Sunday, December 18, 2011

Someone Get's It!

Stephen Chan Telling It Like It Is.

I came across this fascinating debate on the subject of the China's investments in Africa. As you might notice the side opposed to Chinese investment employs mainly shrill, generalizations that are little more than xenophobic fear-mongering. In this video, some Chinese dude named Stephen Chan exposes, in the most eloquent way, the blatant racist attitudes towards both Africans and Chinese that underlies opposition to Chinese investment.

You should also check out Chan's website - he appears to be something of a Renaissance Man; writer, skilled martial artist, world traveler, philanthropist, intellectual, husband, government advisor, and the list goes on. Here's his website...... Sounds like a good role-model!

Also, check out what this lady has to say about the realities of Chinese investment in Africa.....


  1. Great video! A voice of reason on the topic of African Chinese relations.

  2. beyond simply saying that the occidentals use racist rhetoric (which is painfully obvious to anyone with half a brain), what does he propose to change the corruption and human rights abuses?

    he simply makes some apologies and glosses over the "mistakes" China's investments has made in terms of "blunders"

    but to actually get China to become pro-active to resolve China's corruption problems and also to promote more democratic and UN charter based human rights, what does Stephen Chan propose?

    whities being racist towards China and condescending towards Africans is nothing new, but Stephen Chan's attitude is like "well shit happens and America and Europe did the same thing."

    how do people actually go forward from this point on to actually mutually benefit and help lift Africa out of poverty instead of just getting at the coltan and bauxite?

  3. James

    Yes as I've written before, on the subject of China in particular and Asians in general, there isn't much reason or rationality on display.

  4. Hump

    Thanks for your comment.

    I think you've missed the point of Chan's words. Firstly, his speech is part of a debate on whether China's investment in Africa is beneficial or detrimental. China's human rights record is beyond the scope of the topic of the debate, and also not Chan's area of expertize. he has adised both China and the US on their Africa policies - his area of work is Africa, not China.

    I don't believe Chan's points are as simplistic as merely saying "the west is doing it too!". He's putting China's investment in the proper context. The claim is that China wants to repeat the exploitative colonial practises of the west, Chan is explaining that China's presence in the 21st century is contextual congruent with the activities of western countries - they are looking for resources, but no-one is complaining about the west's investments.

    As Chan explained, China's approach is to give their African partners infrastructure like hospitals, roads, railways, and so on. most importantly they are building universities - in several centuries of European involvement in Africa, they haven't built a single university. Presently, if Africans want higher education they go somehwere else resulting in a brain-drain.

    Chan's speech makes it clear that China's investment bears no resemblance to imperialsm.

  5. nah, I got the main point of his speech and am not arguing with that whatsoever. it's a business transaction and Africa's dictators are free to pick who can stuff their Swiss accounts faster and fatter.

    I'm not like that craze white lady nor like the BBC propaganda documentaries. but you can't deny that China is being realpolitiks about their business model.

    I'm not even closely suggesting "neo-colonialism" and "imperialism" (which is totally ironic coming from the occidental empires), but I'm talking about the "it's just business" attitude that China takes with regards to not caring about human rights - like the "gaffe" that is Sudan.

    if I've been called cynical, then China's Africa policy is beyond cynical and merely realpolitiks - which is understandable and very rational.

    but you'd just hope that China can do better if it's in a position to influence policies through the economy.

    as far as the Universities go, you realize that most African dictators have studied at Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford, or the Sorbonne right?

    again, I'm not refuting China is doing some "good things" in Africa in helping to build infrastructure, but don't be so naive as to think China's intentions aren't to also get at the mineral wealth and screw the poor - as China's screwing over their own poor peasants.

    China's approach is purely "it's business" but in terms of propping up dictatorship regimes that realpolitiks come with a heavy price.

  6. i just lost my response, so I'm not going to bother with this dumb blospot thing again.

    suffice to say, I got Chan's main point, but don't you got mine with regards to China's realpolitiks.

  7. also, in the post above: by getting China to change human rights issues, I meant it as in the context for Africa...

  8. Hump...

    No-one is denying that China is taking a pragmatic approach in their Africa politics - they don't deny that, in fact, they are quite open about it.

    They're not pretending to be anything more than business partners - they're not pushing ideology at all. They are open about pursuing resources, that is no secret, and in the video Chan says as much! The deal seems to be "give us fair access to resources and we'll build roads, railways, schools, universities, hospitals and airports". At the end of the day, everyone benefits. Where is the problem?

  9. I guess we differ on the definition of "fair" here and how "everyone benefits."

    like I said, it's not enough simply to gloss over "gaffes" like Sudan and to say China is not involving in their domestic policies.

    simply by the fact that they give money to corrupt regimes and often brutal dictators who could care less about the plight of their people, China is involved.

    I'm saying that instead of looking the other way like China is doing, it should actively engage in reforms according to UN guidelines.

    I realize that the US is one of the very few nations refrain from signing the UN charter on universal human rights, but at least having a string attached to the purse and some sort of accountability is better than "we don't care about human suffering because it's simply business and you have done far worse."

    I just think China has this opportunity to shine and it's shying away from the chance to call out the west hypocrites.

    there' I've put it in terms that you can't say is not beneficial for China's publicity foreign PR.

  10. Hump

    How do you know that China doesn't care about human suffering? Why would they work so hard within China over past 70 years to end feudalism in China, increase literacy, put a stop to the cycle of famines that destroyed millions of Chinese peasants, lower child mortality rates, increase life spans, and improve conditions for women, if they didn't care about human suffering?

    Freedom isn't so sweet if you don't have a job, or if you are starving to death, or are unable to read, or die before the age 5.

    As Americans are starting to realize, the vote isn't enough - freedom is more than choosing your candidate, it must include opportunities for employment, hope for a prosperous future, education, and the opportunity to make choices regarding any of the above.

    The fact is, in most countries economic prosperity has always occurred before freedom and human rights. That includes countries in Europe as well as the US. As you know, the US became wealthy and strong, despite its appalling human rights record of the past. And in the UK, the working class couldn't even vote until well after the country had become wealthy and industrialized.

    There aren't many (if any at all) countries that we can say successfully developed because they had human rights and democracy. That's just a cold fact of history.

    This might be because once you have prosperity with economic and educational opportunities people start to feel like they have a role to play in the affairs of their nation. Once people have something to lose, investment in a home, or a job, or a family, then they start to want to have a voice - but you can't do that without economic opportunities.

    China is not involved in the internal politics of Africa, and they shouldn't be. By promoting economic development they are promoting human rights, because in every case in modern history, it is economic and industrial development that has led to successful demands for human rights, and freedom. Human rights has always come after development. There is no other model for development - it doesn't exist.

    On a final note, the West isn't being hypocritical, just naive, and historically ignorant - and maybe a little arrogant too, maybe. So there's nothing to call out.

  11. I'm not going to debate models of economic development, as I'm not an expert (and I suspect you don't have a degree for it either).

    I'm just saying that China has the ability to make influences other nations don't and they're staying away from it.

    as far China's internal problems go, that's a whole can of worms on the so called "human rights abuses" and other issues.

    there's a thing called "Great Leap Forward" and trying to cover it up with the "Cultural Revolution"

    as far China's current social problems go, it's way too complicated and better saved for other websites on how the peasants are getting screwed over and activists are killed.

    I'm as far from the US media propaganda as you can get, but at the same time let's not deny these are serious issues that are real and have been brought forth by Chinese people themselves on the social ills.

    I'm going to just leave it at we agree that Stephen Chan correctly calls out the racist overtones of that white lady and the BBC documentaries as yellow peril lies.

  12. Hump..

    I'm glad we agree on something! I also think that there are moral obligations, and would love it if China were at the forefront the charge for individual rights.

    But I believe that Africans have a better chance of gaining better living and political conditions through Chinese investment.

    Both the west and China enrich African despots - the Chinese through trade and the west through "humanitarian" donations. The difference is that the Chinese are helping Africans to create wealth through creation of jobs. The west creates rich despots and a primary school level educated population.

    In 50 years, history will show that China has left a legacy in Africa of education, infrastructure, increased living standards and personal income, and perhaps even helped Africans to attain higher education in their countries. With this the Africans themselves might find empowerment to demand democracy.

    The west has and will leave behind a legacy of pseudo-humanitarianism that makes the west look good, but leaves Africa destitute and under-educated.

    If people are genuine about wanting the best for Africa, they wouldn't downplay the west's ongoing aid to despots, whilst screaming about China. Surely a more honest and productive approach would be to insist that all sides work together - but we just don't see this kind of debate taking place where western "activists" are passionate about stopping the west aiding tyrants.

    That's why I just don't take criticism of China seriously - it can't be genuine for the above reasons.

    Finally, remember that the Industrial revolution in Europe and the US was brutal, appalling worker conditions, child slave-labour, brutality towards the workforce, dispossessing the peasantry of what little land they owned, not to mention the accompanying political and social repression that enabled all of it to happen.

  13. I guess we'll just have to wait 50 years and revisit this discussion as old men. ;)

    as far the US' involvement with propping up dictatorships, I'm not going to argue with that as I know it.

    however, the same argument at the end is used by you as well as Chan that since the gweilos have done it that it somehow justifies China's turning a blind eye to human suffering.

    if you even hear about the scale of social problems in China you wouldn't think China is anything wonderful.

    anyhow, I guess we can leave it at everybody's doing the same thing and how can they go forth now to get better?

    happy holidays!

  14. Hump..

    Well I'm not justifying China's Africa policies relative to the west's. I'm asking what the justification is for activists to overlook western support of despots, but single-out the Chinese.

    There isn't any justification, yet these people claim to be concerned about African human rights - I'm skeptical. It doesn't help human rights to overlook abuses just because its the west.

    And the fact is, that if you build roads, hospitals, universities, airports, schools, and other infrastructure, then those things will cen continue to be utilized years into the future. On the other hand, if you line the pockets of despots with "humanitarian" aid, but build nothinhg, then in years to come will show that you did nothing.

    That's why I think that Chinese policy has better potential for positive far-reaching and long-term effects than the western model.

    But don't get me wrong, I absolutely do not think of China as an utopia, or even wonderful!

    Happy Holidays to you too!