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Why African countries defend China against human rights in the West

People protest in front of the US mission to the UN during the Uyghur demonstration. 2019 February 5

African countries do not sign UN sanctions on China over human rights abuses in Xinjiang, Hong Kong or Tibet

African countries do not have China, which calls for a predominantly Muslim Uyghur population in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

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

It is estimated that at least one million Uyghurs were detained in a network of camps in Xinjiang. China faces threats of forced labor, forced sterilization, torture, genocide, and allegations it denies.

The Chinese government has defended the detention camps, claiming they are professional “rehabilitation centers” to fight terrorism and religious extremism.

“Some Western powers, which raise the issue of the so-called Xinjiang, are in fact launching indisputable attacks on China to serve their motives,” Burkina Faso Ambassador Adama Compore was quoted as saying by Xinjiang.

The event was attended by Sudan and Congo-Brazzaville, whose spokesman Daniel Ovasa said he supported what China called a series of counter-terrorism measures in the region, saying it appreciated “Xinjiang’s great achievements in various fields in recent years.” ,

Human Rights Watch (HRW) says the rally is an example of Africa’s silence on a key global concern.

«[It] “It may be ordinary diplomacy, but the willingness of African governments to remain silent has a real impact on Beijing’s human rights record,” said Karine Kaneza Nantulia, director of HRW’s Africa Advocacy.

«[Africans] “They have often justly condemned the indifference of other countries to their plight and sought to show global solidarity with human suffering.”

Generation change?

But Yejevium Otobo, a non-resident of the Brussels-based Institute for Global Governance, says African leaders և China’s common understanding based on three key areas: human rights, economic interests չ not to interfere in internal affairs.

& laquo; For 30 years, China has made it a tradition for its foreign minister to visit Africa every year. this is not just symbolic & laquo; & laquo ;, source: Cliff Mboya, Source description: China-Africa analyst, File: Cliff Mboyan

“For 30 years, China has made it a tradition for its foreign minister to visit Africa every year. This is simply not symbolic.” Source: Cliff Mboyan, Source description: China-Africa analyst, File: Cliff Mboya

For the most part, Africa’s pro-Chinese stance is increasingly contrasting the continent with the West when it comes to human rights.

2020 In June, the UN Human Rights Council voted in Geneva on Hong Kong’s controversial national security law, which severely sanctioned political dissent that effectively ended territorial autonomy.

Months later, in October, no African country signed a stern reprimand for China’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Tibet, backed by Western countries.

HRW accuses African leaders of prioritizing economic benefits from China over other global issues.

However, Eric Hollander, co-founder of the China Africa project, says that not making Beijing hostile is “a much more important foreign policy priority” for African policymakers.

“What these critics do not seem to understand is that, being poor, developing countries, many who are also very indebted to Beijing’s dependent on China for much of their trade, they are unable to withstand an immediate blow. “Because of the sadness from China,” he told the BBC.

China-Africa Summit in Beijing in September 2018

China holds summit with African leaders every three years

Another major factor is the decades-long relationship that strengthened in the 1970s, when African countries played a key role in re-joining the United Nations amid US protests in China.

“Relations have only strengthened since then,” Cliff Mboya, a China-Africa analyst living in Kenya, told the BBC.

“For 30 years, China has made it a tradition for its foreign minister to visit Africa every year. “It’s not just symbolic, it’s a sign that they have been in a long-term relationship, it makes a big impression on Africans.”

Younger Africans may not be so impressed. According to a recent study by the Afrobarometer, they have an overwhelmingly positive view of the US development model.

But the leaders of the older generation և government feel differently. And their decision to turn to China for infrastructure funding, especially in the last 20 years, has transformed the continent’s landscape with vast roads, bridges, railways, ports, and the Internet infrastructure that the continent has provided. There is no pariah in the digital economy.



Some of these projects are part of China’s multibillion-dollar road initiative, signed by 46 African countries, Mr Otobo said.

“Where is the equivalent from the West?” he asks, adding that it will be difficult to match the scale of China’s funding.

The lack of transparency in the deals made to finance these massive projects has raised suspicions that the continent is in a treacherous plot that it cannot pay for, says Mr. Orlander, although the theory of the “debt trap” has been refuted.

And debt relief և Availability of Covid-19 vaccines are likely to be the main topics in China և Africa Cooperation Forum (FOCAC), a three-year-old loud event to be held in Senegal this year.

Vaccine diplomacy

After the epidemic, Chinese flags were common at the continent’s airports, signaling the arrival of powerful donations such as personal protective equipment and, more recently, Chinese-made vaccines.

China’s so-called vaccine diplomacy has so far reached 13 African countries that have either bought them or benefited from donations.

Man holds Chinese flag in exchange for delivery of Sinofats ոֆ Sinopharm vaccines at Hara's International Airport's man - 2021 March:

Imb imbabwe is in the top ten Chinese vaccines

By comparison, there has been no direct support from the United Kingdom or the United States, except for the Covax Global Initiative, which is also supported by China. Covax has so far delivered 18 million doses in 41 African countries.

The use of the Covid-19 vaccine as a tool of influence around the world is an ongoing race among world powers.

In March, British Foreign Secretary Dominique Raab called on developing countries to wait for “gold standard” vaccines, not from China or Russia.

New US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken considers the situation less of a race, recently telling African students: “We do not ask anyone to choose between the United States or China, but I would advise you to ask those tough questions, to dig under the surface to demand transparency, to make informed choices.”

Travel to Nairobi

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

The Western powers know that they can not compete with China in terms of credit infrastructure. There has been no response to Chinese aid or overly partisan treatment of Beijing. Instead, they fall into mantras such as the call for democracy ումներ investing without corruption.

Therefore, it is impossible to imagine that in the near future any African country will try to bring the Chinese leader to the Hague for treatment of the Uyghurs, as happened with Aung San Suu Kyi in 2019, when he was the leader of Myanmar և Gambia. The former Minister of Justice has filed a lawsuit against his country for its treatment of the Rohingya Muslim minority.

Abu Bakr Tamado was supported by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which consisted mainly of 57 Muslim countries, 27 of which were African. The move, applauded in the West, has so far led the International Court of Justice to order Myanmar to take steps to prevent genocide.

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