiwan companies in China. The tale of Evergreen Marine, a giant shipping company, is cautionary. After Chen came to power in May, mainland officials threatened to shut down Evergreen's mainland operations. Customs officers deliberately held up thousands of Evergreen's containers by "throwing a book of regulations" at the company, checking that every item shipped carried the proper documents. Evergreen container ships were not only unable to pick their cargo on time but the company's thousands of mainland-based Taiwan customers were unable to ship on time, causing havoc throughout supply chains worldwide.

Such was the price Evergreen had to pay for chairman Chang Yung-fa's membership in Chen's "national advisory council," a group of about a dozen Taiwan tycoons who endorsed his candidacy. From the end of March through end of May, mainland officials made life difficult for those tycoons with mainland investments. When Stan Shih, chairman of top computer company Acer, visited China, he found that officials who normally rushed to invite him to private banquets shunned him instead. Shortly afterward, "inspectors" descended upon Acer's factories in Guangdong and Shanghai searching for "irregularities." Only after months of apologizing, lobbying and pledges of further investments on the mainland did officials stop the harassment. "Business is now back to normal," Yuanta Securities analyst Eric Lai says of Acer. "Plans for a new plant in [China] will continue." Working in Shih's favor, as far as Beijing is concerned, is that he has distanced himself from Chen. "He deliberately doesn't go to Chen's events," says Lai. "[The tycoons] will just have to be more careful about getting involved in politics in Taiwan."

Taiwan and China both need each other: Taiwan the mainland's plentiful supply of inexpensive labor and its potentially huge market, China the investment. Sheen Ching-jing, chairman of Taiwan conglomerate Core Pacific Group, says he believes that Chen — once an ardent anti-China maverick — may end up leading Taiwan closer to the mainland. "I was in Beijing having drinks with top officials of the Ministry of Foreign Trade just before the election," says Sheen, who has known Chen for years. "They asked if Chen would declare independence. I said he wouldn't. I said Chen only used 'independence' as a weapon against the Kuomintang. I told them not to be anxious. The key is to first build more economic ties. In today's era, any good leader must focus on economics, and that includes China's leaders." Money talks best.


Ma lodges complaint over flag grab

Monday, Aug 28, 2006,Page 1

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said he had lodged a protest against China for seizing the national flag off the shoulders of two Taiwanese athletes at a children's international sports tournament in Thailand.

Chinese sports officials seized the Republic of China flags from two Taipei swimming champions attending the International Children's Games at Bangkok after they wrapped them round their shoulders as they walked toward a stage to collect their gold medals on Saturday, Ma said.

Chang Fen-fen (張芬芬), deputy secretary-general of the National Council of Physical Fitness and Sports and Taipei Deputy Mayor King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) immediately lodged a complaint with competition officials and the Beijing team regarding the three incidents, condemning the use of violence.

According to King, the Beijing team official did not want to lose face, and replied, "You left us with no other choice."

"Is violence your only choice?" King said he replied.

To this, King said, the female members of the Beijing team screamed "Yes!"

"I don't know why they had to act like a bunch of snot-nosed purse-snatchers. How they behaved was disgusting and ugly," King said at CKS International Airport upon his return to Taipei last night.

He urged all participating nation's to protest the assaults.

"It was a regrettable incident," Ma said. "It was an unfriendly ... brutal and impolite gesture."

Ma did not identify the Chinese officials or the athletes.

Most sports organizations do not bar athletes from wearing flags other than those formally sanctioned, Ma said.

Taiwan participates at most international sports events under the name of "Chinese Taipei" as the nation is prevented from using its official name because of China's objections.

The International Children's Games are held annually to promote friendship among youths aged 12 to 15.

Meanwhile, former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said he considered it a very serious incident.

"Such an act of violence should not be accepted. We should lodge a solemn protest. We hope the Taipei City Government can properly deal with the incident," he said.

One Taiwanese athlete who was able to keep her flag was Li Ya-wen, who won the gold medal in the B-class Taekwondo contest.


Taiwan slams PRC over flag incident
The move by Chinese athletes and officials to seize ROC flags from athletes and delegation members three separate times at the 2006 International Children's Games in Bangkok has outraged local officials across partisan lines.

Taiwan was represented by a team from Taipei at the competition, which gathers teams of 12-15-year-old athletes from cities around the world to compete in mostly Olympic events.

Taipei Deputy Mayor King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) has demanded that Beijing offer a formal apology after certain Chinese athletes and officials seized the ROC flags of Taiwanese medalists as they approached the podium at Saturday's awards ceremonies.

But he did get some satisfaction from the protest he filed on behalf of the delegation. At an arbitration hearing to consider Taiwan's protest, the event organizers decided to bar national flags from the remaining events in the competition, which concludes on Monday.

"Chinese delegates strongly protested the decision," King said at the Chiang Kai-shek International Airport. "I think they must not have anticipated that their violent behavior would turn into a huge loss for them."

Before his return to Taiwan, King disclosed on the phone earlier on Sunday that the Chinese delegates not only took away ROC flags from two Taiwanese gold medalists during two separate awards ceremonies, but they also grabbed ROC flags carried out by some Taiwanese spectators and officials taking part in the ceremonies.

King related on Sunday evening that he witnessed the third time Chinese officials again took away the flags from Taiwanese gold medalists, and said they shouted: "You leave us no choice."

King immediately filed a protest against Beijing's move, appealing to the host that Beijing must apologize for the violence.

While the International Children's Games' charter follows Olympic protocol, which would bar the ROC flag from the proceedings, King said the charter did not prohibit winners from draping their national flags around their shoulders when they stepped on the podium to accept medals.

ROC envoy to Thailand Peter Cheng revealed that his representative office would keep an eye on the host's handling of Taipei's protest and do whatever it could to uphold justice for Taipei's athletes. Cheng attended the competition on Sunday in case a similar conflict reoccurred.

Commenting on Beijing's latest act of hostility against Taiwan, Cabinet spokesman Cheng Wen-tsan blamed China for "interfering in a sports event with a political angle," saying it did not have even "one iota of democratic culture."

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) remarked that, "we are deeply bewildered by the incident, because this is just a sports event that did not prohibit the actions of our athletes. "Such acts are absolutely unfriendly, so we filed a protest. The violent act was irrational," Ma said.

The young athletes' experience in Bangkok was not unique, as China has made every effort to prevent the appearance of the ROC flag in the international arena.

Under pressure from Beijing, the event's host asked Tseng to apologize for displaying the flag, but Tseng rejected the request. Nonetheless, the host declared on its Web site three days later that Taiwan had apologized over the misconduct and promised not to make a similar mistake in the future.

Lu Hsien-chih, honorary president of the World Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce, said the Bangkok incidents proved once again that Beijing never passed up on an opportunity to suppress Taiwan's international existence.

"Having been violently treated by the PRC at every occasion, even in something like this children's event, Taiwan's people should stop harboring illusions over China," Lu urged. The Thailand-based Lu disclosed that overseas Taiwanese residing in Thailand fully supported Taipei's protest against Beijing.

A spokesman for the governing Democratic Progressive Party also criticized China's move.

"The DPP endorses King's immediate and firm response to the unreasonable move," said Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯), who chided the KMT's Ma for not reacting more strongly than calling Beijing's acts "irrational."

Taiwan's young athletes, who had won four golds, one silver and two bronzes, did not seem affected by the unhappy incidents, according to Taipei Deputy Mayor King.
[img=http://img116.imageshack.us/img116/6964/taiwanrl7.th.png] (http://img116.imageshack.us/my.php?image=taiwanrl7.png)

09 Sep 06,, 07:21
Learned fast the young padawan has. Overthrowing governments soon it will be.

09 Sep 06,, 07:58
Touchy little snotty baskets!

On top of it frauds!

09 Sep 06,, 22:39
Good, they can play in their own sandbox....alone sulking.

10 Sep 06,, 22:20
And so the second proxy war for Africa begins?

10 Sep 06,, 22:29
hahahaha, gunnut,

Learned fast the young padawan has. Overthrowing governments soon it will be.

you do realize given chinese history, china's the yoda here? :biggrin: