China: Africa’s Other Kony
Image Credit: Photobucket / haley0808

China: Africa’s Other Kony


By now, tens of millions of people or more know who Joseph Kony and his murderous Lord’s Resistance Army are after a YouTube video called “Kony 2012” went viral. But there’s another Kony in Central Africa that has been committing depredations for just as long: China.

Since the early 1990s, messianic madman Joseph Kony has led his LRA on a reign of terror, first in Uganda, and then through the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan. He’s currently believed to be in the Central African Republic. Kony and the LRA live off the land by stealing from villages and terrorizing its inhabitants deep in the jungle. They are infamous for chopping off the limbs, lips, noses and ears of its victims and for kidnapping tens of thousands of children to serve as “child soldiers.” Estimates suggest that the LRA has killed tens of thousands, displaced more than 1 million and kidnapped more than 30,000 children in the past 20 years.     

Thanks largely to the efforts of U.S. Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma (disclaimer: I work in the senator’s office) a law was passed in 2010 that directed the Obama administration to draft a plan to “apprehend or remove” Kony and his LRA, and reintegrate those child soldiers back into their communities, if possible. And last December, President Barack Obama deployed approximately 100 U.S. soldiers to train and equip the Ugandan Army to track down Kony and his LRA lieutenants and bring them to justice. Hopefully, Kony’s reign of terror will end this year. 

Yet in this same period, China has pursued a less murderous, but no less destabilizing path in Sudan, a State Sponsor of Terrorism, according to the U.S. State Department, since 1993, and the recipient of U.S. economic sanctions in 1997 and 1998. In fact, China is the single most important political, economic and military ally of President Omar al-Bashir since he took power in Khartoum via a coup in 1989. 

Beijing officially has a policy of “non-interference” in African nations, but it has acted quite the opposite in Sudan. China actively sided with Bashir and his National Islamic Front against the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) rebels in the south. This lasted from the 1990s through the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, and only changed when it was clear that the rebels would succeed in gaining independence from the north, which they did last July. This diplomatic outreach to the new South Sudan was done purely for practical reasons, as a large part of China’s oil imports in Africa come from this new country (second only to Angola). 

Economically, China has underwritten billions of dollars worth of infrastructure projects and provided further assistance in the form of low to no interest loans that are in large part later forgiven. But no other example better illustrates the close economic engagement by China in Sudan than in the energy sector.

Sudan is China’s gas pump. It imports 67 percent of Sudan’s crude oil, accounting for 10 percent of Beijing’s foreign oil imports. Since the 1990s, it has developed Sudan’s oil fields, which are now mostly located in South Sudan, and built the two pipelines that transport the crude through Sudan to Port Sudan in the north. This was all done amid the violence of civil war between Bashir and the SPLM/A. While there were several Western oil companies competing in the region early on, all sold their stakes because of the violence and bowed to criticism that they were “oil exploiters” in the midst of war. No such criticism troubled the communist-run Chinese petroleum industry. 

Joe B
April 5, 2012 at 20:35

Oh, please, Mark….Panda huggers? No gray there, eh?
Considering America’s long gnarled and twisted involvement with some of the most infamous criminal “leaders” of tortured, subjugated groups of peoples on this planet, I can’t say I’m surprised that SOMEBODY would stand up for it, but to rhetorically question Chinese feelings about having leaders which, as you put it, are “masters” is naive, to say the least.
I’d hazard a guess that you are acquainted with not a single mainland Chinese. Were that the case, you would be far more knowledgeable about individual Chinese attitudes about their leaders (many of them, like a few of us, don’t buy EVERYTHING their masters tell them…).
Go back and do some homework; America is not the virginal princess bride you imagine her to be. Few countries are.

April 5, 2012 at 09:57

@John Chan
I am not talking about the rise of Socialist China,it is on the way.
I am talking about the day when China is the world SOLE super power and I do expect it to behave as a SOLE super power,whcih so far we have USA and I consider USA a benign SOLE super power.
Thank you.

John Chan
April 5, 2012 at 07:50

Expelling invaders from China’s lands and destroying encirclement are not hegemony. Western powers’ rose violently does not mean everybody else has to rise like them.

A Akula
April 4, 2012 at 16:02

Nick Nolan, just wish to let you know many readers are gratified to read your counter commentary to Joel Starr’s political propaganda. Your comments bring balance to what would otherwise be a bias brainwashing opinionated article by Starr. The Washington pot should not be calling the kettle black.

April 4, 2012 at 10:47

When China becomes the world sole super power,China,no matter who are in the leadership then,will act like USA today,may be a little worst,as US has been,in my view,a benign super power/sole super power.

John Chan
April 4, 2012 at 04:46

It is wrong for you to say China exploits Africans for monetary or mineral gain like the US and European colonial powers. China offers the combination of aids and developments to Africans on the fair commercial basis.

Please do not link any blogger to others, all bloggers are here to present their personal point of view on nobody’s behalf; none of us, including you, represents anybody but ourselves. It is wrong for you to put words in other blogger’s mouth, perhaps you needs to take notes on who said what before lecturing the others.

China does want to rise peacefully; peace need efforts to maintain particularly when one is facing the predatory imperial Westpac that is trigger happy and processes a lot of lethal firing power. It is a nation’s right to do whatever it takes to defend itself. Rising peacefully does not mean one cannot defend itself; it is a nation’s sacred right to expel invaders encroaching on its territory. Japan, Philippines and Vietnam are encroaching on China’s territories.

BTW, stop portraying any nation in Asia is the weak, they are the rogue states, they are squeezing the maximum benefits in the current political environment. Believing them weak either American is a fool or American is using “siding the weak” as a pretext to extend its predatory imperialist hegemony.

Jim M.
April 4, 2012 at 04:20

Maybe not, but a staff member working for one of the US’s most unapologetically right-wing senators, with close links to US oil interests (who do the many of the same things as alleged here), really has no place to criticise.

John Chan
April 4, 2012 at 04:03

China’s human rights records have been improving all the time, even the UN praised China’s improvement. As Xi said there is no perfect human rights, but there is always better human rights; China is always trying to improve human rights.

On the other hand India needs to work on its human rights hard, its caste system discriminates human beings by birth, and the higher castes abuse lower castes’ human rights as divine privilege, that is really an example of human rights abuses, not just rhetoric.

April 4, 2012 at 01:33


so you are saying that the PRC has the prerogative, even the duty, to perpetrate upon the nations in its periphery, as well as the western nations that wronged it, the same atrocities and violations that were visited upon it during the Opium Wars, the 1898 Sino-Japanese War and during WWII?

April 3, 2012 at 15:44

And China is a country of saints!!!!! Chinese should not talk of slavery and enslaving. They are the ones today with scant regard for human rights. This bloke from China must know that the US has a President who is a black. Will China accept a Tibetan to be its Head of State/Government? China itself props up dictatorial regimes in Africa and Asia, is involved in nuclear proliferation. The crimes are endless. Chans and Hans should stop accusing other countries and stop preaching what China itself never practices.

April 3, 2012 at 13:12


Yes,that is exactly what I think is going to be,but I do hope that I am wrong.
Thank you.

April 3, 2012 at 12:07

@John Chan,

your assumption is correct, the legacy of european colonization is part of the reason. the underlying reason for all the strife in Africa, however, is that those same european powers could never erase the ancient tribal divisions that had been causing conflict for centuries before their arrival; they effectively forced those various tribes together. now that Africa is back under its own management for the most part, those tribal divisions have come to the fore once again. The fact that both the US AND China exploit these divisions for monetary or mineral gain does not help matters.

going back to blaming the west pac: i honestly find your rhetoric–as well as that of Liang1a, Klee and applesauce–to be rather disturbing. It’s not the message; the PRC has every right to promote its own national interests. What disturbs me is the disparity in your rhetoric: you say that the PRC’s rise is peaceful, that the nations within it’s periphery and abroad have absolutely nothing to fear. yet at the same time the lot of you advocate a policy of brute force and coercion that is about as far from the notion of peaceful rise as can be; you and your ilk have repeatedly insinuated on this very public forum that despite the peaceful rise, the “nations that wronged China will get what’s coming to them.” You have all called for what can be described as nothing other than the equivalent of a military pile-driver: 30 aircraft carriers, 3000 fighters and 6000 nuclear warheads by 2050? that’s not a defense force, that’s a force designed to make the world nothing more than the PRC’s f***-toy; it’s like using the Death Star to kill a kid with a BB-gun.

Nick Nolan
April 3, 2012 at 07:52

If Deputy Assistant Secretary for House Affairs. Joel E. Starr, is concerned about human rights in Africa, maybe he should look what United States is doing.

U.S. supports for the oppressive president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Joseph Kabila, who was elected in very fraudulent election, but recognized by the United States. United States provided $500 million worth of police equipment (including weapons) to the Congolese police. They have been using those weapons to kill civilians in front of international media. For the past two years the United States president has given the Congolese army a waiver to use child soldiers in the military.

United States is pursuing destabilizing path in Uganda with their military support for Dictator in Uganda, Musaveni. Musaveni has been causing havoc in Somalia, Rwanda and Congo.

Africa needs more diplomacy and peace negotiations, not more support for dictators. United States complaining about Chinese in Sudan while being part of the problem in Congo and Uganda, is not the way forward.

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