Term Paper: China and Sudan Darfur Crisis

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China and Sudan (darfur crisis)

China and Sudan: The Darfur crisis

The world of international politics and relationships has become increasing complex. This is due to a number of important factors, which include the phenomenon of globalization and increased economic competition, coupled with the reduction in the availability of natural resources. The decrease in the supply of resource such as oil has had an important impact on international relationships and has increased competition.

The growing Chinese economy finds itself in a precarious and difficult situation. As its internal demands grow, it seeks to compete with other major countries in terms of oil and other economic areas. At the same time, it has to tread carefully in terms of the political and economic ties that it has made with certain countries. The interdependence between Sudan and China is a particularly delicate, and one in which China has been accused by many commentators of furthering and possibly inflaming the terrible and problematic civil war in that country.

China is a country that has shown radical growth in economic terms. This has resulted in an increasing political awareness among other countries of the potential of China. This is also reflected in an awareness of China's influence on world economics and diplomatic affairs. In short, China is being recognized as one of the most powerful players on the international stage.

However, the rise of China takes place at a complex and difficult time in world affairs. As the competition for resources has increased, countries like the United States and Japan find that they have to contend with and take China into account. Within this context, China finds that it is under increasing pressure to find the resources to feed its growing economy. The country has a 2007 GDP growth of approximately 11.3%, which means that it is forced to find the needed resources to fuel and sustain its growing economy. This has resulted in the country searching for areas of resources and raw materials that are less contested in the world. Consequently, China has entered the African market and is the largest trading partner and the main foreign investor in Africa's oil industry.

However investing in Africa brings a number of human rights and international issues to bear. The Darfur region of Western Sudan has become one of the most discussed areas of the world in terms of the conflict and human rights abuses associated with the region. The origins of the recent Sudan conflict, which began in 2003, seem to be related to ethnic and tribal differences.

The Sudanese government and a militia group known as the Janjaweed are pitted against an array of rebel groups, including the "http: Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement. The acts of rape and Genocide have mainly been ascribed to the actions of the Janjaweed, with which the Sudanese government refuses to acknowledge any contact or complicity. While the actual causes of the conflict are difficult to discern the consensus is that drought, desertification, and overpopulation are among the causative factors.

The issue that has raised international condemnation is the large number of innocent people killed or forced to move because of the conflict. The figures in this regard are alarming. Official estimates are that more than 180,0000 people have been killed and unofficial estimates put the figure at between 200,000 and 400,000 dead with more than a million people displaced.

Sudan: Death Toll in Darfur)

Source: (http://www.state.gov/s/inr/rls/fs/2005/45105.htm)

There are many reports that openly accuse the Sudanese government for this situation.

The genocide is the brutal plan of three men in the Sudanese national Government -- President Bashir, Vice-President Taha, Security Chief Gosh. Now they are spreading their system of terror to other African countries, including Chad and the Central African Republic

Darfur: a genocide we can stop)

Given these figures and the international condemnation it is not surprising that China's close association the Sudanese government has come under the international spotlight. This has resulted in many reports that openly suggest that China is complicit in the atrocities through its economic and diplomatic support of the Sudanese government.

Chinese companies have turned a blind eye to the brutal way in which Sudan forced 200,000 to 300,000 of its citizens from oil-rich lands without compensation. Nor have these companies shown concern that Sudan uses oil revenue to purchase arms for its wars against its black African population.

Calling on China: The China-Darfur Connection)

China and relationships with the Sudan

The transformation of the Chinese economy from a relatively isolated agrarian society into what has been described as, "... A key force in the global economy" is impressive. (Goodman). However, this aspect has also resulted in a great need for various raw materials. This has in turn resulted in china seeking new resources and raw materials in some areas that are shunned by the rest of the world. This refers in particularly to the extensive relationship between China and the Sudan; which has resulted in a clash with many world authorities in terms of human rights issues. Importantly, in terms of international relationships, this has also meant that China has clashed with the policies and interests of countries like the United States.

It should also be noted that China has relationships with many other countries that are shunned by major Western powers. For instance, China recently signed a $70 billion oil deal with Iran. This has diplomatic implication and as one pundit states, ".... The evolving ties between those two countries could complicate U.S. efforts to isolate Iran diplomatically or pressure it to give up its ambitions for nuclear weapons" (Goodman). China is also pursuing oil in Angola

However, an African country that has become extremely important to the Chinese is Sudan. Sudan is rich in oil and other minerals and has become an important and commercial and trading partner for China - especially in the area of arms. However, as already mentioned, the relationship between China and the Sudan is a complex one in terms of various international aspects and especially with regard to the question of international human rights,

The Chinese involvement in Africa and particularly the Sudan should be understood against the backdrop of international commerce and power politics. Many of the Chinese attempts in the past to establish new areas of trade and resources in the world have ended in failure. In essence, many Chinese firms and companies have been sidelined and excluded by the multinational corporations from the United States and other countries that have tended to dominate the market with regard to energy resources.

As one report on this issue states, "Japan appears set to claim Siberian stocks that China once thought were in hand. The U.S.-led war in Iraq has thrown Chinese oil concessions in that country into doubt..." (Goodman)

These and other factors have tended to force the Chinese to seek alternative resource areas. This is largely a result of the fact that China has evolved into the world's second-largest consumer. Another statistic that also can be seen to play a role in the countries choice of trading partners is the fact that China's imports have grown from approximately six percent of its oil needs a decade ago to roughly one-third today and this is estimated to rise to 60% by 2020. (Goodman) Consequently, the Sudan has presented itself as one of the few areas of energy supply that is not dominated by Western corporate interests.

Sudanese interests

In terms of oil, China has extensive interests in the Sudan. At present the China National Petroleum Corp. owns 40%, which amount to the largest single share, of the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Co. This is a consortium that,."..dominates Sudan's oil fields in partnership with the national energy company and firms from Malaysia and India." (China, Sudan and the Darfur Conflict Fact Sheet) Furthermore, "China's relationship with Sudan includes close and comprehensive bilateral economic, political and military ties, as well as diplomatic support in multilateral institutions such as the United Nations" (China, Sudan and the Darfur Conflict Fact Sheet).

China has therefore become the world's largest player in Sudan's oil industry. It has interests as well in the development, extraction, and acquisition of Sudan's oil. Another fact that adds to the relationship on an economic level between the two countries is that oil accounts for 70% of Sudan's total global exports and that Sudan's oil exports account for 7% of China's total oil imports. (China, Sudan and the Darfur Conflict Fact Sheet).

One of the most contentious issues in the relationship between China and the Sudan are the arms interests. The trading in arms from China to the Sudan has a relatively long history. China sold arms to the Sudan as early as the mid-1960s, when the Nimeiri government (1969-85) bought weapons from China. However, when the civil war in Sudan escalated in the 1990, the purchases of arms from China were increased. These increased purchases were also a result of Sudan's improved financial position due to of international credit… [END OF PREVIEW]

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