Political alliance manifest themselves on the voting floor of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Here, the countries impose legislation that carries weight worldwide and so what happens in this room is the physical materialisation of the world’s politics.
In 1971, General Assembly’s most consequential votes occured for taking a decision on China’s political representation in United Nation.
People’s Republic of China VS Republic of China
China has two governments. First is the Republic of China which used to control the mainland and Taiwan but today it only administers Taiwan and other is the People’s Republic of China which controls the mainland. Both claim to be the rightful governments of all the Chinese territory (both Taiwan and the mainland). So, in 1971 the United Nations had to decide which government would represent China.
The question was which government was the rightful leader of the territory as there could be one in the United Nations. The US was the main superpower opposing the People’s Republic representing China as it had a strong political and military alliance with the Republic of China government.
Among the 35 countries that voted against the People’s Republic of China were much of Africa. This includes the Central African Republic, Chad, Gabon, Liberia, Niger, South Africa, and many more. Despite the US’s efforts, the resolution ended up passing and the representative government for China in the Un was switched to the People’s Republic of China. The interesting thing about this was not its result, but who voted against the People’s Republic.
China Africa Colonialism
Since that vote in 1971, many things have changed around. In 2007, the UN general assembly met once again to vote on whether to adopt a resolution condemning human rights situation in North Korea. North Korea is one of the strongest allies of China. So China and its influencers voted in favor of the North Koreans. In this vote, only Burundi, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, and Tanzania voted against the North Korea. Other 43 African countries either abstained or voted no along with China because in the forty years between the two voting sessions political relations between Africa and China changed.
Africa no longer bows to the US, much of the continent is now economically and politically aligned with China. The reason why this happened is China has invested a huge amount of money into the continent of Africa, actually they are buying allies.
China investing in Africa
For instance, China built a $3.2 billion railway in Kenya trekking the 300 miles from Nairobi, the capital, to Mombassa, in four hours and thirty minutes.
China also built a $526 million dam in Guinea which helped push the country’s power demand.
China also built a $475 million light rail system in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa, designed as a way to combat the capital’s crippling traffic. There are hundreds of infrastructure projects in Africa each year.
All across the continent, China is playing a part in projects both big and small that are transforming Africa.
Each of these projects was financed by loans granted by China’s state-owned and controlled Export-Import bank. Assuming cooperation between the Chinese and African countries’ governments, this bank will give low-interest or no-interest loans to African countries so they can build these trains, dams and other projects. China isn’t financing these projects out of kindness, there is always a political reason behind them.
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Labor resources and Natural resources
Over the years, China’s GDP doubled each year, but since the last few years it is almost constant, the reason behind this is China is shifted from the stage of industrialization to industrialized. Whereas, Africa is the least developed areas of the world and a lack growth actually makes fast growth easy.
By investing in African mining and farming, China can profit off of Africa’s growth. But in addition to it serving as a source of natural resources, Africa has another resource i.e. labor.
China as a country has shifted from having a low-skilled to a medium-skilled workforce as their education level has improved. Therefore, Chinese manufacturing firms are setting up their own operations in Africa for cheap and low-skilled labor.
Today, China is now the largest trading partner with Africa as a whole. In 2017, China opened a military base in Djibouti, this was China’s first base out of its own country.
Private Chinese industry is taking hold of Africa. 90% of the Chinese business in Africa are privately owned, and they are making a good profit. The Chinese government certainly has provided a considerable push to the industrialization of Africa. Considering the current situation, Africa is establishing itself as the source of labor and resources for China.