Friday, April 18

China Supplying Zimbabwe with a Shipload of Weapons

As if there weren't already enough reasons to protest the Olympics being held in China already, it now comes out that China has sent a shipload of weapons to Robert's Mugabe's Zimbabwe.

A Chinese cargo ship believed to be carrying 77 tonnes of small arms, including more than 3m rounds of ammunition, AK47 assault rifles, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades, has docked in the South African port of Durban for transportation of the weapons to Zimbabwe, the South African government confirmed yesterday. It claimed it was powerless to intervene as long as the ship's papers were in order.

Copies of the documentation for the Chinese ship, the An Yue Jiang, show that the weapons were sent from Beijing to the ministry of defence in Harare. Headed "Dangerous goods description and container packing certificate", the document was issued on April 1, three days after Zimbabwe's election. It lists the consignment as including 3.5m rounds of ammunition for AK47 assault rifles and for small arms, 1,500 40mm rockets, 2,500 mortar shells of 60mm and 81mm calibre, as well as 93 cases of mortar tubes. - Guardian UK

Once again this makes the Chinese look really bad, especially since they approved the shipment long enough after Zimbabwe's election to know that Mugabe was killing the election results, results which still have not been released.

The An Yue Jiang is seen anchored outside Durban harbor, South Africa on April 17, 2008. Photograph: AP - Guardian UK

The news of this shipment broke when the ship arrived in South Africa to be unloaded. This is because Zimbabwe is a landlocked country with no seaport of its own. So you might think that South Africa would prevent the shipment from transiting through their country considering that Mugabe appears to be getting ready to stay in power after losing the election, and has a proven track record of using force. But with this being morally bankrupt Africa, the President of South Africa, sees not problem in giving an assist to a person committing crimes against humanity:

CAPE TOWN, South Africa: South Africa will not intervene to stop a shipment of Chinese-made weapons from reaching Zimbabwe, even though the political situation in the neighboring nation is "dire," a government spokesman said Thursday.

Spokesman Themba Maseko said as long as administrative papers are in order, South Africa cannot intervene to prevent weapons being transported through its territory to its landlocked neighbor, despite concerns about mounting tensions in Zimbabwe. - International Herald Tribune

This is par for the course for South Africa turning a blind-eye to the actions of its neighbor. At least there are others in South Africa with a sense for right and wrong and they are in a position to at least delay this shipment:

Union refuses to unload Zim arms ship - DURBAN - Opposition to a shipment of arms being offloaded in Durban and transported to Zimbabwe increased on Thursday when South Africa’s largest transport workers union announced that its members would not unload the ship.

SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) general secretary Randall Howard said: “Satawu does not agree with the position of the South African government not to intervene with this shipment of weapons.

“Our members employed at Durban Container Terminal will not unload this cargo neither will any of our members in the truck driving sector move this cargo by road.” - The Citizen

In addition a team of lawyers are in court arguing that South Africa is wrong to have approved the movement of these weapons to Zimbabwe. South Africa's President has gotten lots of criticism for not doing more to end the crisis in Zimbabwe, mainly by ending his shielding of Mugabe. Now, he has been flushed out as an active accomplice. Serves him right for playing such an irresponsible game.

This shipment should truly impress on everyone that Mugabe needs to go, perhaps by force if necessary. (He seems to have no problem with using force himself.) The man has run his country into the ground and appears ready sacrifice everyone to stay in power.

So far there has been no criticism of China but there certainly should be. China is the main power defending the criminal regime in The Sudan as they commit genocide in Darfur. In addition to standing up for the Sudan in the UN's Security Council, China is also Sudan main weapons supplier. Surely, the world is not interested in China following the same path with Zimbabwe. China is looking to showcase what a wonderful country it is by its hosting of the Olympics. How did they ever expect to accomplish that while playing host with blood on their hands.

South Africa - Zimbabwe in Slow Motion - 23 Jan 08
Iraq, Zimbabwe, Mexico and Venezuela - 8 Jan 08
Anchor Countries - 27 Sept 07
Iraq, Zimbabwe and Mexico - 21 Sept 07
Why is the UN Pleading for Food for Zimbabwe? - 2 Aug 07
Zimbabwe photos - Land reform - 22 Aug 06


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