China: Invading Africa

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November 19, 2007: There are now over half a million Chinese businessmen, traders and workers in Africa, and the number is expected to double in a year or so. Africa is seen as a land of opportunity for Chinese, and the government encourages such migration. The Chinese government is opening the way by making it easier for African firms to export to China, and by selling weapons to any African government, no matter how shabby that government's reputation. Inexpensive Chinese goods are popular in China, although many Africans fear the Chinese are out to exploit them, as other foreigners have done for centuries. This year, Chinese firms, and the Chinese government, will invest over a billion dollars in African projects. China is eager to get African oil and other raw materials, and is offering to replace current deals with Western firms.

November 18, 2007: Taiwan has ordered a billion dollars worth of upgrades to its Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems, that will enable Patriot to shoot down ballistic missiles as well. China protested that this was an unfriendly act.

November 17, 2007: The government has agreed to have a warship visit a Japanese port for the first time, on November 28th. This is part of a charm offensive, which has been going on for over a year, to improve relations with Japan. Chinese officials won't admit it publicly, but they fear growing Japanese military power. So does Russia, which is one reason China and Russia have formed something of a military alliance.

November 16, 2007: A U.S. government report concludes that China is making a major effort to steal American technology and military secrets, using the Internet. The Chinese government responded by denying it was going after industrial technology, but said nothing about military related operations.

November 15, 2007: The government has warned military, and non-military, agencies to eliminate the corruption in military demobilization programs. The military has been shrinking for several years, and career soldiers who have been dismissed, are supposed to receive retraining, money and goods (like clothing.) Corrupt officials have been stealing some of this aid, and the demobilized soldiers have, in some cases, turned violent. The government does not want a lot of disgruntled ex-soldiers wandering around loose.

November 12, 2007: Several thousand disk drives, manufactured in China, were shipped with a hidden spy program on them. This is not believed to be an attempt at espionage, because the computer virus in question is quite common, as these things go, and is designed to seek out and steal online game password information, and transmit it to a Chinese server. This sort of thing is rampant in East Asia. It has long been feared that computer components manufactured in China could be deliberately infected this way. But doing that, and not having the infection detected, is extremely difficult. That makes it very risky, because if you are caught, you lose a huge amount of export business, not to mention the increased diplomatic tensions.

 

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