Sunday, September 13, 2009

Chinese have a history to be judged

This commentary was published on Sept 13, 2009 by Sunday Chronicle newspaper in PNG under "Asia Pacific Perspective: China +" column.
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By Albert Tobby Kaupa

I MAY sound pro-Chinese and anti-western or whatever you want to call me, but the truth is I am neither of both.

What I am doing is basically turning every stones that need to be turned and help some of us, who have studied history, accounting, economics, politics and science from western published textbooks to think outside the traditional framework of thoughts.

We were not given the options to choose which schools of thought or ideas we wanted to choose. A good example is, Chinese don't have the history to be judged at the moment, which is grossly (WRONG!) western heresy.

China has more than 2000 years of civilization and one of the oldest in human civilization (U.S. and Australia less than 300 years).

We are the product of our history. Even the world as it is today is a product of the past. Without proper understanding of historical underpinnings that shape our present society, we cannot navigate the course of our future.

We need to really grasp the full knowledge of the past and present dynamics to make an informed decision for the future.

Please let me make myself clear. I am not saying we trade our national interest and sovereignty for China's aid. I believe this is the last thing all responsible citizens of PNG wanted to do.

I think I am giving some of you the opportunity to see development history under western hegemony that shape the world as it is today. I am not afraid to criticize any nations even China where I pay special respect.

However I don't want to make a baseless criticism, I rather criticize with substance and facts.

Ramu nickel contract was signed in the year when socio-political and economic climate in Papua New Guinea was very fragile.

Prof. Allan Patience and other Australian academics, businessmen and politicians openly proclaimed that PNG is at the brink of becoming a failed state. It was not a conducive environment for large investment at that period.

Somare-Polyo governments' attempt to secure western mining companies in Australia and other western nations failed ... PNG was in desperate need to secure a mining contract.

MCC despite the huge business and economic risk involved took up the challenge. China has faith in PNG when Australia and its allies prophesied doomsday on PNG.

Today when PNG political climate is steady and business environment is improving, Australia and its allies again are accusing Chinese of substandard mining practices and other illegal practices.

I have heard many rumors mainly from the print media about illegal miners and substandard mining practices in PNG.

However, I received a totally different story from Papua New Guinean engineers and project officers working on the mine site. This made me question the authencity of our print medium especially when one is owned by Australians.

It is clearly understood that our state institutions such as Department of Labor and Foreign Affairs & Immigration failure to hold the end of their deals resulted in all the fiasco.

Our government did not hold the end of their deals. Chinese are innocent genuine businessmen. I would really appreciate if someone has had first hand experience to educate me on this.

If there is any lessons that we (PNG) and many other developing nations have learnt from the past then it is nothing more than resisting western hegemony.

See, the development inequality and geopolitical divide between the west and east, north and south, developed and is both developing rich and poor nations.

Have we not learnt something yet? What lessons are we waiting to learn from the past?

The evidence is overwhelming and honestly I am surprised that we are still seeking for lessons to learn. I don't want PNG to keep on walking in this path of dependency syndrome which we've followed since independence.

It’s time for us to break free and stand on our own feet. Let’s stretch out our antennas into the radio-wave of development and opportunity and try as much as possible to maximize our benefits and minimize our loss.

If you have been listening carefully to the radio-wave of development today, China is the dominant frequency.

The World economies are tuning into Chinese frequency. Let’s not just beat the air with words and get down to the reality and substance.

The rise of China actually provides alternative development path not only to the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC (Kinsasha not Congo Brazaville) but to all the Least Developing Country (LCD), PNG included.

Western powers were in DRC since the 17th centuries but until today the 4th largest country in Africa and largest French speaking African country with a population of more than 66 million has been suffering from poverty, chronic diseases, civil war, instability and war lords ruling different parts of the country.

Without going into detailed history, all the instability, civil unrest and war that throw the country into poverty and underdevelopment was purely due to corrupt IMF and World Banks policies in the region.

Western Multinational Corporations (MLC) lead by US based Company are solely responsible for these entire ordeal because of their insatiable thirst for mineral resources.

Western Developers were in the continent of Africa for more than 100 years but why these African nations are not developing as the western countries.

History has proven that we cannot trust the western countries and their so called development package.

China’s presence in the African Continent started only about 50 years ago. Today China has formal diplomatic relations with 44 countries of the African Nations.

Starting in 2002 when Angola turned away from IMF loan for Chinese Aid, it has turned a new wave of diplomacy and trade relations between Sino-African nations.

Angola finally rests from continuous Civil War and instability and it’s progressing on a new development path. It is no surprise the country who shares the same land border with Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has finally saw the way forward.


At the dawn of 2009, people in the Congo are still dying at a rate of an estimated 45,000 per month and already 2,700,000 people have died since 2004.

This death toll is due to widespread disease and famine. Reports indicate that almost half of the individuals killed are children under the age of 5.

The aftermath of the war has truly gutted the country. This death rate has been prevalent since efforts at rebuilding the nation began in 2004.

The prevalence of Western dominance just loath their natural resources and leave them to die alone in desolation.

They have at last had a little bit of hope with the aid from China.

Historical and geographical context might be different but the socio-political and economic dynamics are the same in PNG.

Even though Chinese were the first foreigners to set foot on the coast of the island of New Guinea (16th Century, Chinese Merchant ships anchored at the coast of New Guinea in search of Bird of Paradise plumes), they have no intention of extending their territorial boundary or hegemony.

They were business men doing business with New Guineans who were later classified by the Westerners as primitive and back-warded.

Our Ancestors are expert traders (Kula trade, Hiri, Tee, etc.) and have knowledge of commerce. However some white man decided to call us cannibals, primitive culture and back-warded that is ingrained into every Papua New Guineans psychic.

Since the first mines in Wau Bulolo by Australian miners to Rio Tinto (British) Copper mine in Bougainville and Chevron Niugini (American) what have we achieved in real developments?

Not to mentioned the recent influx of Western miners and drillers (Exxon Mobil - America), Harmony Gold (Australia), Oil Search (Australian) and others you named it.

These are the very same companies that inflict dependency syndrome ditch disease and resource curse upon our African brothers and are now turning towards us.

Speak to any African and they will tell you themselves about their experience with Western Hegemony.

I tell you, westerners are much more shroud in dealing with blacks than the Chinese. I am not trying to be discriminating here but just being more realism.

Honestly, Chinese have more confidence and trust in us managing our own resources than the westerners do.

I should educate us all a little bit more about Chinese strategic thoughts and philosophies here.

When achieving membership at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 1971, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) declared that like many Asian, African and Latin American countries, China belongs to these Third World Countries.

By saying this China meant that she is economically backward and is a developing country.

However at the same time China also promised to help the struggling people and nations to achieve freedom, oppose foreign invasion and decide their own future.

China voiced opposition to the imperialist and colonist theory that “big nations are superior to the small nations” and “small nations are subordinate to the big nations” and to the power politics and hegemony of “big nations bullying small ones” or “strong nations bullying weak ones”.

The China Communist Party (CCP), firmly hold this view and continue to do so today by aggressively pursuing economic development.

However, opinion varies today especially in the west whether China really fulfill its promise to support the Third World, small and poor nations.

Some observers charged that China has failed to translate its words into deeds, while others maintained that china has honored it’s pledged unequivocally.

With this strategic thought, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) the largest single communist organization in the world, tirelessly skippered China from a Developing Third World nation to an Economic Superpower.

However, misconception of the Communist Government in China continues to exist, despite the fact that China’s government and economic structures have changed greatly since the reform and opening up in 1978.

Show me only one country that China has colonized which is struggling in poverty and underdevelopment and I'll show you ten countries struggling with poverty and underdevelopment under western hegemony. I'll stop here for now.

Note: This commentary acknowledges Albert Tobby Kaupa for his contribution.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a perfect reality. Any dick and harry who wants to debate should first remove his western eye glass and realise the reality we are talking about.

Come take a vacation to BEJING, or one of the paradise cities and enjoy the abundance of Chinese home. A city where there is no pic pockets,bag snatching,public nuisances,nil crime and violance, sea of food,where roads have no potholes,where internet and power bills are too low.

What Albert is saying is real and I would urg genuine PNG people to reconsider ideologies,assumptions and make better judgements then what's being fed from medias.

Melanesian Way Admin said...

Hi Mat,

I subscribe to your blog. Its great. I like it.

I have listed your blog on The Melanesian Way Inc. Papua New Guinea (http://melanesianway.blogspot.com/) under the related blogs.

Keep in touch.

Peter.

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