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2015-01_dc

D+C Vol.42.2015:1 5 Böthling/Photography No interference in domestic affairs: China views all countries as entirely sovereign and respects their territorial integrity. It considers its non-interven- tionist strategy to be the antithesis to the conditionalities that western donors often apply. Solidarity among developing countries: China defines itself as a developing country and wants all developing coun- tries to tackle injustices of the interna- tional system, including their underrep- resentationinmultilateralorganisations, in a spirit of solidarity. In these regards China’s Africa policy resembles the approaches of other emerg- ing markets. The Südwind authors point out that this attitude is based on “nega- tive experiences” emerging markets had in their role as aid recipients. At the same time, the authors see China’s increasing engagement in Africa not just as moti­ vated by the People’s Republic economic interests, but also as an attempt to raise its profile in global affairs and gain more influence. Criticism of China Western donor governments have repeat- edly criticised China’s activities in Africa. To a large extent, the Südwind authors agree. China’s economic interests are to safeguard access to commodities and mar- ket manufactured goods, and they are the absolute priorities of its Africa policy. In- frastructure projects that China sponsored serve these goals. New roads built in Mo- zambique or the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for instance, have improved access to mines. However, the Südwind experts also point out that similar self-in- terests marked the development policies of western donor nations in the past – and sometimes still do. Western governments criticise that China cooperates with authoritarian re- gimes, regardless of human-rights in- fringements. Such criticism is valid, ac- cording to the Südwind team. It adds however: “Western donors would be more credible, if they themselves hadn’t for dec- ades supported regimes that ignored hu- man rights.” The study states that China’s develop- ment concept differs from the western ones in that it puts economic progress and social advancements for the masses before individual rights and liberty. This model has had great success in China (see interview with Ayumi Konishi in D+C/E+Z 2014/12, p. 460 ff.). In this sense, China’s Africa policy thus reflects is own experi- ence. Civil-society actors in democratic countries, whether from Africa or other continents, view China’s engagement with mixed feelings. According to the Südwind team, the emerging markets tend to see China as a counterweight to the old he- gemonic powers and hope that unfair global economic structures will be over- come. At the same time, the emerging markets are copying the unsustainable consumption and production patterns that are prevalent in rich nations. Many non-governmental organisations are up- set about the depletion of natural re­ sources, the lack of social security, terrible working conditions and low pay in emerg- ing markets. The Südwind authors conclude that China’s influence on African develop- ment must be considered on a country- by-country basis. In countries under au- thoritarian regimes, China’s influence is problematic, because it is boosting the autocrats’ power. China’s strategy, more- over, is ultimately geared to keeping Af- rica stuck in the role of a low-wage conti- nent and commodity supplier. At the same time, Chinese invest- ments can complement official develop- ment assistance from western nations, the authors argue. Infrastructure invest- ments of the kind China is promoting have been shunned by established donors for some time. Ultimately, it depends on African governments what benefits they derive from China’s engagement, the authors conclude: “They must assume responsibility for their countries in order to get the maximum benefits out of Chi- na’s engagement.” Sabine Balk Link: Südwind-Institut, 2014: Partnerschaft auf Augenhöhe? Die Rolle Chinas in Afrika (Partnership at eye-level? China’s role in Africa – only in German). http://www.suedwind-institut.de/fileadmin/fuerSuedwind/ Publikationen/2014/2014-22_Partnerschaft_auf_Augenhoehe._ Die_Rolle_Chinas_in_Afrika.pdf Kenyatta and al-Bashir must no longer fear ICC The International Criminal Court (ICC) has discontinued proceed- ings against Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta as well as investigations against Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir. In both cases, it is proving difficult to deal judicially with dreadful violent crimes. Kenyatta was the first sitting head of state to face trial before the ICC. He was accused of having indirectly been responsible for murder, rape, abduction and persecution in the context of the post-election riots that rocked Kenya in 2007/2008. Fatou Bensouda, the ICC prosecutor, had to admit that she could not provide sufficient evidence against him. Her problem was that an increasing number of witnesses were no longer willing to testify against Kenyatta. According to Bensouda, these people have been bought or threatened by the Kenyan government. Bensouda also indicated disappointment in regard to the discontinued investigations against al-Bashir. The ICC had issued a warrant to arrest him because of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in his country’s Darfur region. According to Bensouda, the UN Security Council did not do enough to ensure the warrant was enforced. Sudan’s president remained unchallenged during visits to several African coun- tries. The Security Council is divided on Darfur. China, a permanent member, is an ally of Sudan. Bensouda called on the Security Council to modify “radically” its stance towards arresting suspects. After horrific violence, the ICC is meant to ensure there is no impunity for high-ranking political leaders. Civil-society activists worry that the recent decisions make it look ­toothless. (sb) In brief

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