China steps into Darfur conflict

Marketplace Staff Oct 5, 2007


Doug Krizner: Money has been a major sticking point in talks to end the conflict in Darfur. Sudan’s offer to compensate victims has been rejected as too small. But China appears to be coming to the rescue with a $200 million loan. Terry Fitzpatrick reports.

Terry Fitzpatrick: China has been on an African spending spree, building roads and hospitals while snapping up mineral rights and trade agreements.

The deals include some of Africa’s least-democratic regimes, including Sudan. That’s why analysts say China is stepping into the Darfur conflict.

Researcher Sanusha Naidu at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town has been tracking Chinese involvement in Africa. She says China’s no-strings approach has hurt its reputation.

Sanusha Naidu: That China supports illegitimate governments, that China supports governments that are engaging in conflict, and that China is actually the country that actually enables these kinds of governments to perpetuate their power. And I think that’s the image that they’re trying to get away from.

News of the $200 million Darfur compensation loan comes from former president Jimmy Carter, who met this week with Sudan’s president. There’s no official confirmation yet from China.

In Cape Town, I’m Terry FitzPatrick for Marketplace.

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