A burg of spiel

Darfur, according to China

This week’s issue of Beijing Review, China’s ‘national English weekly’, has an article on how China is playing a positive role in Sudan’s Darfur region. Headlined ‘Relief and recovery’, the article tells us that China is delivering “real economic and social benefits to the people of Darfur”. This, the article explains, is done through a Chinese-initiated dual-track approach that gives “equal importance to the peacekeeping operation and the political process in Darfur”. But here’s how it frames the issue:

Darfur is an arid, underdeveloped region in western Sudan. Fighting flared up there in February 2003 after rebels took up arms against the Sudanese Government, accusing it of marginalizing the region. A humanitarian crisis has since emerged. Western countries, particularly the Unites States, have ratcheted up pressure and imposed sanctions on Khartoum because of the Darfur issue. [Beijing Review]

The humanitarian crisis, it turns out, simply emerged when rebels took up arms against the Sudanese government. According to the Beijing Review neither the activities of the armed government-backed janjaweed militia nor those of the Sudanese armed forces have anything to do with the humanitarian crisis.

The article also quotes Wang Hongyi, an African affairs expert at the China Institute of International Studies, is quoted as saying “Over the past years, the Darfur issue has developed from conflicts between tribes to a hot-spot political issue. As a result, it is unlikely to be resolved in a few years’ time, though armed conflicts have greatly diminished in the region.”

He’s right. The conflict is unlikely to be resolved quickly. But not because it’s become a “hot” political issue. Because even after so much heat, China doesn’t even acknowledge the real issue.

3 thoughts on “A burg of spiel”

  1. Nitin,
    Have to agree with you about the Chinese govt.’s hypocrisy. Might I be so impolite, though, to train the guns on the Indian govt.? In a quite unrelated matter, but the principle is the same.

    The humanitarian crisis, it turns out, simply emerged when Naxalites took up arms against the State government. According to the Generic Newspaper neither the activities of the armed government-backed Salwa Judum nor those of the Indian armed forces have anything to do with the humanitarian crisis.

    Do these sentiments sound familiar?

  2. My dear Anand,

    You have no idea what’s happening in Darfur. Let’s not trivialise genocide.

    Also the moral equivalence is repugnant. There is a tremendous moral difference between the dogmatic use of violence against the government in a constitutional democracy and against a autocratic dictatorship that actively discriminates against a segment of its own population.

    Besides let’s not go off topic and discuss Naxalites in this post.

  3. Just to make it clear, I know of Acorn’s opposition of Salwa Judum as an instrument (though on much narrower grounds than I do).

    My beef is with the approach to viewing the problem as a law and order issue instead of as a political issue.

    That leads you, among other things, to recommend (in the same article) increased security forces from the centre to deal with the problem. This will surely increase the ‘humanitarian crisis’. I have no illusions about Indian State power, just as I don’t have any about Sudan.

Comments are closed.