written/non-written things by me (from 2005-2008)

Friday, November 03, 2006


This week marks the beginning of the China-Africa Summit in Beijing. It is one of the biggest/most economically important conferences the city has ever held. The entire city has been cleaned up and decorated with immense posters of African wildlife doing there thing in front of sunsets; and there are various other smaller posters in subways and even department stores featuring black hands high-fiving white (I guess, Chinese) hands superimposed over more images of wildlife and aerial shots of waterfalls. Now I never lived in Washington D.C. so I don't know what they do when an mega-important conference is held, but I mean the city is designed for this very purpose. But here they are going ALL out. They even cancelled school, city-wide, so that it would lessen the typically horrifc traffic situation. So I went out to Xidan (a major shopping district) and Tiananmen Square to see upclose all the hub-bub.

But what's really bothersome is the intensified internet-firewalling. It's getting worse and worse. Here's a couple of sites that I have found are ALWAYS blocked: www.bbc.uk.co (although the BBC homepage does load. Its just a facade. Click on the articles and you get Error Page); RadioFreeAsia is also blocked for obvious reasons. I was surprised to find that I can now view Wikipedia after not being able to for a while.

But here's the a big suck: Since the cities been spic-n-spanning, I have not been able to use Google, at all. Which is hugely inconvenient since I use the translation functions, maps, and of course this blogger blog is Google hosted. Myspace is mostly inoperable, unless tricks are employed. And of course, I cannot see my own blog again (When I first got here I couldn't see it for 4 months until it miraculously appeared one day). So alot of stuff that I would typically read these days is being Anonymoused.

The forum IS a major deal, globally. There is a global race for resources and China is captializing on African markets that have been non-partnered by THE WEST. China offers trade partnership with nations without the troublesome political requirements like Human Rights. But China does expect that African trade partners would come to China's defense whenever its Human Rights record is criticized. Most notably, China gets a lot of flack from doing business with Repressive Rogue States, namely Sudan with its ongoing genocide in Darfur. (Here's a great NPR piece about the role of China in establishment of a peace agreement in Sudan )

Another non-economic, GOOD, thing I hope that comes out of all this AFRICA's our BBF diversity campaigning is that changes some of the outright racial discrimination. I do off-site work at a public school (not Aihua! we hire black people!) that said explicitly, in the beginning, that they will hire no blacks. And its commonly known that most black people looking for teaching work will have a very tough time. There is no legal clause which would protect potential employees from discrimination. Or, I don't know, if there were, it is not being enforced.

Meh. I dunno. I have been interested in the relationship between China and Africa for a few years, so its rather exciting to see it going down. China, is setting all the write tables for SUPREME POWERDOME.
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My name is Hannah Pierce-Carlson