Does China deserve this level of criticism?

Steven Spielberg pulls out of the Olympics over Darfur, a UK newspaper has published a letter from 80 Nobel laureates and artists urging Beijing to help end the conflict in Sudan, Reporters Without Borders calls China’s involvement in Africa ‘toxic’ and we can’t move for emails saying it’s time to world spoke out about the human rights record of this year’s Olympic hosts. But is the criticism fair?

(I know the Games are awarded to a city not a country, but that is not how it’s being perceived.)

Do China’s actions warrant all of these attacks? Or is it being unfairly singled out, when many other countries are from having clean hands?

And with regard to Africa, shouldn’t China get credit for the millions of dollars and expertise that China it’s pouring into Africa?

79 Responses to “Does China deserve this level of criticism?”

  1. 1 keith
    February 14, 2008 at 14:45

    I don’t feel I’m qualified to cast more than a somewhat uninformed opinion, but I think all the criticism is rooted in fear of the mounting competitive threat that China poses economically. They are a looming threat to capitalist giants like the U.S. They seem to have quite a lot less scruples about what is acceptable to maintain and increase this economic force than the U.S. and certainly Europe. I think the criticism is not unfounded, but that ultimately it is rooted in fear of their economy, not in a sense of justice. That’s human beings for you.

  2. 2 John in Salem
    February 14, 2008 at 14:51

    Yes, but world criticism has never meant anything to the Chinese government. It might be the right thing to do but it will accomplish nothing and the Chinese people won’t hear any of it.

  3. 3 Nathaniel
    February 14, 2008 at 14:56

    I fully support this action by Spielberg and other Nobel laureates. It is a unique opportunity for the world to see how much pain that the government of Sudan under the leadership of Al-Bashir has inflicted on the people of Darfur. This is the time for us to see that China do not have the yearnings of this people at heart.
    The west should do more to put pressure on Beijing to come to terms with sanctions against this callous action on Darfur.
    It is no doubt that the new partnership between African governments and China will is only meant to benefit Beijing.
    Cape town

  4. 4 Virginia Davis
    February 14, 2008 at 14:57

    China is a huge developing country. Some aspects of its governance certainly are deserving of criticism. With the eyes of the world directed there, censorship and the proven abuse of power by manufacturing executives are two places where criticism is justified. I find Spielberg’s action to be rude; he never should have signed on in the first place. Virginia in Oregon

  5. 5 John in Germany
    February 14, 2008 at 15:06

    Hi Ros.
    China are just following their political interests, just like any other country.

    Listening to BBC in the night to a programme about bad winter weather (sorry forgot the lands name, but a part of the old Russia) 1 hours electricity a day, with minus 20 degrees being an average. a part of the western world, and whose helping them??.

    Here in Germany people queue up for food at mid day they call it Die Taffel: the table. In the middle of modern Europe there are people who do not have enough money to buy food for the family, its sickening. JUST REPORTED. THE HEAD OF THE GERMAN POST HAS BEEN TAKEN INTO CUSTODY; BECAUSE OF PROBABLE TAX EVASION ,GOING INTO MILLIONS:

    So why criticise the Chinese, lets get things straightened out here first of all. Make sure you’ve sweep before your own front door, before you worry about someone else’s.

    i cannot condone any country for treating its people like un-humanes. no matter how big-small-rich-or poor. Just take a good look at yourselves Leaders that represent us, if we want or not. Get yourselves sorted out at first, and then look at your neighbour. Forget the next election, and think about us, whether were Asian European, African or whomever. Then one day we will look up at you, and not just tolerate.

    Peace to you all
    John in Germany

  6. February 14, 2008 at 15:08

    Hi Ros,

    China does deserve the criticisms.

    China is in a position to wield enormous benevolent influence in Africa but selfishly they refuse. As a result, great gains made by the west towards accountability in Africa are under threat of being overturned. The West started out just like this. Selfishly pursuing their own interest towards the development of their societies, remember slave trading, partitioning of africa, rush for african wealth? See the consequences? Africans are now pestering western societies with migration, etc.

    That was then. The west began making strides to correct these injustices. But why does China want to take us back to the bad-old-days?

    This constitutes a cruel disregard towards genuine African progress.Current corp of African leaders (not all but a good number of them) love this arrangement because with China, they can now do as they please without any remorse of conscience, disregarding any accountability issues.. Who needs to follow those “difficult” Western restrictions when FREE Chinese cash is available without any strings attached?

    China is not putting in expertise into Africa. They are extracting our resources, bringing in cooks & cleaners from China to the extent that Chinese are prepared to do “street hawking” . It happened at one point in Liberia. True, they are bringing cash for our resources, not building our productive capacity. African has sufficient experience with this behavior. Western powers did this to us back then and look where it landed us. No good.

    Monrovia, Liberia

  7. 7 Brett
    February 14, 2008 at 15:15

    Are the attacks justified? Absolutely.

    Are they fair? Not really.
    The US didn’t have this level of criticism when we hosted the Olympics, and we are just as bad when it comes to human rights abuses (especially since we are talking about ‘indirect’ abuses, or abuses as a result of supporting certain regimes or in our case international corporations as well).
    Other countries have not had this level of criticism.
    I think it has mostly been a backlash of the attempt to ‘silence’ athletes at the games.

    I have not seen a critic of China yet whos country has not been involved in human rights abuses in the present or past.

    It amuses me that Americans seem to be very involved in criticism towards China when again, the US holds every bit as bad of a track record.

    I’m all for welcoming China into the International and Olympic community. They need to understand that they will be held to the same amount of criticism as everyone else, but that there will be plenty of hypocrisy in the criticism they are given. Take it with a grain of salt, its always easier for people to blame other countries for their actions without taking into account the actions of their home country or fighting against those injustices.
    No need to have a arrogant ‘Western’ attitude. All of our countries have dirty hands.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  8. 8 Ssesanga mubarak
    February 14, 2008 at 15:42

    Most people and world leaders live in denial that China is now a world power,its doing what other powers can do, the criticisms are good because human life is in danger,but nothing will China change,they are pushing National interests.Were those people sleeping when Chinawon the bid to host the games??? ssesanga mubaraka in kampala uganda.

  9. 9 Rory
    February 14, 2008 at 15:42

    Rory (Zimbabwe)
    We did most of the anti apartheid movies which helped change world opinion about racism. We shot them in Zimbabwe as we could not do them in South Africa. Most of us, who are still alive, are still totally against racism- despite the fact that corruption has beleaguered our own land. I say this because of the following. Chinese people are not to blame for the Sudan situation. Of course they are pouring money into Africa. I know people who are working for them in Zimbabwe- and frankly they are not well paid and complain about the hours. And most of them prefer the days when it was easier to be the victim of a struggle- but that is another story.
    But let’s talk realpolitik – economics- and if you read on you will see why this all strings together. As with apartheid, African whites were held to blame for iniquities towards the blacks. So – I cannot- hand on heart- say that Chinese people are to blame for Darfur. But I do wonder – just like the anti apartheid films – whether publicity, ( like..um… why did they get Spielberg on the team anyway…nudge nudge…)- I repeat- whether publicity and its concomitant effect on the MONEY behind the iniquities should be pursued.
    Rhodesia would NEVER have become Zimbabwean without international economic pressure. South Africa was the same. And now…. perhaps it is time for us geriatrics, who seem to be making rock movies for Berlin, again to advise the young Ipod generation. Boycott Olympic viewing. Boycott the sponsors. DO NOT DRINK COKE OR SOFT DRINKS. STOP USING ANYTHING ADVERTISED ON THE OLYMPICS. TELL EVERYONE (ESPECIALLY GALLUP) THAT YOU WILL REDUCE INTERNATIONAL VIEWING FIGURES.
    Hit the world(such as it is) where it hurts. Forget the soft- speak of the diplomats- forget the ‘did not understand the policies in Sudan’ – simply boycott. Turn off the TV. Let your MP know. By hitting the pockets- you might hit a nerve.
    We did it years ago about apartheid. It can be done again.
    And then we can start on…….

  10. 10 Ros Atkins
    February 14, 2008 at 15:54

    Dearest Ros : Happy Valentine’s Day to you my good friend. China’s very poor record concerning human rights can never be denied. And surely the Chinese government deserves every criticism it can get. But also we shouldn’t allow the Olympics to be politicised for any reason. With my love ! Yours forever, Lubna !

  11. 11 mohammed ali
    February 14, 2008 at 15:57

    I fully agree that innocent lives are being destroyed in Daffur, but that has nothing to do with the Olympic Games that is to be staged in China. The critisms toward China drawing in the Olympic Games is purely unneccessary and made out of complete prejudice.
    If Nobel Lureates or Spielberg want to critise China because of her support or business dealings with the government of Sudan, it should be done on a political ground and not using any sporting medium to do so.

  12. 12 Ros Atkins
    February 14, 2008 at 15:57

    Dear Ros,

    I frankly don’t understand all the fuss regarding China and Darfur. Before there was any meaningful Chinese business intervention in Sudan, there was a deadly civil war being waged in that country regarding the allocation resources. The Chinese are just doing business with the country.

    What we should all be concerned about in Africa is how African people can make their countries work by ensuring that their governments are held accountable for the wrongs that they commit against their own people. But instead of doing this we always tend to blame external forces when our internal decisions go wrong.

    Here in my country, most Liberians made the mistake of voting into office Charles Taylor in 1997. When continuous warfare resulted from this decision, most of these same people tried blaming the Americans for not coming in to remove Taylor from power by force, although they could have easily done it by refusing to elect him president.

    I admire the Chinese work ethic. Instead of berating them on issues that border upon internal/domestic bad policies by African governments, I think it will be best if we copy the positives that they continue to score in their quest of modernizing their nation. I’ve seen the Chinese at work fixing our roads in Monrovia and I’m extremely impressed.

    Lamii in Liberia

  13. 13 John in Germany
    February 14, 2008 at 16:09

    Hello Kieth, and Brett
    Just read your input Kieth, seems to me you are qualified enough. because you have said what you think. And Brett,and the others have done just the same, enjoyable reading.

    May i just qualify a paragraph of mine, i forgot to point out that the table is charity, they collect unwanted groceries from shops, restaurants ect, sort and mainly sell the products for a minimum, ideal to help people to respect themselves. Some prepare meals, and serve them.


  14. February 14, 2008 at 16:23

    Hi Ros,

    I absolutely agree with Spielberg’s decision. I’m all for a boycott of those Olympics. And then some…
    Lamii, I’m very surprised by your comment that China is only doing business with Sudan’s Government. The are also providing them with arms and planes to bomb villages. They are supplying them with substatial amount of cash to keep perpetrating attacks on innocents.
    As to the effect of China on Africa, as a Senegalese, I can straight up tell you, there won’t be much good for us africans once China is done. They are bringing expertise? not really. They come and build infrastructures, bring their own labor, own capital, the locals do not participate and there is no job creation. Not much wrong with that you’d tell me. Fine. But when they leave, because of the “favor” they’ve done, they get juicy deals with african governments for their help. The flood our markets with cheap, useless and 0quality items.
    In the end, Africa is once again the biggest looser, and we will always be given the &*%$ leaders we have.
    Do we not condemn them just because, there’s been worst regimes. Absolutely not. We still need to take a stand. I don’t really care that the US or any other country is bad as well. The US is not sending fighter planes to Sudan.
    Anybody who thinks China doesn’t deserve this attention is highly misguided. I even think there is not enough pressure from the Intl community to stop these people.

    See my post on the subject:

  15. 15 AbuNas
    February 14, 2008 at 16:28

    Yes, this is a positive sign that the western media and notable figures in the west are concern over Darfur and are addressing China’s involvement.
    However, what is also upsetting is the western media and as well as western notable figures lack of awareness of other conflicts that is waging in the Horn of Africa (HOA).

    Why isn’t there any criticism for the lack of US and European involvement in resolving a crisis in the HOA that is even worst then Darfur?

    Where are the top media personalities and industries in addressing the crisis in Somalia in which tens of hundreds of thousands of refugees, violence and war exist?

  16. 16 Ros Atkins
    February 14, 2008 at 16:30

    Hi Ros ,
    China is a member of the UN Security council.That means global responsibility.China should consider advising SUDAN instead of hiding behind its policy rules.By BOYCOTTING THE OLYMPICS CHINA WILL REALIZE ITS IMPORTANCE IN SAFEGAURDING THE WELL BEING OF THE WORLD’S PEOPLE.

  17. 17 viola anderson
    February 14, 2008 at 16:55

    Keep politics out of the Olympics. Athletes who work so hard should not have to see their dreams go up in smoke because of politics which is what happened when the U.S. boycotted Russia’s way back when. The Olympics are about sports. Canadian

  18. 18 R.B.
    February 14, 2008 at 17:22

    The China that everyone is criticizing today is the same China that was awarded the games. Why didn’t all these issues get addressed at the time is Beijing’s nomination? It seems silly to expect China to become an Eastern annex of the U.S. because of a global track meet.

    It’s not that I don’t care about human rights, it’s just that the Chinese aren’t as sneaky as our government with their business. I think we should clean our own house before we complain about our neighbor’s.

    R.B – Cleveland, USA

  19. February 14, 2008 at 17:38

    What the West including Stephan Spielberg do not want to listen is that China pursues a non interference in the affairs of other countries. Spielberg and the West cannot speak about human rights when there are violations of human rights in Cuba, Venezuela, and the United States. Sports and Politics should be separated. Any boycott will not work. In 1980, people boycotted the Moscow Olympics and I was able to get souvenirs of the Moscow Olympics from friends who crossed the border between the USA and Canada or from family in Cuba who sent me souvenirs of the Moscow Olympics. In addition, Since I was a Shortwave Listener and I am still a shortwave listener I remember receiving souvenirs of the 1980 Moscow Olympics from Radio Budapest, Radio Polonia, Radio Prague, and Radio Bucharest [now Radio Romania International]. China has the right to host the 2008 Beijing Olympics and I support China.

  20. 20 VictorK
    February 14, 2008 at 17:42

    The Chinese arm the Sudanese regime and fund it by developing and purchasing its oil wealth (actually, the oil wealth of the African south of Sudan). That makes them party to the Darfur genocide which, contrary to one of your posters, is a recent development (the old conflict was the race war waged by the Arab north on the African south, which goes back for centuries).

    What a curious double standard many of your posters apply when dealing with the West and the non-West. The whole world was expected to observe international sanctions – including complete exclusion from all sporting events – against white South Africa and Rhodesia; but China’s trade with the even more hateful regime in Sudan is absolutely OK for some, and the architects of the Tianemen massacre have been awarded the olympics by a world that only holds the West to any kind of civilised standard of behaviour. There is hardly a subject on WHYS that doesn’t quickly become an opportunity for bashing the West in general and the US in particular. This one is no different. But when did the US ever support a regime committing genocide? Yet some of your posters are convinced that China’s behaviour in Sudan is no worse than previous actions of the US government.

    The silence of muslim and African governments and peoples on this is telling. Africans often blame their problems on unwanted Western involvement and Western support for corrupt regimes. But the indifference of the bulk of Africans towards Darfur and China’s very real involvement in facilitating the genocide there is deafening. Similarly with muslims. They are exceptionally – and often rightly – vocal about muslims dying in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan, and are virulently critical of the role of Western governments in those crises, especially the US. More muslims have died in Darfur than in any of the three places just mentioned, possibly more than in Afghanistan, Palestine and Iraq combined. Yet there has not been a single significant word of criticism from muslims or muslim governments about the role of China in the rape, pillage, and deaths of hundreds of thousands of their co-religionists.

    The Chinese government is getting off very lightly; imagine the international outrage and the abuse that the US would have earned if it had been supporting, say, a white regime engaged in the mass slaughter of black or brown people. I doubt if in such a case WHYS would have given the US the benefit of the doubt by asking if criticism of its support for genocide was ‘deserved’ (in much the same way as Israel is never given the benefit of the doubt for anything). How can there be room for doubt of any kind when the facts are known?

    The line about China pouring millions into Africa sounds as if it came straight from a briefing by Peking. Really? Since it is now orthodoxy that the West deserves no credit for the billions that it has poured into Africa given that African leaders, we are repeatedly told, steal it all as a matter of course, how is it that these same thieving leaders leave untouched the supposed largesse of the Chinese government? Scepticism towards what might credit the West, credulity towards whatever boosts China. Not exactly a formula for cutting edge journalism, eh? (And, btw, has WHYS gotten round yet to reporting on the growing anti-Chinese feeling amongst ordinary Africans, including rioting in at least one country?)

    It’s scary just how many apologists there are for genocide and the enablers of genocide out there, and how for some people seizing an opportunity to attack the West and the US is far more important than ending genocide.

  21. February 14, 2008 at 17:50

    In my opinion, I don’t believe China deserves the criticism dolted out by our Government. Yes, China is expanding its military – but can you blame them? The US is spending a lot more money on defense than China and the way this administration has been acting, China must be able to defend itself at all costs. China does not involve itself in the internal affairs of other countries – that is their policy and has been for quite a number of years. Yes, China’s economy is booming but considering they are still behind the US. China has a population of 1.3 billion people and 300 million people are still living in poverty and China is trying to improve on that. Yes, China lends monies to countries without any pre-conditions and no interest charge – World Bank doesn’t do that!
    China is also attempting to do much to improve their posture in the world. They are improving many of their laws, doing more inspections of industries. Now, it has been revealed the US is selling military wares to Taiwan. Without the US intervention, China and Taiwan have developed a better relationship, with Taiwanese and Chinese visiting each other’s countries. Many Taiwanese also work in China.

    Talk about cheap labor, there are Status of Forces agreements and treaties that prohibit foreigners to pay above average wages to employees producing goods, that exceeds those of China’s origin.

    I suggest for those individuals who are not aware of what is taking place in China can watch CCTV9 on the Satellite and gain more knowledge than those who’ve no idea what is transpiring in China but are listening to other people who probably have never travelled from their hometown. Our own media does not provide us with accurate information about what is transpiring in other countries with the exception of negativism.

    I only wished our government would not interfere with internal affairs of other countries, and maybe the world would be a much safer place to live. People in other countries want the same ideals, safety, comfortability, and the right to provide for their families, along with freedom. Democracy is not always a sign of freedom.

  22. 22 George USA
    February 14, 2008 at 17:51

    China has used it’s UN vote and position to block effective actions taken by the UN to stop the genocide in Sudan.

    This was not one or two votes to undermine ending genocide but systematic use of the rules and regulations to do so.

    Yes, China has prolonged the genocide in Sudan, but thought no one would notice or react.

    So yes, their sharp criticism is well earned.

    If they are unhappy with the Olympics coming out party of the new and improved industrialized China because of this blow back-

    a meaningful change in policy would go a long way to correct the situation.

  23. 23 Paul, Liberia
    February 14, 2008 at 17:52

    No! What is China doing that other countries like the US & GB are NOT doing? We must help stop the war in Darfur whether with China or not.

  24. 24 Brett
    February 14, 2008 at 18:06

    John in Germany,
    Great post! Sorry to hear about the situation in your country with households lack of funds to buy basic necessities.
    I wish your country the best and hope to one day be able to have the opportunity to visit Germany.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  25. 25 Fahad Khan
    February 14, 2008 at 18:12

    With all due respect, China is not occupying any part of Africa, enslaving the people, or setting up puppet governments the way the West has done for hundreds of years. If China is responsible for Darfur because of their arms sales to Sudan, lets analyze the US’ arms sales to Iraq during the reign of Saddam Hussein. That is only one of several examples. Where else does the US,and the West in general, sell arms? Didn’t the US start a war in Iraq and Afghanistan which has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians as well. The former leader of Haiti also alleges that US marines entered his nation and took him on a plane to the Central African Republic. Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib are also examples of US human rights. Yes, they have excuses for everything they do. Terrorism, national security, business interests etc, if you ask the Chinese government, they will use the same excuses. So what’s the difference. Can’t the West stand the fact that Africa would rather work with India and China than their former colonial masters?

  26. 26 Des Currie
    February 14, 2008 at 18:15

    The only way China becomes a worse nation than any other is through perception. And the beast of peception is a voracious one, it will eat anything you throw into its cage.
    Des Currie

  27. 27 Kalypso
    February 14, 2008 at 18:20

    Of course, this is not the kind of intervention I would like to see in Africa.

    Not interfere in the politics of any African nation, help them to develop green technology and stop subsidising American cotton farmers and so on, and open their market to all African countries so they can become wealthy in a sustainable way – that’s what they should do.


  28. February 14, 2008 at 18:28

    Richard, by email

    Who stepped into our cicil war? No one. Every country has to run its course, as the UK did, USA did, and USSR did. History has shown time and time again that intervention without occupation is not the solution. History bears this out.

  29. February 14, 2008 at 18:29

    Mark, by email

    China has for some time, been making a large effort to “educate” their population about Martin Luther King Jr. and the American Civil Rights struggle. They have turned MLK into a hero, even erecting a statue to MLK in Bejing (I think) to all Chinese while cleverly impuning the U.S. government as a poor authority on the exercise of human rights. This is an old trick of the communist regimes and is used in Europe as well, lest the people be moved to find fault with their own systems.

  30. 30 Jeff Minter
    February 14, 2008 at 18:30

    The bias against the Chinese is rather incredible. Just hours after Spielberg, a US citizen incites public outrage on China’s “non interference” policy in Darfur, the president has announced that America is employing the same inaction.

    What did we say… China is powerful and significant enough to act on atrocities… so where does that leave those US protesters now, eh? I’m just so alarmed by these double standards.

  31. February 14, 2008 at 18:32

    Mike USA

    With all due respect, to say China has a policy of staying out of other countries issues is absolutely untrue.

    What about Tibet and many others.

    What about the Chinese weaponry pouring into Africa.

  32. February 14, 2008 at 18:33

    Chuck, by email

    I’m a Kenyan in USA NJ. I support Bush sending Rice to Kenya. Annan is facing a bad rap from government side right now and your reports are portraying it like it’s the whole Kenya against Annan. I don’t think Spielberg choice was good, China & Olympics has no relation to Sudan.

  33. February 14, 2008 at 18:33

    Chris, Boston (email)

    President Bush sounded quite intelligent and did a good job of representing the plethora of opinions regarding the Chinese Olympics. He did this by not representing any particular cause or motive. However, he did put a personal investment forward by claiming he would directly speak to the Chinese president. Perfect! Steven Spielberg isn’t a politician. Too much media emphasis is placed on celebrities, celebrities who are obviously far less invested than the United State President.

  34. February 14, 2008 at 18:34

    Zach in california (email)

    Everyone wants the US to stay away from the rest of the world until there is a military thing that everyone agrees on or there is financial aid that can be given, then the US doesn’t do enough, there is definitely a double standard,

  35. 35 eks321
    February 14, 2008 at 18:34

    the chinese communist party (ccp), which should not be confused with the chinese people, does business in African dictatorships. The ccp does not have any problem with these dictatorships or their policies, because these dictatorships are politically inoculated from the abuses that the ccp heaps upon their own people. as long as the ccp pays the african dictators for the right to steal the mineral wealth from those african countries, both the dictators and the ccp are happy. one dictatorship will never criticize another dictatorship.

  36. February 14, 2008 at 18:35

    Justin, email

    It’s a bit hypocritical for people to only start protesting how China is treating its relationship with Africa when China has such a history and ongoing condition of human rights violations and restrictions. My fear is that the Olympic Games will be cheapened by use as a political focus point on this issue. The games should not have been awarded to such a human rights violator in the first place, but since they have been, they should be used to create positive inroads into China rather than browbeating the nation about what the population have little chance to effect.

  37. February 14, 2008 at 18:35

    Kalypso-vienna,austria (email)

    Of course, this is not the kind of intervention I would like to see in Africa.

    Not interfere in the politics of any African nation, help them to develop green technology and stop subsidising American cotton farmers and so on, and open their market to all African countries so they can become wealthy in a sustainable way – that’s what they should do.

  38. February 14, 2008 at 18:37

    Rochelle, California (email)

    This ire’s me!
    People say that the US is nosey and getting into everyone’s business, but then this BBC reporter asks does the president think he has done enough for Darfur. This is such a double dipping. Is he going to stab the president after he is off the air and say how they should not be there? What?

  39. February 14, 2008 at 18:39

    Per Oregon (email)

    For the US government to criticize China is ridiculous. According
    to an article by Gwynne Dyer in the NZ Herald, the US is gearing
    up toward a war with China. That’s the meaning of the huge US
    war budget.

    Meanwhile western corporations are looting Congo, millions of
    Africans are dying, and the criticism is muted indeed.

  40. 40 Fahad Khan
    February 14, 2008 at 18:42

    The US bombed Sudan’s largest medicine factory about 10 years ago, so I’m sure their presence in Sudan will be controversial.

  41. February 14, 2008 at 18:44

    Roger//Ex-pat Brit
    Annapolis, Maryland, USA (email)

    Someone always blame the U.S. or the West or China. Frankly, I think it’s about time the Africans took some responsibility for their own country. Most African nations have had decades of aid, years of opportunity and all I see is despotic leaders who fill their off-shore bank accounts, while their people continue to live in poverty and remain powerless. It’s a bloody tragedy

  42. February 14, 2008 at 18:45

    Lubna, Iraq (email)

    Dearest Ros : To answer your question that you’ve just asked : BECAUSE SIMPLY THERE’S NO OIL IN DARFUR ! With my love ! Yours forever, Lubna !

  43. February 14, 2008 at 18:47

    wah wah wah Stop picking on China. Wake up China, this is what happens when you become a world player. Can this get anymore annoying?

  44. 44 Rodnei Noveli
    February 14, 2008 at 18:49

    I trully believe China deserves all the criticism.
    China acts like a superpower to meet its needs and like a developing country when it does not want to get involved in issues that may threat its business. It is high time China started to assume a posture of a serious and engaged Leading Nation if it really wants to be respected by the international community.

  45. 45 gary
    February 14, 2008 at 18:50

    Hello All,
    China is being criticized correctly; but unfairly. China is acting in much the same way western multinationals act now and have acted in past toward Africa; take as much out as possible, put as little in as possible, and pay-off the “head guy” to grease the wheels. The criticism of China is unfair because it fails to include all offenders; but it’s correct because China is acting as badly as many other corporate entities and nations. Africa’s resources are many; but many of her people are unsophisticated. This lack of unified understanding make the rape of natural resources by outsiders and incestuous rape of the human resources by African leaders, easy and profitable. WHYS as has asked how to solve Africa’s problems in past. I must say I do not know how this may done. The whole of Africa must act together to husband her human and natural wealth. Ethnic hostilities must cease. Western and eastern influences must be eliminated Off-shore hiding of monies must be stopped. Corrupt leaders must be brought to book and stolen wealth returned to its rightful owners. I don’t know how these things may accomplished. If I were a strong, honest African leader here’s were I’d start, I’d begin pouring money into (continent-wide) general public education programs and public works (water, irrigation, food and power supplies) projects. In short, I’d right-off everyone over 6 years of age and start from scratch.

  46. February 14, 2008 at 18:51

    Jerreh Thailand (email)

    The olympics is atmost a month’s activities, if people boycot the olympics, what leverage would the world have over China after the olympics? lets see the bigger picture and beyond the olympics.

  47. February 14, 2008 at 18:52

    Lamii, Liberia (email)

    The reason why President Bush has ruled out sending troops to Sudan? You remember Somalia in the 1990s? That is just what we’ll get if American boots are put on the grounds in Sudan. It will not help to solve the problem. In my view, it will only serve to further exacerbate it. Every warring faction would be clamoring to kill US soldiers. President Bush’s decision is wise.

  48. 48 Tommy C.
    February 14, 2008 at 18:54

    The fact that the majority of the Chinese (just talked about) don’t even know about Steven S. leaving, shows the level of human rights in that country.

  49. February 14, 2008 at 18:54

    Robert, Nausori, Fiji by email

    No country is perfect, but when the American president criticises China – are you kidding? The US need to get a grip on itself before it starts down this road. Someone get Bush a mirror please. Has he any idea of how poorly regarded American foreign policy is in the rest of the real world!

  50. February 14, 2008 at 18:55

    Helen, email

    1. The Olympics is supposed to TRANSCEND politics. Why are we mashing them together again?

    2. As an English-born, Australian-raised, Oregon, US-resident I have to ask why are we still spouting Colonial Rhetoric? I refer to the statement “waiting for an emerging 3rd-world nation to adapt to Western Civilization”. I love my culture & think it’s the greatest but why should everyone else agree with me? Remember the no-longer-politically-correct statement, “Free White & 21”?? Time to let it go, don’t you think?

  51. February 14, 2008 at 19:01

    Nathaniel, Cape town (email)

    I wish to describe Chinese dominance as another era of colonialism and a sellout from African leaders. I think the suffering of the people of Darfur signify what will come out of this Chinese trade and diplomatic expansion across Africa.
    If is unfortunate that Africa continue to be at the receiving end.
    This whole story manifest another form of cruel leadership that is has been the topic of the day in Africa.
    I wish China will realize that the lives of millions in Darfur is at stake and try to pressure Khartoum.

  52. 52 Matthew
    February 14, 2008 at 19:04

    The real issue here is Taiwan. Everyone is afraid to say it, but China is going to take it back after the Olympics. Any negative news you hear about China can probably be linked to China’s efforts to re-take Taiwan.

  53. 53 Chernor Jalloh
    February 14, 2008 at 19:09

    There is a saying,´´critisizing a cheaken will never kill it,but it will make it grow slim“.The problem in China for its bad human rights record is complex per se.However,China has been the main obstacle to many sanctions when the UN security council tries to impose on the Sudanese government of Al Bachir over the conflict in Darfur.Again,Iran and its development of nuclear weapons.

    I think the US must give the green light to the UN or act on its own to deploy troops in Darfur as it did in Iraq in 2003 to bring down a tyranic regime and the search of WMD.Actually, China,like any other western country is benefiting from Africa through false negotiations.There are so many western companies in Africa whereby it is only and only those at the top class are eating the huge money that is being poured to extract the African resources.

    Moreover,We can take a glance at the bloody and opressive military junta in Burma that is altering the old constitution to replace it with another sad and traumatic one.After the drafting of it, those old figures(military leaders) will oblige many innocent Burmese people to come out in good numbers to vote in a referendum that will help them stay in power.While they can hardly put a plate of food on their tables.There are so many western companies operating in that country.And forced labour are on the increase while those film makers are not doing enough to urge the Bush administartion or any other western country to help kick out the Burmese regime once and for all.
    If china´s hunger for raw materials in Africa to meet its selfish ends is called a toxic,what about the British and the Australians who are busy extracting gold from Guinea Conakry with the help of Ghana to serve their intrests and the ailing president with his extended family?Is that not another toxic?If it is not a toxic can anybody tell me what it is then?

    A very happy valentines day to all the listeners from around the world and the BBC,especially Ros and Ben.

  54. 54 Jeff Minter
    February 14, 2008 at 19:25

    “The fact that the majority of the Chinese (just talked about) don’t even know about Steven S. leaving, shows the level of human rights in that country.”

    What, that they don’t care or have other domestic things to worry about?

  55. 55 Ben Tobias
    February 14, 2008 at 19:29

    Blazes, by email

    The US’ consistent disregard for international law and its veto of every attempt by the Security Council to discipline Israel render it unqualified to judge other nations. The Olympic Games are a sporting event not a political opportunity. Give hypocrisy a rest.

  56. 56 SJ
    February 14, 2008 at 19:57

    I didn’t have time to read all the comments, but Brett, I agree with you. Amidst all this human rights criticism of China, I keep wondering why there wasn’t criticism when the U.S. hosted the Olympics. Granted the president wasn’t George W. Bush at that time… but still.

    ~SJ from Portland Oregon

  57. 57 Chernor Jalloh
    February 14, 2008 at 19:58

    VictorK:Those are just the pseudo comments you often make against who ever tries to bring the truths to light about how many western countries,particularly the US is transporting its foreign policy torwards other countries that are governed by dictators.
    We do sometimes pretend as if we are suffering from myopia to see the truths,eh?

    Happy valentine´s day VictorK.

  58. 58 carlos King
    February 14, 2008 at 20:17

    Hi Ros,

    I believe China deserves the criticism. It is totally unacceptable, for whatever reason, to support tacitly or openly a totalitarian/undemocratic regime. No decent governemnt would choose to associate with the regime in Darfur.

    I can appreciate the fact that China is cash rich and wants to invest its money but there must be more worthy regimes than Darfur’s! How any self-respecting government assocaite themselves with people who practice racism/ethnic cleansing and genocide is mind-boggling!

    But history has a way of repeating itself. The US, UK, Canada, Germany etc continued trading with South African until they were forced or shamed into stopping. It is not a coincidence that the people who suffered in South Africa under apartheid and the Sudanese now suffering have black skin. The majority of people with a lighter skin tone seems either incapable or unwilling to empathize with people with black skin.

    This lack of sympathy for people with black skin by the majority of light skinned peoples is a great mystery to me. I just cannot understand it. This is the root cause of the genocide in Darfur. Not until the light skinned power brokers of the world regain their humanity will there peace in Darfur and in the world at large.

    It is really, really, really, a very sad state of affairs. May God have mercy on the Sudanes and people of colour worldwide.

    Carlos, Kingston- Jamaica W.I.

  59. February 14, 2008 at 20:47

    At the end of the day the US would be very unlikely to send troupes to the Darfur region for a few reasons. It could inflame the idea that US is in conflict will people of the Muslim faith, one of the conflict points between tribes within Darfur. There would also be the possibility it could cause a proxy war, with US troops (or US backed troupes) fighting Sudanese (or Janjaweed Sudan rebels) and being provided arms from China. No one wants a proxy war.

    Given the fact there are 200,000+ dead (minimum) and 3,000,000+ displaced (minimum). Given the fact that the conflict is spreading over the border into neighboring Chad. (Please take 6 minutes to watch this video as two friends were in harms way as the hotel they stayed in N’Djamena, Chad came under heavy rebel gunfire less than two weeks ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDlvTNaTZKQ) If Chad becomes a warzone, hundreds of thousands of people in refugee camps in eastern Chad are at risk of being surrounded and slaughtered in mass genocide, even after over five years of human rights activists attempting to draw attention and closure to this violent conflict.

    In an interconnected world that should embrace the concept of **Humanity Before Politics**, personally this isn’t about finger pointing at this stage, it’s about saving hundreds of thousands of lives before it’s too damned late. US/Bush, China, EU, Steven Spielberg, or you and I should do anything within our power to stop the killing of innocent people by the Janjaweed and the faction of the Sudanese government that supports them financially, militarily and politically.

    N: Mark Grimes

  60. 60 Sean Sutton
    February 15, 2008 at 00:30

    Does China deserve criticism?

    I have lived and worked in China for the last seven years. In this time I have seen some improvement in the lives of the people around me, but the pace is slow. The Olympics, manned space flight, and a growing economy have not started to trickle down to the lowest depths of Chinese poverty yet. I honestly feel that without a little nudging from the outside world there would be an even slower pace of reform and spread of wealth here in China.

    Does China deserve criticism? Yes I believe every country deserves criticism, but it needs to be informed criticism. Criticism formed without prejudice or uninformed bias. I fear that without this criticism the Chinese might actually become more nationalistic than they are now.

    One thing critics of China usually fail to understand is that they are not criticizing a Democracy or even a Socialist govt, China is Imperial and many of its civic influences date back thousands of years. You are not criticizing a president, but more an Emperor and his consorts.

    The fact that I must use proxies to even post this comment tells me that China is very insular and unable to accept news and media that the government has not already approved.

  61. 61 Sean Sutton
    February 15, 2008 at 00:43

    It is naive to think that the Olympics are supposed to transcend politics. They are more nationalistic than ever and most countries that host them are only doing it to better their future business opportunities or showcase there governments current handiwork.

    Furthermore every Olympic season I am more and more saddened by the lack of cooperation and lust for gold that countries like the US, Russia, and China show.

    One World, One Dream?
    Is it Africa’s “Dream” to be exploited? Is it the Taiwanese’ “dream” to be engulfed by a foreign govt? Is it the “Dream” of every Tibetan to have their culture destroyed to become something foreign and restricting?

    I think we all know what their dream is. It is their hope that the world will accept the Chinese party-line.

  62. 62 Richard Beers, USA
    February 15, 2008 at 02:23

    I strongly agree with you, Ben Tobias. US policy in foreign matters is slanted in so much that unless there is an asset, agenda, or angle to be exploited, administrations do what we call ‘wag the tail’, or put on a good show for publicity.

    Look at how quickly we invaded Afghanistan, then Iraq, setup occupations and began thumping our chest over Iran in the middle. Bush has invested billions in establishing US presence in the middle east for what? Peace? The argument is clearly a push to obtain an asset– oil rights.

    What is in Darfur that is worth sending US troops in for? Peace? If you haven’t noticed, there is no peace in either Afghanistan or Iraq. There isn’t any asset worth trading blood for. It’s a sad commentary but self evident and why George Bush is doing nothing more than pandering to his base.

    Much of America doesn’t listen to this administrations radio or television broadcasts– there is nothing worth hearing. With less than a year in office, his foreign policy is a shambles. The attack on Israel days after his departure shows how little the world trusts him. Africa is just another last resort to sew up his imploding administration.

    No, we don’t belong in any country, with this administration at the helm. For all intensive purposes, America’s hands are tied while the hanging judge from Texas continues to send our troops to their deaths, and for what, oil? They aren’t dying for peace, that’s for sure. What makes you think he’ll send them to their deaths in Sudan?

  63. 63 eks321
    February 15, 2008 at 03:24

    Lubna, there is oil in Sudan and the Chinese communist party dictatorship is stealing it from the Sudanese people with the help of the Sudenese government dictators. That is why the Chinese communist party, which is the dictatorship that controls the Chinese government, does not say or do anything about the human right’s abuses of the Sudanese government dictatorship.

    By the way, while you may have prefered that Saddam remained in power in Iraq, I am sure the millions of innocent Iraqi citizens he murdered are happy he has gone to hell! The US government does not arbitrarily invade countries. However, when dictatorships have flauted international law, and pose a major threat to the security of entire regions of the world and the USA, our government will act in our own self interests.

  64. 64 Seer
    February 15, 2008 at 03:27

    Of course not. China deserves far, far more criticism then the pitiful amount its getting.

  65. February 15, 2008 at 10:13

    Nice way of expressing things.


  66. 66 John and Linda in Minnesota
    February 15, 2008 at 10:48

    We do not feel the Olympics in China is not the place for political platforms, statements or demonstrations. Every country in the world has human rights issues including America and all of Europe.
    John and Linda
    Listening on Channel 141 Sirius Satellite Radio

  67. 67 James in Seattle
    February 15, 2008 at 10:49

    I have always argued that China’s increasing political and economic influence, especially in the developing world, isn’t good for democracy. Why would somebody like to engage with a country that’s intolerant of free speech? The media is under the tight control of the government. Hundreds of journalists are languishing in jails for merely expressing themselves. China supplies military hardware to despotic countries without demanding accountability. Most missiles and bombs that are used to kill innocent people from Darfur are from China. China rightfully deserves the criticism it’s getting.
    Seattle, Washington

  68. 68 kpellyhezekiah
    February 15, 2008 at 13:42


    I don’t like the double standards that is being displayed by the IOC and some people in the international community on this issue. Why was South Africa excluded from all international sporting events(including the olympics) when apathied rule was there? Why did we boycott the moscow games and atlanta games? So why the present nonsense that nations as a whole and individual athletes and officials shouldn’t shouldn’t make any comment about the host china during the beijing games? Truly the spirit of mormon(money) has now fully eaten into the moral fibre of the games now and the organisers are scared by it and so have dug their heads into the sand like ostrichs. What is the spirit behind the modern olympics if I may ask? Shame unto all the cowards in this case especially bush and the IOC for trying to shift the goal post by saying its only a sporting event and should be taken as such. If aparthied had been treated with such soft gloves it would have been existing as at today.
    I congratulate steven spielberg for his stand. It shows that even in times like this the Lord raises people who have real human moral fibre and cannot be corrupted by money or fame no matter what. They are prepared to stand up for the truth and defend the cause of the oppressed and the voiceless in the world. I hereby call on nations and athletes,officials etc as individuals and groups to stand up and CRITISISE China for its dealings With Sudan especially concerning dafour during the games and if possible boycott their events. Then nations will know what the true spirit of the modern games is. What is happening in dafour is almost like what happened in Rwanda and whatever tools we can use to avert it must be used. I bow in full respect to bishop desmod tutu. Africa salutes you, sir.
    Keep the fire burning real hot on Sudan and its allies until this carnage stops.
    By the way does the british olympics association knows that they are infringing
    on the rights of athletes by the cowardy act of bonding atthletes from making any political comments during the games. Where is the freedom of speech policy which you so much tout in the UK being dealt with here?.

  69. 69 kpellyhezekiah
    February 15, 2008 at 13:54

    for speaking up and taking the true stand of democracy and human rights by criticising china’s relations with sudan as far as dafour is concerned

  70. 70 kpellyhezekiah
    February 15, 2008 at 14:04

    Thank you bishop desmond tutu for speaking up and taking the true democratic and human rights stand by criticising china’s relations with sudan as far as dafour is concerned. God richly bless you!!!!!

  71. February 15, 2008 at 14:15

    whats the hidden agenda of raising human rights violations in socialists countries by capitalist blocks during the olympic year in the past as in soviet union conducting the games and now china?

  72. February 15, 2008 at 15:23

    So if I understand some of these comments correctly, let’s not beat up on China because the accusations are coming from Western countries as China is. That is surely not reason enough. And for all those who speak of spoiling the fun, try explainig that to mothers being raped in front of their husbands and kids, children being buried alive and man being burned alive. They might want to know why the world is not only standing by while they are being killed, but they’re also being asked to “not spoil the fun”. Sure, they’ll get it!

  73. 73 julie
    February 15, 2008 at 15:56

    China deserves far more scrutiny than it is getting, at least in the US press.
    We are witnessing the rise of a super power – and hell, yes, China is a superpower – like no other in combining unfettered capitalism with totalitarian leadership. I am stunned that China isn’t even on the radar in this presidential campaign.

    I have nothing against the Chinese people, but i do avoid buying Chinese-made as much as possible. To buy Chinese is to approve a totalitarian goevernment, currency manipulation, lax worker protection, environmental disaster, and a foreign policy that is solely self-serving. The current US government isn’t without flaws, God only knows, but our democracy at least makes correction possible.

  74. 74 Isaac, Ruesselsheim
    February 15, 2008 at 16:21

    Hi Ros,
    My country has relations with China since time memorial and china has built most of the infrastructure that are in operation including the pipeline that runs from Dar Saalem, Tanzania to Ndola in Zambia. China is planing to built roads, hostipals, schools and railway lines in the DR. Congo. So what is wrong that China is doing by bringing right developments to Africa. If we are to investigate the arms that are used in Darfur genocide it will probably coming from somewhere else. China has a clear foreign policy, country automony and 50-50% benefits. Which other country is doing this to Africa? None! All they know is to give depedency aid in exchange for mineral resources. I dont support the killing of indegious people because of political power. Please can someone tell the world which mines and resources are found in Darfur?

  75. 75 Helen, Australia
    February 16, 2008 at 11:24

    “Olympics and Crimes against humanity cannot co-exist”

    I think that these upcoming games give the international community an important opportunity to turn their attention to China, and to make it very clear to the Chinese government, that their direct and indirect involvement in crimes against humanity must cease.

    Darfur is one example of indirect (direct?) involvement. There are many other examples, such as Tibet etc.

    Silence means Consent

  76. 76 Jeff Minter
    February 17, 2008 at 23:31


    “I have nothing against the Chinese people, but i do avoid buying Chinese-made as much as possible. To buy Chinese is to approve a totalitarian goevernment, currency manipulation, lax worker protection, environmental disaster, and a foreign policy that is solely self-serving.”

    You’re not exactly helping the Chinese people by not buying from them. As with all countries, who suffers the most as a result of a boycott or economic sanction? yes, the people, those at the bottom. People in China have never had it better, they have choice of jobs, a regular stable income.

    What 99% of people in developed countries with a horde of employee laws fail to understand is that the Chinese economy is still new; tell me where were the workers’ right in 19th Century USA, when they were building the railroads? I recall accounts of people being murdered there for not meeting quotas. Industrial Age Britain…. nope, no flexitime there. Maternity rights? Oh yes, women’s place were in the home.

    Once again I find it hypocritical, and unfortunately it is from another American, to have such insular and xenophobic views. It seems you feel threatened by anything that is making progress.

    And tell me of a country with a foreign policy that isn’t self serving. Who is going to look after no 1, if not themselves?

  77. 77 Gaoqian
    February 25, 2008 at 03:48

    Human rights?

    In 1840’s when the British export opium, and force to sale opium to China, who stood out for China and talked about human rights???

    Anything negative about China is a good news to the western media, that is why they like to focus on, and only on bad things. Most of the time, they ignore the development in China. The US and some of the western countries have done a good job in evillizing China, that’s why most of the people living in the west have no clue what the real China is about nowadays. Those who has never been to China, who only know about China through bias media information, has no right to criticize China!

    The original Olympic spirit is Peace, and I dont understand why when it’s China’s turn, everyone tries to make it difficult.

    In today’s show, the representatives for China are couple international students, and the representatives for the western world are professional politicians. Is this fair?

  78. 78 James
    August 14, 2008 at 00:07

    It is always difficult to criticise others.

    Firstly, you need intimate knowledge of other people’s affairs, which often require extensive research. Without the knowing the true state of affairs, you are at risk of making false accusations.

    Secondly, you need to be on the moral high ground (which can be situated at different levels depending on your ideological background). Without the moral high ground, you’re at risk of sounding hypocritical.

    I can’t say that I am an expert in all things Chinese, and I don’t have the full answer to explain how/why Africa/Sudan turned out the way it did.

    As for the moral high ground, regardless of how you define it, I think it is still a distant and foreign place for me.

    I guess that’s why the Bible warned people about the danger of judging others. While I am not a Christian, I will not judge China and those who have commented.

    Nevertheless, I do find it difficult to accept the idea that you are responsible for how others use the goods you’ve produced/sold. I hate for the police to lock me up because some psycho stabbed a person to death using the chopsticks I sold him…

  79. 79 Chris
    August 18, 2008 at 12:46

    well just as bad when it comes to human rights? so ur saying the us govenment also kidnaps people that have a religion and harvests their organs while they are still living?

    beaten to death or put in prison camps and worked to death for not turning against what they choose to follow?

    You have no idea.. anyway China should not have broken the signd agreement in the first place…
    the media makes China look a million times better than it is.. trust me. Dont you know anything about what China says about all the west?
    you should cheek up on it.. look at how much they changed the history books in China..

    The best way for the Chinese govenment to keep its people supporting them is to lie and say the west wants to attack them and kill them all.. and that is what the Chinese govenment has said countless times..

    anyway understanding how the west dosnt work that way and how better the west will be off if it trades with China.. why attack China.. they get more out of trade with China.. only a extream foolish person would think the west wants to wipe out China.. and i have had many convasations with Chinese communists, they have been told that all religions are evil and want to attack the Govenment and also told me that the western people dont give anything to africa or asia or the middle east.. what is ” world vission? Care? CCF? Bill Gates fund? and countless more? and are you not able to work out what a sack of grain looks like? when u see it with ur own eyes? i know so many people that give up working for money and give up everything they have to give free aid and treatment in those areas of the world! friends of mine! you seen CCTV9 the 24 hour CHinese news channel? run by the Chinese govenment? well they say that no help has gone to those places!

    seen the propaganda films China made? since when did the west have an H bomb war with China? what a load of crap! good on u CNN! After over 55 yearsa of propaganda from China about all the west.. its about time someone said something! and damn! The CNN is too soft! lucky i didn’t state the facts that happen in China daliy!

    you people only seem to read a few articles. i watch at least 15 news channels daliy and i study the history and cultures and i’ve been to all these counties and i do 5 hours a day research on the internet and in books and i have friends from around the world you really should find out the facts.

    The you should cheek out the nasty things the Chinese media says!! i have seen it all!!

    but i guess you dont think human beings that say “we are the true god and selvation for the world!” are insane?
    ,1945 stated by the whole Chinese communist party.

    and they still today claim to be the devine truth at the same time saying, there, .. is no absolute truth!” LOL….

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