. Energy News .

Abductions highlight danger to China's workers abroad
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Feb 3, 2012

Abductions in Sudan and Egypt highlight the dangers facing China's workers abroad and led Beijing to reassess a long-stated policy of non-interference as its foreign interests grow, analysts say.

China has been sending workers to Africa since the 1950s to build roads and railways, but investment has surged in the past 15 years as the Asian powerhouse sought to secure the resources it needs to fuel its booming economy.

Trade between Africa and China topped $120 billion last year, a jump from less than $20 billion a decade earlier, and experts say China's interests on the continent are shifting to investing in institutions and governments.

Jonathan Holslag, a researcher at the Brussels Institute of Contemporary Chinese Studies, said the presence of Chinese workers in some of the world's most unstable areas was making them a target for criminals.

"Armed gangs increasingly consider Chinese labourers an easy target for ransom," said Holslag. "Especially in Africa, China's growing economic presence has stumbled into growing insecurity."

He made the comments after the abduction late last month of 29 Chinese workers by rebels in Sudan's South Kordofan state.

That was followed on Tuesday by the capture of 25 Chinese workers in Egypt by Bedouins demanding the release of relatives imprisoned by the fallen regime of Hosni Mubarak. The Chinese were soon freed.

Chinese workers have been killed in Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria, while others have had to be evacuated when violence has broken out.

Last year, China conducted its biggest and most expensive rescue mission when it evacuated 36,000 of its nationals from Libya, where it has substantial oil interests, as the country descended into civil war.

The violence led to heavy losses for Chinese businesses, which had around $18.8 billion worth of contracts in Libya.

Even in times of peace, there are often tensions between Chinese companies and local people angered by the influx of Chinese workers and allegations that the firms mistreat locally hired staff.

In Zambia, such allegations of mistreatment became one of the campaign themes of Michael Sata, who was elected president in September.

Chinese workers have also been the victims of Beijing's support for regimes shunned by the rest of the international community.

Experts say rebel groups have sought to punish China, whose proclaimed policy of non-interference in the affairs of other countries has led to accusations it props up unsavoury governments.

But Christopher Alden, a specialist in Sino-African affairs at the London School of Economics, said Beijing had been increasingly willing to step in as it seeks to protect its overseas interests.

"They hold to the principle (of non-interference) rhetorically and they will continue to do so, but their actions for the last four or five years have indicated they are willing to bend the principle for a variety of reasons," he told AFP.

In the past, China has sometimes turned to international or regional organisations, working with the International Committee of the Red Cross in 2007 to negotiate the freeing of seven hostages held in Ethiopia.

It has also sought to limit risks by building alliances in the regions where it invests, for example cultivating good relations with the new government of oil-rich South Sudan as well as with Khartoum.

But if that fails, as it did in Libya, they must take on the task themselves, according to Jonas Parello-Plesner, researcher at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

After the latest abductions, many Chinese people took to microblogs to demand action and experts say the government needs to demonstrate that it is looking after China's interests abroad.

"A honeymoon decade of frictionless business expansion worldwide is over," Parello-Plesner wrote in the Financial Times.

Related Links
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

Japan gives Chinese skipper suspended jail term
Tokyo (AFP) Feb 3, 2012 - The skipper of a Chinese fishing boat, arrested and tried in Japan for operating illegally in Japanese waters, has been given a suspended six-month jail term, a local official said Friday.

Nagasaki District Court sentenced Zhong Jinyin, 39, to six months' imprisonment suspended for three years and ordered him to pay a fine of one million yen ($13,000) in the ruling given Tuesday, the official said.

Zhong paid the fine immediately on the day of ruling, the official said.

It was not not immediately clear whether Zhong had remained in Japan or returned to China.

The fisherman was arrested on December 20 near islands off southwest Japan.

Arrests by Japan of straying Chinese fishermen are increasingly common and usually pass off without much of a hitch, but can occasionally flare up.

The two Asian rivals are still trying to heal diplomatic wounds inflicted in 2010 when Beijing reacted in fury over the arrest of one of its fishermen near disputed islands in the East China Sea.


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

PetroChina buys stake in Canada shale gas project
Shanghai (AFP) Feb 3, 2012
State-owned PetroChina said it has agreed to take a 20 percent stake in a Canadian shale gas project owned by Royal Dutch Shell, China's latest acquisition of North American natural resources. PetroChina, the listed unit of China's largest oil producer, has signed a deal to buy a share of land and assets in Groundbirch, British Columbia, according to a company statement provided to AFP on Fr ... read more

Euro Parliament backs low-carbon road map

Portugal sells 40% of electric grid to China, Oman firms

US Military Sets Ambitious Environmental Goals

Japan emissions rising after atomic crisis: report

UT biosolar breakthrough promises cheap, easy green electricity

Nigeria army condemns attack on Agip oil pipeline

Tullow Oil, Uganda sign asset sale deal

Abductions highlight danger to China's workers abroad

Beware of misleading claims on wind farms and health

New style turbine to harvest wind energy

Natural Power appointed as Owner's Engineer on 20.5MW Sixpenny Wood wind farm

China voices 'deep concern' over US wind tower probe

Sandia tool determines value of solar photovoltaic power systems

Semprius Sets World Record for Solar Module Efficiency

Arizona's Buckeye Union HSD Dedicates Solar Generation Project

US DoC Finds Massive Surge of Chinese Solar Imports

AREVA and partners submit commercial bid for a new EPR nuclear plant to Fennovoima

Slovenia nuclear plant cuts output for repair work

RWE to implement new savings

US nuclear reactor turned off after radiation leak

What's the State of America's Biofuel Industry?

Microbubbles provide new boost for biofuel production

Take the Ethanol Challenge by Husqvarna

NPRA Calls on EPA to Reconsider Cellulosic Biofuel Volumes

China's satellite navigation sector annual output predicted to reach 35 bln USD in 2015

China plans to launch 21 rockets, 30 satellites this year

Shenzhou 9 Behind the Curtain

China Plans to Launch 30 Satellites in 2012

Indian PM says lack of collective will on climate change

NASA Study Solves Case of Earth's 'Missing Energy'

Extreme droughts could increase by 15 percent in Spain by the middle of the century

Earth's Energy Budget Remained Out of Balance Despite Unusually Low Solar Activity


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement