What in the world: Jane Goodall spars with China over Africa

Primatologist Jane Goodall meets supporters at an event in Nairobi, Kenya, on 26 January. A Chinese writer finds Jane Goodall's comments on African exploitation "insulting"

A review of the best commentary on and around the world...

Today's must-read

Last Monday, noted primatologist Jane Goodall accused China of exploiting Africa for its natural resources.

"In Africa, China is merely doing what the colonialists did," the scientist famous for her research into African chimpanzees told the news service AFP in an interview. "They want raw materials for their economic growth, just as the colonialists were going into Africa and taking the natural resources, leaving people poorer."

On Sunday, the Chinese communist party newspaper Global Times fired back a response by a freelance writer named Wu Yi.

"It's not only insulting, it's wrong in many aspects," he writes. "The European colonialists invaded Africa, dominated Africans, and took the continent's resources for nothing, while the Chinese conduct business with the African, and pay reasonable prices for whatever they could. It's a huge difference."

He also criticises a recent episode of the BBC documentary series, The Chinese Are Coming, for reflecting what he calls "paranoia about China in Africa".

He calls the influx of Chinese capital to Africa to purchase resources a "win-win situation".

He concludes by noting that the Chinese feared exploitation when they opened up their economy to Western nations 30 years ago.

"It didn't happen," he writes. "China took the opportunity of dealing with developed economies, and became what it is now."

US foreign policy

GOP leader wants a massive military - House Majority Leader Eric Cantor gave a sweeping speech last week at the Virginia Military Institute criticising the Obama administration for pulling out of Iraq and Afghanistan too soon, having a "light footprint" in Libya and Syria, and neglecting Asia. Conor Friedersdorf writes in the Atlantic that Mr Cantor's demands are impossible to fulfil because he is asking for a military focus that is too wide. "We've got the largest military in the world by a significant margin, but it isn't even close to big enough if we're going to fight at least four wars in a region that he doesn't even regard as our focus!"


Homophobia silver lining - Uganda's fight against homosexuality mirrors the fear of the LGBT population in all of Africa, writes David Smith in the Guardian. "It is a war marked by political opportunism, biblical fundamentalism and a clash between cultural relativism and universal human rights." He argues that "the harsh laws being enacted may be a measure not of failure but of success, a reaction to gay and lesbians asserting their political identity and rights as never before".


Tired of a tight grip - Scots have "grown weary of being shouted at by ministers of governments we have emphatically not elected and whose policies we have rejected over and over again", writes Scottish author and poet Kathleen Jamie for the New York Times. UK Prime Minister David Cameron has been frantically appealing to Scots to stay with the union and reject independence, but the Scottish people are no longer interested in being in the UK "brand". Instead, Jamie argues, independence would be "exciting" and is necessary "because we seek good governance, and no longer think the Westminster government offers that, or social justice or decency".


What's more important, the end or the means? - The arrest of Joaquin Guzman, the most wanted drug lord in Mexico, shows an improvement in Mexican security efforts, writes US ambassador for Mexico Eduardo Medina Mora in the Washington Post. Guzman's capture involved all agencies of the Mexican federal government, showing an "integrated, holistic strategy focused on addressing and preventing the root causes of crime rather than simply combating their consequences". The use of intelligence instead of force shows a noteworthy shift in the handling of crime, violence and safety that will lead to social improvements in Mexico, he concludes.


Is Prime Minister Abe encouraging right-wing "nut jobs"? - The recent news that copies of Anne Frank's diary have been vandalised across Toyko has Bloomberg View's William Pesek wondering if Shinzo Abe's nationalistic rhetoric is creating a poisonous political atmosphere.


Blaming and begging the US - Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro's accusations that the US is attempting to overthrow his government echo similar statements from his predecessor, Hugo Chavez. What is different, however, is that Mr Maduro recently called for talks with US President Barack Obama. Steven L Taylor of Outside the Beltway writes: "Maduro is saying that he, himself does not have the answers, which is a problematic stance for a leader in this context." Mr Maduro's request makes it seem as though Venezuela's problems are both the fault and responsibility of the US.

Catholic Church

Catholics need to face the truth - The UN report on the widespread sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church is another attempt to degrade Catholic morals, only this time by using accusations "dressed up in the pink and blue" of children's safety, writes John Zmirak for the American Conservative. Still, Zmirak argues, Catholics "must face squarely and manfully the sheer extent of the Church's wrongdoing, and hold our leaders accountable for proving their repentance."

BBC Monitoring's quote of the day

Alleged attempts by the Turkish government to curb freedom: "Laws, which come one after another like train wagons, are passing from the parliamentary railroads! Internet censorship law... Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) law... National Intelligence Organization (MIT) law... A weird bag of bills which contains everything but democracy. Saying chuff-chuff, puff-puff, this chain of laws that are lined up one after the other is taking our country into a dark tunnel with an unknown end." - Rahmi Turan in Cumhuriyet

One more thing…

NBC's Olympic coverage "admirable" - Now that the Sochi Olympics have ended, it's time to assess whether NBC deserves a gold medal for its TV coverage of the event.

It's almost a national pastime to hate on the network every two years for its over-the-top melodrama, but the Los Angeles Times's Steven Zeitchik thinks NBC did just fine, "despite obstacles such as a vast time difference, unfamiliar sports, a sense of culture shock, unexpected athlete narratives and a nasty case of pink-eye."

Have you found an interesting opinion piece about global issues that we missed? Share it with us via email at echochambers (at) bbc.co.uk.



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  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    Apartheid South Africa was most blatant form of Institutionalised Racism & oppression inflicted by Europeans, along with Colonialism & Slavery throughout 400 years of infamy & is one main reason why Black Africans still do not trust Americans & Europeans as much as Chinese. It is not surprising LJ condones it and is ignorant of China's Program for Development of Africa

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    Through Slavery and Colonialism and more recently Immigration, UK and USA have millions of black African descendants who could be trusted to deal with Africa in the best interests of the African diaspora. Reparations and Repatriation would have positive benefits for all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    "We have colonized the world, pillaged the local tribe, suck blood for centuries, and made our richer and richer. Our collective effort of colonization was later simply transferred to American (Which is almost similar to Money Laundering = making illegal money into legitimate currency.) Our heinous crime against humanity was later paid off by our preaching to the whole world we uphold Human Rights

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    Re: American Foreign Policing Policy

    Resisting Change

    Resist N.S.A.


  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    The African man don't need the White man* to tell them that they shouldn't deal with the Brown man or Yellow man when they have come in Peace from the East, man

    (*) or Woman

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    If African and Chinese (Asian) ´fast food´ takes over the world -- I´m all in favor (flavor).

    The present American problems concerning water purity and food quality ( and safety) is of no less importance.

    "China will take all of Africa's resources until there is nothing left" ?

    --for America ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Oaktree: Europeans have demonstrated much more oppression than China

    But at least Europeans don't make products that may cause cancer

    Many Chinese import baby formula from Europe because they are too scared to use Chinese baby formula

    Its like that old saying
    'Beware of Greeks bearing gifts'

    China may seem like a gift to Africa now
    because Africans don't realize whats in the products

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Oaktree: what is your problem?

    I don't like China primarily because many of their products may contain lead and cause cancer, ect

    If China was like Germany who makes good products that don't make you sick, I would like them better

    China will take all of Africa's resources until there is nothing left
    and leave them with cheap Chinese goods that might contain cancer-causing chemicals

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    #13 Lucy J

    "China is particularly unable to compete with the ex-colonial powers in providing military training and educational programs, given the latter's continuing ties via military academies like Sandhurst in the UK and Saint Cyr in France."

    --From your own link.

    --China is a minor power in Africa --so what is your problem ?

    Europeans have demonstrated much more oppression than China.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Oaktree: Africa knows its enemies

    Does it?


    'China has pursued their interests in replacing Deby with a more pro-China leader. The 2006 Chadian coup d'état attempt failed after French intervention, but Deby then switched his support to Beijing, with the apparent defeat becoming a strategic victory for China'

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    #11 Lucy J

    "What about the white farmers?"

    Cotton farmers in USA ? --what is the nonsense ?

    'As of 2008, Chinese people have been reclassified as "black" after the Chinese Association of South Africa took the South African government to court and won'

    --What is your problem with that ?

    --if you read the article ?

    Had a relative in SA with Indian lover -- both fled.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    Oaktree: Sharpeville

    What about the white farmers?

    My point is that South Africa has the best economy on its continent

    But it is changing


    'As of 2008, Chinese people have been reclassified as "black" after the Chinese Association of South Africa took the South African government to court and won'

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    #9 Lucy J

    "If Africa did not have resources, would China be there?"

    --Your logic always amazes me.

    "Its a trick to expand EU eastwards"


    --as does your interpretations.

    Africa knows its enemies --and presently they are not Chinese.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    Oaktree: IF China is guilty of exploitation in Africa

    If Africa did not have resources, would China be there?

    There is a reason why China is changing its one-child policy

    Global expansion

    O: The EU is only a ´side kick´

    EU is all over Ukraine as it wants to take it away from Russia

    O: a trick to expand NATO eastwards

    Its a trick to expand EU eastwards

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    #5 Lucy J

    "South Africa is the most developed and prosperous country in Africa-which was a gift by the British and other Colonial Europeans like Dutch"

    --WHAT ?


    "Since the 1920s, the movements of black South Africans had been restricted by pass laws. Leading up to the Sharpeville massacre ...."

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    NBC deserves a gold medal for its coverage of the event
    but no medal whatsoever for its interview with IOC President
    which was uncomfortable to say the least which was probably why it was aired so late at night

    I am glad Bob Costas' Russian pink eye finally got better

    NBC's biggest mistake was not airing the entire USA-Russia hockey game on NBC which was biggest game of Olympics for us

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    #4 Lucy J

    "Even so, that doesn't make it right"

    --IF China is guilty of exploitation in Africa --then it is a matter of degree --IF !

    "Perhaps they do not want to take sides of EU or Russia"

    The EU is only a ´side kick´--the USA, UK and NATO are the main players.


    --a trick to expand NATO eastwards.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Oaktree: his repeated condemnation of Britain --China is still an ´angel´to Africa in comparison

    South Africa is the most developed and prosperous country in Africa
    which was a gift by the British and other Colonial Europeans like Dutch

    Today South Africa has even held the World Cup

    So far China has not created any South Africa's

    Instead they mostly just want their resources

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Oaktree: The Chinese have more difficulty to hide any exploitation of Africa than the original Colonizations by Europe

    Even so, that doesn't make it right

    That being said, whatever deals Africa chooses to do with China is really their own decision

    Oaktree: the deliberate avoidance by the BBC to offer Ukraine blogs

    Perhaps they do not want to take sides of EU or Russia

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.


    After the BBC reported on Mugabe´s 90th birthday and his repeated condemnation of Britain --China is still an ´angel´to Africa in comparison.

    With the Cold War awakening from its short sleep -- it can now be widened to China.


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