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Why do African countries support China against the West over human rights?



People protest at Uighur rally in front of the United Nations US Mission - 5 February 2019

African countries have not signed a UN dispute over China̵
7;s human rights abuses in Xinjiang, Hong Kong or Tibet.

The African country is not among the countries that call on China to treat the predominantly Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang’s northwest Xinjiang region.

In fact, some African diplomats recently attended an event in Beijing and praised China’s policy in the region.

At least one million Uighurs are believed to have been detained in Xinjiang in a sprawling network of camps. China faces accusations of forced labor, sterilization, torture and genocide – allegations denied.

The Chinese government has defended the concentration camps claiming to be “New Education Center” on Vocational Work Against Terrorism and Religious Extremism

“Some Western forces stirring up the so-called Xinjiang issue are launching an unproven attack against China in response to their own hidden motives,” Burkina Faso ambassador Adama Compaoré said at the event. In March it was dubbed Xinjiang in the Eyes of the African ambassador to China.

The event was also attended by Sudan and Congo-Brazzaville, whose ambassador Daniel Owassa reportedly said he supported what China has called a counterterrorism measure in the region, saying he admired it. “Xinjiang’s excellent development achievements in various fields in the past few years”.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the rally was an example of Africa’s silence on a major global issue.

“[It] May be a regular ambassador But the African government’s intention to remain silent about Beijing’s crackdown on rights has real-world consequences, ”said Carine Kaneza Nantulya, HRW’s director of Africa advocacy, in a statement.

“[Africans] It is often cited as being indifferent to the fate of other nations and seeking global unity through human suffering, ”she added.

Model changes?

But Ejeviome Otobo, a non-resident of the World Governance Institute in Brussels, said African and Chinese leaders have a common understanding on three key areas: human rights, economic benefits and government. Does not interfere with internal affairs

“It’s been 30 years since China has been a tradition for its foreign ministers to visit Africa for the first time every new year – this is not just a symbol.” “, Source: Cliff Mboya, Explanation source: Chinese analyst – Africa, photo: Cliff Mboya

Africa’s growing support for most of China is making the continent anti-western over human rights.

During a June 2020 vote at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on the controversial Hong Kong National Security Law, which imposes severe penalties for political disagreement, and It effectively ended the territorial autonomy of 25 African countries, the largest group from the Chinese continent.

Months later, in October, no African country signed a severe condemnation of China’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Tibet, which was supported by Western nations.

HRW accused Africa’s leaders of prioritizing economic interests from China at the expense of other concerns around the world.

Eric Olander, co-founder of the China Africa Project, said that for African policymakers, it is not against Beijing: “It is a more important foreign policy”

“What these critics don’t seem to understand is that, as a poor developing country with a lot of indebtedness to Beijing and a lot of dependence on China for trade – they are not in a position to be” in a state of being “. Immediate resistance to attacks As a result of the upset of China He told the BBC.

China-Africa Summit in Beijing in September 2018.

China holds summits with African leaders every three years.

Another key factor is the decades-old relationship that was joined together in the 1970s when African nations played a key role in helping China join the United Nations again amid protests from the United States.

“Since then, the relationship has grown stronger,” Kenya-based China-Africa analyst Cliff Mboya told the BBC.

“For 30 years, China has been a tradition for its foreign ministers to visit Africa for the first time every new year. But it is a signal that they are investing in a long-term relationship and this creates an impression on Africans.

Younger Africans may not be very impressed; they have overwhelmingly positive views on the United States and its development patterns, according to a recent study of the Afrobarometer

But older leaders and governments feel different, and the decision to turn to China to fund infrastructure, especially over the past 20 years, has transformed the continent’s landscape with expansive roads, bridges, railways, ports and internet infrastructure. That reassures the continent Not a key person in the digital economy

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Some of these projects are part of China’s One Belt and Road Initiative, which 46 African countries have signed, Otobo said.

Where is the equivalent from the west? “He asked, adding that it was difficult to match China’s capital.

The lack of transparency in the agreements signed to support these mega-projects has raised suspicions that there are vicious plans to cap the continent with unpaid loans, Mr Orlando said. Debt trap “This will be cleared.

And debt relief and access to the COVID-19 vaccine will likely be a key theme at the China-Africa Cooperation Forum (FOCAC), a high-profile three-year event that will be held in Senegal at the end. This year

Vaccine diplomacy

Since the outbreak, the Chinese flag has been a common sight at the continent’s airports, signaling the arrival of important donations such as personal protective equipment and recently made-in-China vaccines.

China’s so-called vaccine diplomacy goes to 13 African countries that buy or benefit from donations.

A man holds a Chinese flag in front of a Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccine delivery at Harare International Airport, Zimbabwe - March 2021.

Zimbabwe is one of ten countries that use a vaccine made in China.

In comparison, there is no direct support from the UK or the United States, except through the Global Covax Initiative, which is also backed by China. Cowax has delivered 18 million doses in 41 African countries.

The use of access to the COVID-19 vaccine as a tool of global influence is an ongoing competition among global powers.

In March, Britain’s Foreign Minister Dominic Rabbit called on developing countries to wait for the vaccine. “Golden standard” than vaccines from China and Russia.

The new US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, viewed the situation as difficult for the competition, recently told African students. “We are not asking anyone to choose between the United States or China. But I suggest you ask those tough questions to dig in. Under the surface to demand transparency and informed decisions. ”

Nairobi traffic

The Nairobi Expressway, a four-lane 17-mile runway, is one of several Chinese-funded projects in Kenya.

Western powers know that they cannot compete with China in terms of loans and infrastructure – there are no retaliatory measures for those taking Chinese aid or are taking over Beijing. Instead, they go back to prayers such as democratization and corruption-free investment.

For this reason, it is unbelievable that in the near future any African country will attempt to take Chinese leaders to The Hague to treat the Uighurs, as did Aung San Suu Kyi in 2019 when she. Holds the leadership position of Myanmar and Gambia. The former justice minister brought a case against the treatment of the Rohingya Muslim minority in her country.

Abubacarr Tamado is backed by the Islamic Cooperation Organization, a group of 57 Muslim countries, mostly 27 African countries. Prevent genocide

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