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Book Review - The Dragon's Embrace - The Chinese Communists and Africa

By: Emmanuel J.Hevi (454/35709)
Publisher: Pall Mall Press

Taught by his experiences in China - graphically recorded in his first book, An African Student in China - to distinguish between Peking's assertions of goodwill for newly independent peoples and its real intention, Mr Hevi addresses a moving and closely argued appeal to his fellow Africans to 'revolutionary struggle' against their own governments where these do not kow-tow to Peking; against normal economic and diplomatic relations with Western countries; and against the rival influence of the Soviet Union. 'Must our children shed their blood, our past efforts be brought to naught, so that China might win an argument against the Soviet Union?'

His starting-point is Chou En-lai's tour of the continent in 1963-64: the tour in which the Chinese Communist Premier repeatedly proclaimed the Panch Shila and assured Africa of China's good faith, Mr Hevi traces, stage by stage, Peking's cynical betrayal of 'the five principles' in its dealings with Tibet, India and other Asian countries, and then examines China's record of subversion in Africa. With examples drawn from such countries as the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Cameroon and Nkrumah's Ghana, he shows how Peking seeks to incite and take advantage of 'revolutionary situations' to gain the mastery of the Third World.

Mr Hevi writes first and foremost as an African, not asa partisan of this or that ideology. He affirms for his continent the right for it to seek from any quarter ideas and assistance which are consistent with African needs and African self-determination. It is by this test that he condemns China's African policy. The insistence on a Maoist type of economic development is an invitation to backwardness; the fostering of armed subversion menaces the continent with endless bloodshed and chaos.

'Africa is at present a continent of baffled peoples...We need to be left in peace to think out our problems and regain our composure. This is not a favour we have to beg from any foreign power. It is a right: our right to be left alone if we wish. But we also need help, and that urgently; which means that we need friends, sincere friends. What kind of friend is that foreign power that holds us at gunpoint? . . . Don't hate China-but don't trust her either. Trust ourselves-have faith in Africa.`

October 2007

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