Home > Uncategorized > Resenting the Chinese (No, not Americans this time)

Resenting the Chinese (No, not Americans this time)

cartoon by Gavin Coates (http://vcafrica.ning.com/)

Although Sinophobia (fear of Chinese) has existed for centuries, a new form of this hatred has followed China’s entry onto the global stage. As China increases investment in the developing world, governments and societies welcome the prospect of the creation of new jobs. Chinese-built factories, mines, and projects need local workers, right? The problem is, when you have a population of more than 1.1 billion, you’re not very concerned about creating jobs for the world’s disadvantaged.  One of China’s rising exports has become the Chinese worker.

Power plants in Northern Vietnam, mines in Nigeria, and factories in Zambia have become sites of protest and violence against Chinese investment. Communities expecting the arrival of jobs instead see the arrival of mini-Chinese communities complete with construction camps and Chinese restaurants.  Countries including India and Vietnam are busy creating regulations to prevent the influx of Chinese migrant labor. Southeast Asia has been affected by Chinese influence for centuries, through war, migration, and general proximity. The backlash in Africa is something new. China needs vast quantities of raw materials to drive its economic growth. Africa, especially countries considered too volatile for Western investment, have become targets of Chinese investment. Attacks in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Zambia illustrate the bloody consequences of this policy.

Chinese businessmen in Africa are chastised for low wages, ignoring safety standards, and relying on Chinese rather than local labor. A Zambian observer, after an attack on a Chinese mine in 2006, responded, “We don’t want Zambia to be a dumping ground for their [China’s] human beings.” In Nigeria, Chinese investment and exports have damaged the country’s textile industry. Since 2006, Nigerian militants have threatened to attack Chinese workers in the Niger Delta.

In the international arena China wavers between demanding the respect and influence of a superpower and accepting the responsibilities of a developing country. Although China can pick and choose its involvement and desire to engage in tough global problems, the results of China’s global investment drive will continue to sow resentment and possibly violence well into the future.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Emily B
    February 4, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Ashley Cahill, you are amazing! This picture is so funny. I love the chopsticks!

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