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April 19, 2008
China Ships Arms, Ammo to Mugabe
China is shipping arms and ammunition to the regime of Charles Mugabe at a time when the dictator is preparing a "recount" of the votes in last months election that will almost certainly overturn the decision of the people.
The resulting violence after Mugabe steals another election will now be enabled by his friends in China:
A Chinese ship loaded with armaments for Zimbabwe steamed into the port of Durban this week and set off a political firefight, putting newfound pressure on South Africa — and now China — to reduce support for Zimbabwe’s government as it cracks down on its rivals after a disputed election. As you can see, China has a nasty habit of enabling the most repressive regimes in the world.
Dock workers at the port, backed by South Africa’s powerful unions, refused to unload the ammunition and weapons on Friday, vowing protests and threatening violence if the government tried to do it without them.
Meanwhile, the Anglican archbishop of the province appealed to South Africa’s High Court to bar transporting the arms across South Africa, arguing that they were likely to be used to repress Zimbabweans. The court agreed, and by late Friday the ship had pulled up anchor and set sail.
The arms shipment was ordered from China before the elections, but its arrival amid Zimbabwe’s political crisis illuminated deep fissures within South Africa over how to respond, and brought new scrutiny on China at a time when its human rights record is already under fire for suppressing protesters in Tibet and supplying arms to the government of Sudan.
Mugabe is, if nothing else, a brazen fellow. And the dawdling by his neighbors in Africa who refuse to unite and confront him only means the suffering of the Zimbabawean people will continue. The opposition in the country has gotten timid in recent weeks and why not? They have few guns and Mugabe has the army firmly in his corner.
Any uprising would be crushed mercilessly. This means that despite all, Mugabe will probably get away with his transparent electoral coup.